“You will be saying ‘what does she want from Cosby?’” Defense attorney Thomas Mesereau told jurors as he started his opening statement. “Money, money and lots more money.”
As Mesereau spoke, it was almost like a flashback to Michael Jackson’s trial in 2005, painting accuser Andrea Constand as someone who wanted to further her career by any means necessary, even if it included creating a story of a sexual assault that the defense stresses never happened.
Here’s the rundown of the 45-minute opening statement delivered by Mesereau Tuesday morning.
Money, Money, and Lots More Money
“She knew Cosby was extremely wealthy,” Mesereau said. “She learned that he donated over $100 – $200 million to charity. Her attitude was: I could become a multimillionaire. It’ll be a drop in the bucket to him and he wouldn’t want to fight it – and he didn’t want to fight it. He didn’t want to fight it. This was a paltry sum to avoid this and look what it turned out to. He’s not afraid of it. It’s not fun. This man deserves some vindication in this case because this case is nonsense.
She always complained about money. Lots of complaints about money — a history of financial problems until she hits the jackpot with Cosby. She stayed with people in college, stiffed them on utility bills, phone bills and credit cards.”
Mesereau, painting an idea of what his defense would entail, informed jurors that at the time of the alleged assault Andrea Constand was 30-years-old and Cosby was in his 60’s. “She was not attracted to him. She said he was older than her father,” Mesereau said. “She was madly in love with his fame and money.”
“The prosecutor told you about the settlement. What he didn’t spend much time on is what’s contained in the settlement agreement,” Mesereau continued, displaying the agreement Constand entered with Cosby to jurors. “The entry of this confidentially agreement and release, does not constitute an admission of guilt by Cosby of any liability, wrong-doing or fault, with respect of claims that were made by Constand.
The entry of this confidentially agreement and release, does not constitute an admission by Cosby of any liability, wrongdoing or fault, with respect of claims that were made or could’ve been made by Constand whose merits they strenuously deny.”
Mesereau emphasized that the two entered the confidential agreement solely in order to settle claims whose merits Cosby denied purely to avoid expense, annoyance of further litigation and publicity.
“The prosecutor told you that the Montgomery County District Attorneys Office rejected the case in 2005. Why do you think they rejected the case? Why?” Mesereau voiced to jurors. “First of all, she destroyed all forensic evidence that could prove innocence or guilt. She destroyed it. She waited over one year so nobody could test drugs in her system, find bodily fluids, trace evidence or hair, anything, forensically.”
Mesereau informed jurors that Constand allegedly destroyed documents and notes in regards to her relationship with Cosby. “She made sure there were no witnesses around to help one side or the other. She took the position this happened one year ago, ‘I’m fuzzy on facts.’” Mesereau continued. “What do I mean? She moved back to Canada, out of work and in debt.”
Mesereau pointed out several contradicting, inconsistent statements Constand gave to authorities in Canada, Montgomery County Detectives and Cheltenham Police. Further, Mesereau told jurors that Constand took two courses in sexual assault, stating she was very “sophisticated” in this area. “She knew exactly what she was doing, and members of the jury, she pulled it off,” he told jurors.
Mesereau told jurors if they compared the statements, they’d find “a con artist.”
Civil Suit Brews
“All of a sudden, she talks to a bunch of lawyers in Philadelphia who she called before the police, and didn’t tell police that. All of a sudden she says ‘I left Temple because Bill Cosby assaulted me.’
I want my lost wages. She made statements under oath that she really liked her job at Temple – that it was a good job at Temple, that it was a good job for her. Her emails and correspondences conflict that at every stage.”
Constand testified that Cosby allegedly unbuttoned her pants and touched her, not sexually, but suggestively, and when she stopped him he walked into the kitchen. She left ten minutes later, according to her testimony at the previous trial.
Mesereau emphasized that if Constand was not interested in a relationship with Cosby, only one thing would keep her going back, money. “The question for you is, if this happens and you’re not interested, and you don’t want it to happen, why do you keep going back, and back, and back, and back and back? Because there’s something you want. I wonder what it is?” Mesereau told jurors. “She’s now a multi-millionaire because she pulled it off.”
According to Mesereau, there were approximately 57 telephone calls following the deposition between January – March of 2004, Constand making 40 of them.
Mesereau Criticizes the Prosecution’s Case
“The prosecution is in a pickle because how can you explain all this? What they’re going to do is put on an expert, you know what the experts going to tell you?” Mesereau said. “Contact like this after an assault is normal, but no contact is normal. Going back to the scene of the assault is normal, but not going back is normal. Giving gifts to the man that assaulted you is normal and not giving gifts is normal. That’s the stuff you’re going to hear.”
