January 19, 2019

Cosby Accuser Talked of Framing a Celebrity, Witness Says

Ms. Jackson testified that Ms. Constand then changed her story and told her that it actually hadn’t happened after all.

“She said: ‘No it didn’t. I could say it did. I could quit my job. I could get that money,’” Ms. Jackson recalled.

Ms. Jackson, 56, is a 31-year employee of the university and now works as an academic adviser in Temple’s Boyer College of Music and Dance. Mr. Cosby’s defense team hopes the testimony from an experienced, mature voice will be taken seriously by the jurors and undercut Ms. Constand’s credibility.

Mr. Cosby with his publicist, Ebonee Benson, during a break at the courthouse. Credit Pool photo by Corey Perrine

The defense has portrayed Ms. Constand, 45, as a con artist who preyed on a lonely, older, wealthy entertainer and hatched a plot to siphon money from him. He paid her $3.38 million in a settlement that closed a 2005 lawsuit that she had filed against him after prosecutors initially balked at filing criminal charges in the case.

Ms. Constand’s account — that she was sexually assaulted by Mr. Cosby at his home near here in January 2004 after he incapacitated her with three blue pills — was bolstered last week by the accounts of five other women who testified that they, too, believe they were drugged and sexually assaulted by him.


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Mr. Cosby, 80, has said the sexual contact with Ms. Constand was consensual, and he has denied the other women’s accounts.

Ms. Constand’s credibility has been a prime focus of the retrial, as it was last summer when the first trial ended with a hung jury.

Ms. Jackson, who worked with the athletic department as an adviser between 2002 and 2006, told the jury Wednesday that she recalled her hotel room conversation with Ms. Constand in 2005, when the story broke that Mr. Cosby had been accused of assault.

“The conversation we had came back to me,” she said.

She said she decided to come forward in 2016, after Mr. Cosby had been charged in the case, when she met a comedian on a cruise who said he could put her in touch with Mr. Cosby’s representatives.

On cross-examination, M. Stewart Ryan, an assistant district attorney, pointed to discrepancies and elaborations between statements Ms. Jackson has given at various points, such as quote marks that were added to the phrases she says Ms. Constand uttered. He suggested they had been added at the suggestion of Mr. Cosby’s lawyers, such as Kathleen Bliss, who had questioned Ms. Jackson during direct examination.

“Who put the quotation marks?” Mr. Ryan asked.

“Kathleen. Kathleen put the quotation marks because it is a direct quote,” she said. Later she said that she and Ms. Bliss had made other changes together.

The prosecution questioned why she had taken so long to come forward and also produced Temple expense records that showed she had not submitted any claims for reimbursement associated with travel with the team in 2004, though she had in 2003. Ms. Jackson said she had traveled with the team a half-dozen times but did not remember filing any expenses.

The editor and publisher Judith Regan at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., where she testified on Wednesday. Credit Pool photo by Corey Perrine

Ms. Jackson had been blocked from testifying at the first trial after Ms. Constand said that she did not know her. But in a major victory for the defense side, Judge Steven T. O’Neill of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas allowed her testimony this time after the defense brought forward two former Temple colleagues who said Ms. Jackson and Ms. Constand did know each other.


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During her testimony this week, Ms. Constand said of Ms. Jackson, “I recognize the name,” but she denied ever having shared a room with her.

Mr. Cosby is presenting a more extended defense in this trial after calling only a single witness last summer, a detective who testified for only six minutes.

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Earlier in the day, the prosecution finished presenting its case, which included testimony from Judith Regan, the publisher of a 2002 memoir by one of Mr. Cosby’s accusers. She told the jury that the accuser, Janice Dickinson, had told her about being drugged and raped by Mr. Cosby but that her legal department would not allow publication of the accusation because there was no corroboration of the claim. Ms. Dickinson told the jury last week that her efforts to publish the accusation had been blocked by the publisher of “No Lifeguard on Duty: The Accidental Life of the World’s First Supermodel.”

Ms. Regan confirmed that account, saying, “She wanted the rape story in the book, and she was insistent and angry that we wouldn’t include it.”

Under questioning by Mr. Ryan, Ms. Regan said she believed Ms. Dickinson’s claim that she had been raped, saying she found her “credible” and indicating that she had given her account “with great emotion.”

During the civil suit that Ms. Constand filed against Mr. Cosby, he acknowledged in a deposition that he had once obtained quaaludes, a powerful sedative, to give to women he wanted to have sex with. That testimony was read out loud in the courtroom Wednesday to the jury as part of an effort by the prosecution to show that Mr. Cosby had a predilection for using drugs to incapacitate women.

Mr. Cosby’s lawyer had objected to the reading, suggesting there was no evidence that the three pills Mr. Cosby acknowledges giving Ms. Constand at his home were quaaludes. Mr. Cosby has said they were Benadryl.

In the deposition from 2005, Mr. Cosby had been asked by Ms. Constand’s lawyer, Dolores Troiani, “When you got the quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?” according to a transcript read in court.

“Yes,” Mr. Cosby replied.

Correction: April 18, 2018

An earlier version of this article gave an incorrect name for the corporate parent of Regan Arts, the company led by Judith Regan. The corporate parent is Phaidon Global.

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/18/arts/television/bill-cosby-sexual-assault-trial.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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