Andrea Constand, the woman who accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault and her mother, Gianna Constand, faced a round of grueling cross-examination during Cosby’s retrial.
Andrea Constand testified that in 2004, Cosby drugged and raped her. She recounted the same thing 10 months ago in a trial that ended in a hung jury. Meanwhile, Cosby’s victim-blaming lawyers tried their utmost to discredit her story and tried to cast her as a gold digger and an opportunist. The defense attorneys said the woman used to come to Cosby’s house late at night and called him twice on Valentine’s Day, a month after her alleged assault.
Constand met Cosby at a basketball game in 2002 at Temple University, where she was an employee. She considered him to be a mentor and went to his home for career advice. There, according to the victim, Cosby gave her three blue pills to "relieve stress." Once she took them, she became disoriented and sluggish and Cosby allegedly took advantage of her condition and groped and penetrated her.
Constand was cross-examined by defense lawyer Tom Mesereau, who asked Constand about the amount of time she spent alone with the former actor.
“Did you think it was appropriate to be in a married man’s room at the time?” he asked her once about her going to visit Cosby for advice. He also questioned her about her various phone calls to Cosby in the days after she was assaulted and laid special stress on the fact she called Cosby twice on Valentine’s Day. His line of questioning implied Constand was only pretending to be a victim and the sexual interaction was, in fact, consensual.
He also tried to cast the victim as a gold-digger by referring to her settlement with Cosby, then told her it was against the agreement to talk about the incident afterwards or participate in a criminal case.
Andrea Constand’s testimony was followed by her mother’s. Last year, Gianna Constand testified how daughter would wake up in the night from nightmares. Then one day, younger Constand called her mother and said she was assaulted by Cosby. When Constand called him, Cosby reportedly replied saying, “Oh I felt like I was a dirty, old, perverted man,” according to the mother.
Constand recorded the phone call with Cosby but he started being more cautious with his words from then on. On this week’s trial, she was questioned by a separate lawyer, Kathleen Bliss, who was merciless as well.
“You and your husband raised them to be good girls,” Bliss asked her. When the woman replied in the affirmative, Bliss said, “So it’s fair to say that ... it would have broken your heart to know ... that your daughter Andrea was having affair with a married man.”
Constand repeatedly denied Bliss' accusations.
Bliss also constantly picked on Constand, accusing the family of trying to frame Cosby. She said it was suspicious how Constand waited to come home from work to call her daughter’s alleged abuser. Bliss also said Cosby did not admit any guilt in the call that Constand had recorded.
The defense lawyer also accused Andrea Constand of trying to climb her way up into Hollywood after college. She alleged Temple University was about to fire Constand and that she got a new house form her settlement with Cosby in 2005. All of these allegations were denied by the survivor’s mother. At the end of the testimony, Gianna Constand broke down into tears.
The victim’s mother’s testimony was pivotal in last year’s criminal trial of Cosby. However, this time around, Cosby’s lawyers had time to study her. The lawyer’s brutal questions put her past under severe scrutiny. It seems unlikely that Cosby will face an equally vicious barrage of questions.
Banner/Thumbnail credit: REUTERS, Dominick Reuter