“Bill Cosby allowed his home to be searched, gave a statement and was deposed. You saw little snippets of his statements yesterday from the prosecutor,” Mesereau continued. “I assure you they’re taken out of context, they’re not the whole statement. I will predict that when you see the whole statement, you’re not going to be pleased with the impression you were left with yesterday afternoon,” Mesereau said, referring to Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele’s opening statement.
“I think you’re in for a surprise when you find out who this person is,” Mesereau said, referring to Andrea Constand. “We’re going to show you who this person is. The prosecutor talked about betrayal. Betrayal? Does it sound like Bill Cosby betrayed her? Or did she use him and try to milk him for $3 million?” Mesereau told jurors.
“She knew he could afford it. Cosby was a big name in Hollywood. She knew what to do and it worked. The sad thing is that she agreed to make this confidential. She agreed he did nothing wrong. She agreed he’s doing it to avoid nuisance and publicity,” Mesereau continued. “If you’re doing this for principle, you’re not making this confidential. The only principle was money. Money, money, money.”
Mesereau brought up the Hollywood downfall, citing the climate surrounding high-profile sexual assault cases circling Hollywood.
“What [the prosecution is] hoping, somehow, in the current climate in America, maybe you’ll be prejudiced and won’t see the facts. Members of the jury, I don’t think that’s going to happen. I think you’re going give Cosby a fair shake,” Mesereau continued.
“We think you’re going to see the truth. Regardless of what the shallow media says, or people outside who don’t know the evidence at all. I am convinced at the end of this you’re going to say to yourselves: Mr. Cosby isn’t guilty. He’s no criminal. He was foolish. He was ridiculous. He was lonely and attracted to a younger woman. But he didn’t commit a crime. And you will gladly find him not guilty.”
Money & Fame Doesn’t Buy Happiness; Confides in “Con Artist”
Mesereau explained that Cosby was lonely and troubled following the murder of his son who was gunned down during a robbery in Los Angeles.
He expressed that despite the glimmer, fame, and lavish lifestyle celebrities live, “the glitters aren’t always gold.”
“He confided to her. He was lonely and troubled and he made the terrible mistake by confiding in this person with what was going on in his life. He confided in her. Not one time did he go to see her,” Mesereau continued. “It was always her going to see him. She didn’t only drive to his house 6 or 7 times, snuck through the backdoor and had wine. She not only drove to his house 6 or 7 times, he had an appearance at Foxwoods Casino and she drove 4 ½ – 5 hours to Connecticut,” Mesereau said, “she had dinner with Cosby and the CEO of the resort, Constand walked out of the room, walked back to her room then snuck up to his room and got in bed with him. Now the details always change when she describes this. They didn’t have sex but he fiddled with her leg she said.”
“Members of the jury, one thing you’re going to learn in this courtroom is that Hollywood is a treacherous place. If you’re a young star, everyone wants a piece of the action.” Mesereau told jurors. “Everybody’s your friend, everybody knows you, everybody wants a handout, and everybody wants to meet a producer, director or an agent. Everyone wants a loan [and] when you don’t do it, they’re angry.”
Constand Turns Bitter
“Constand returned to Canada bitter. Nothing concrete had come out of her relationship with Bill Cosby. He had tried, she met one of his writers for The Cosby Show in New York, he tried to help her and nothing came of it,” Mesereau said, expressing that Cosby tried to help Constand do something he thought she had a passion for. “He introduced her to his agent, but couldn’t get an in for her. He introduced her to a top producer in India, nothing came of it. She stated that nothing had come out of her relationship with him and she didn’t like it.
She attached all of her hopes on Bill Cosby, all of her hopes. She had very little else going for her.”
Former Temple Counselor & Psychologist: Constand Said It Never Happened
“On at least 6 occasions she roomed with a Temple University employee named Margaret “Margo” Jackson. Mrs. Jackson has worked at Temple for 32 years with a masters in education counseling and psychology. 6 times they roomed together. Andrea Constand arranged those rooming schedules,” Mesereau told jurors.
“During away game in Rhode Island they had a conversation. They were watching the news. A celebrity had been accused of sexual assault. After they watched that newscast, Constand told Jackson ‘I was assaulted’” Mesereau continued.
“Margo who had experience of counseling victims of sexual assault had a bad feeling. Something was wrong with her demeanor. She decided to question her further.
She had a further discussion and Constand asked her why do so many of these women make claims of sexual assault, Margo said some of them want money,” Mesereau said. “She looked at her and asked were you really assaulted? She said ‘no, I could say I was, I could set up a celebrity and get a lot of money for my education and open up a business.”