ay one of the Bill Cosby trial kicked off Monday morning in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Reporters from around the world flocked to the small suburban town outside of Philadelphia to cover what many call the “trial of the century.”
Prosecutors, in opening remarks, said that Mr. Cosby’s own words would help convict the once-popular comedian and actor of drugging and sexually assaulting a Temple University employee at his nearby home in 2004.
Young people outside of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas described the Cosby trial as “our generation’s O.J. Simpson case,” amazed by the mass international media presence taking over their town. “It’s like a movie,” one young man told YC. “I’ve never seen something like this and I never thought I would. Not here.”
During open remarks, prosecutors stated that Bill Cosby’s statement alone would help convict the popular comedian and actor of drugging and sexually assaulting a Temple University employee at his home outside of Philadelphia in 2004.
On the contrary, Cosby’s defense informed the jurors that Andrea Constand told police she had no contact with Cosby following the assault in 2004.
Defense attorney Brian McMonagle dropped a bomb during his 45-minute opening argument, revealing records showcasing a stunning 53 phone calls she made to Mr. Cosby following the alleged incident, contradicting Constand’s statement to police in 2004.
“Sexual assault is a terrible crime,” McMonagle told the jury. “It takes away dignity. The only thing worse than that is the false accusation of sexual assault.”
Interestingly, the opening remarks and movements by attorneys strongly resembled the hit series “The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” which aired on FX from February 2 – April 5, 2016.
THE RUNDOWN – PROSECUTION HIGHLIGHTS
Montgomery County Deputy District Attorney Kristen Feden presented an hour-long opening statement Monday morning. Feden began by pointing at Cosby, sitting at the defense table and stated “these three friends will help you relax, his words”
Among the witnesses scheduled to appear, one is a former employee from William Morris Endeavor, who says she was drugged and assaulted by Cosby in an almost identical manner in the mid-1990s.
OPENING REMARKS – QUOTES FROM KRISTEN FEDEN
- “Trust, betrayal and inability to consent, that’s what this case is about.”
- “When the defendant administered those pills to Andrea, he knew what effect it would take … what effect it would have on Andrea.”
- “She looked to her trusted mentor and friend and told him what she was experiencing.”
- “The last words she heard before she lost consciousness was, ‘I’m going to let you relax.’”
- “This is a case about a man who used his power and his fame and his previously practiced method of placing a young, trusting woman in an incapacitated state so that he’d sexually pleasure himself, so that she couldn’t say no.”
THE RUNDOWN – DEFENSE HIGHLIGHTS
Defense attorney Brian McMonagle spoke for roughly 45-minutes – presenting reasonable doubt to the jurors. “False accusation of sexual assault is worst — it’s an attack on human dignity,” McMonagle raised his voice as he finished the statement. “Today I get a chance, with your help, to write a wrong.”
OPENING REMARKS – QUOTES FROM MCMONAGLE
- “Sexual assault is a terrible crime, it takes away dignity.”
- “Don’t leave your common sense behind,” the energetic attorney told jurors – just inches away from them.
- “After the so-called paralyzing and drugging and assault she called him –there were 72 phone calls. She called him. Fifty. Three. Times,” he said. “They spoke 30-40 minutes at a pop. Their relationship continued.”
THE CASE BEGINS – KELLY JOHNSON TAKES THE STAND
Johnson worked as an assistant at the world-renown talent agency, William Morris Endeavor, in the 1990s.
In direct testimony, she painted herself as a timid assistant, working for Cosby’s late agent, Tom Illius, when she met and became enamored with the comedian. “I had the utmost respect and admiration for him based on what millions of other Americans, especially African American folks, thought of him,” Johnson mentioned on the stand.
On cross-examination, McMonagle drew a very different picture, in which Johnson had a much closer relationship with Cosby than she was letting on – taking money from him for doctor and salon appointments and was interested in an acting job he could potentially facilitate.
“I was very afraid,” she said, during an emotional testimony. “He was the biggest celebrity in the world at the time. And it was just me. It was just me.”
YC will be on assignment covering the Cosby Trial – continuing tomorrow morning.
(Reporting by Nik Hatziefstathiou and Emily Miller; Editing by Derick Dilsworth)