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Andrea Constand, Bill Cosby's Main Accuser, Continues Testimony In Second Trial


The main accuser in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial wrapped up a day and a half of testimony today. Last week, Andrea Constand told the jury that Cosby drugged and assaulted her in 2004. Today Cosby's defense attorney tried to raise questions about Constand's credibility. Bobby Allyn from member station WHYY has been watching the trial and joins us now from the courthouse outside Philadelphia. Hi there.


SHAPIRO: On Friday, Andrea Constand gave a graphic description of what she says happened between her and Cosby. Did the defense address her story?

ALLYN: You know, Ari, not really. And it's pretty notable she wasn't grilled at all today about the 2004 incident in Cosby's suburban Philadelphia mansion, which is what sparked the criminal charges he's now on trial for. Instead of going over that, which, you know, is the crux of the case, they decided to hammer into Constand's character. And they did this by bringing out a 16-year-old email Constand sent that made it look like she was part of a pyramid scheme. They highlighted inconsistent statements she made to police over the years. And then they questioned her line by line about the terms of a previously confidential civil settlement she struck with Cosby for nearly $3.4 million.

SHAPIRO: So trying to undermine her credibility but not addressing her story specifically - how would you describe what the defense is doing here today?

ALLYN: They're basically trying to show that Constand's story is full of holes under the argument that, you know, she's not a reliable narrator of her own story. And, you know, raising the pyramid scheme emails and that multimillion-dollar settlement is part of their big push. And it's to paint Constand as a sort of desperate, cash-strapped person who long ago hatched a grand plan to frame a famous, wealthy entertainer with a false claim to win a big financial settlement.

SHAPIRO: This is Bill Cosby's second trial on these charges. The first ended in a hung jury last June. Cosby has a new legal team this time. Are they deploying a new strategy?

ALLYN: Yeah, it's very different. It's a completely different approach. And it's led by this seasoned Los Angeles defense lawyer named Tom Mesereau, who it should be noted won an acquittal in 2005 for Michael Jackson on child molestation charges using a strikingly similar defense technique - so emphasizing that allegations first came to light in civil lawsuits by people who wanted financial settlement. So that is the big emphasis here - that Andrea Constand had a financial motive to make up a false claim. And, you know, now he's trying to convince the jury that it is also true of Cosby's main accuser, Andrea Constand.

SHAPIRO: And what happens next in this trial?

ALLYN: So next the prosecution is going to be calling a number of witnesses - I think Andrea Constand's mother, Gianna. Then there's going to be a number of police officials who will take the stand and then be subjected to cross-examination. They will rest their case, and then the defense is planning to call a number of witnesses. The most important one is a woman who says she once roomed with Andrea Constand. And she says Constand told her that she wanted to hatch a false claim against a famous person. So this is the defense's key witness, which will be probably coming sometime this week.

SHAPIRO: Bobby Allyn of member station WHYY, thanks very much.

ALLYN: Thank you, Ari. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Bobby Allyn is a business reporter at NPR based in San Francisco. He covers technology and how Silicon Valley's largest companies are transforming how we live and reshaping society.
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