Bill Cosby's chief accuser, Andrea Constand, took the witness stand Friday on the fifth day of his retrial on sexual-assault charges, telling a new jury she is seeking "justice" because the former "America's Dad" drugged and molested her at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.
The latest developments:
Cross-examination of Constand begins
Cosby lead lawyer Tom Mesereau began his questioning of Constand by trying to highlight inconsistencies in the details of her story.
Consulting a thick binder of police statements and Constand's prior testimony, he pointed to discrepancies between what she has said in the past and what she said on the witness stand Friday.
On Friday, she denied ever having intimate contact with Cosby prior to the alleged assault at his home in 2004. But in a 2005 deposition that Mesereau showed her, Constand said she'd told her mother that she was affectionate toward him.
Mesereau also brought up an issue discussed during the first trial last year, pointing out that Constand told one police agency the alleged assault occurred in January 2004 but told another it was in March 2004.
“I was mistaken,” Constand said.
Mesereau also questioned her about an issue he brought up in his opening statement: Constand's alleged involvement in a pyramid scheme. Constand struggled to explain why she sent emails soliciting money for the purported scheme during the time she worked at Temple University.
Constand said she didn't know much about the company and was only helping a friend.
Shortly after 5 p.m., after Constand had been on the stand for about five hours, the judge concluded testimony for the day. Constand will return on Monday for Day 6 of the retrial and Mesereau will continue his cross-examination.
What were the three blue pills?
Constand, 45, said Cosby drugged her with three small, round blue pills which she accepted because she thought they were "a natural remedy" that would help her relax.
"I trusted him,” she told the jury, in what has been a consistent theme of the prosecution's case against Cosby thus far. Cosby was her friend and mentor at the time.
As she testified at the first trial last summer, Constand said Cosby called the pills "your friends" and told her they would "help take the edge off."
Instead, she said, they made her black out. She says she awoke to find Cosby penetrating her with his fingers and putting her hand on his penis, but she was too incapacitated to do anything. She said she felt humiliated, in shock and confused about what happened.
Cosby's defense maintains his encounter with Constand was consensual and that he gave her the cold medicine Benadryl.
Constand, a former Temple University basketball administrator, told another jury in Norristown, Pa., the same story last June; that 11-day trial ended in a mistrial after the jury failed to reach a verdict following five days of deliberations.
Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt told reporters before he walked into the courthouse with the comedian Friday that defense lawyers expect that "once the jurors hear the testimony of Andrea Constand that they should find Mr. Cosby not guilty of all charges."
Other women witnesses told jury similar stories of encounters with Cosby
This time, Constand is on the stand after five other women have testified this week that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them, too, in episodes dating to the 1980s. Only one such witness testified at the first trial.
The "other accusers" are a new element in the retrial, part of District Attorney Kevin Steele's strategy to depict Cosby as a Hollywood serial predator with a known pattern of alleged "prior bad acts," hoping to make up for a lack of physical evidence backing Constand's accusations.
Cosby's defense team, led by celebrity attorney Tom Mesereau, is taking a more aggressive approach in how they plan to attack Constand's credibility, labeling her a "con artist" who allegedly plotted to falsely accuse Cosby so that she could extract money from him.
Already the jury has heard she got $3.4 million from Cosby in a 2006 settlement of her civil suit against him. And they plan to call as a witness a former friend and colleague of Constand who will testify that she heard Constand talking about such a plan.
On the stand, Constand said she has nothing to gain financially now by wanting Cosby convicted.
"Ms. Constand, why are you here?" prosecutor Kristen Feden asked.
"For justice," Constand said.
Constand's lawyer, Dolores Troiani, told reporters the attacks on her client are "outrageous" and "baseless," and she ripped Cosby's team for trashing Constand's reputation in the courtroom — where lawyers are immune from defamation lawsuits — and in statements to the media.
The other accusers who testified this week added drama and pathos to the retrial largely absent at the first trial. By turns tearful, angry and defiant under questioning by Steele and cross-examination by Cosby's lawyers, the witnesses insisted they believe Cosby took advantage of their trust in him as a TV icon or mentor.
They said they accepted wine or pills from him which later immobilized them. And, they said, he then molested or raped them when they were unconscious or otherwise unable to stop him.
"You remember, don't you, Mr. Cosby," a weeping Chelan Lasha said to Cosby on the witness stand, prompting a demand for a mistrial from the defense, which was denied by Judge Steven O'Neill although he did admonish her. (Witnesses are not supposed to address defendants in criminal trials.)
“I didn’t consent to this. Here was ‘America’s Dad,’ on top of me," former model Janice Dickinson testified, describing how Cosby allegedly raped her in a Lake Tahoe, Calif., hotel room in 1982. "A married man, father of five kids, on top of me. I was thinking how wrong it was.” Later, when she confronted him, she said he looked at her as if she were crazy. “I wanted to hit him. I wanted to punch him in the face,” she said.
"I trusted him because he's 'America's Dad,'" testified Lise-Lotte Lublin, who believes Cosby raped her after she accepted two shots from him in his Las Vegas hotel room in 1989. "I trusted him because he's a figure people trusted for many years, including myself."
The hubbub outside the courthouse
The jury, which is being sequestered, is not hearing the rough-and-tumble jousting between representatives of Cosby and lawyers for his accusers outside the courthouse during breaks in the proceeding.
The combatants: Crusading women’s rights lawyer Gloria Allred, who represents four of the six other accusers who testified at either the first trial or the retrial. Once again, Allred has been a daily presence at the retrial, as has her daughter, Lisa Bloom, who represents one of the other accusers.
On Thursday, Allred got into a verbal scuffle with Andrew Wyatt and Ebonee Benson, Cosby’s bombastic spokespersons, as a mob of reporters watched. Allred claims that Cosby’s lawyers “smeared” her client, Chelan Lasha, by pointing out she was convicted for lying to police in Arizona in 2007.
Actually, it was Judge O'Neill who ruled Cosby’s team could bring that up because it related to Lasha’s credibility as a witness against Cosby. She claims he drugged and raped her, too, in the mid-1980s.
On Friday, Allred complained to reporters that the $3.4 million Constand won in her settlement agreement with Cosby should not be used against her; instead, she insisted, it should be viewed as just compensation for a woman who had “strong evidence she was victimized.”
Constand’s lawyer, Troiani, who negotiated the settlement for Constand in 2006, also has denounced the revelations about it and blamed Cosby. "We had an agreement and that agreement was supposed to be for both sides... I really resent people calling it hush money. It's compensation for the damages done to her."
But it was Judge O’Neill who ruled the settlement could be brought up in the retrial. It was Steele’s opening statement that revealed the exact amount that Constand got from Cosby, which previously had been secret. Steele used it to suggest Cosby wouldn't have paid out so much money if the accusations against him were false.
And the confidentiality surrounding the 2006 settlement was first broken in July 2015 when the Associated Press persuaded a federal judge to release portions of Cosby’s deposition in the civil case "in the public interest." At the time, the revelation was enormously damaging to Cosby's reputation. Neither Allred nor Troiani objected at the time.
Nearly three years later, that deposition will be used against Cosby in the retrial, just as it was at the first trial.
Contributing: The Associated Press