On the very first day of Bill Cosby‘s retrial, prosecutors revealed that the disgraced comedian paid his accuser Andrea Constand a $3.38 million settlement in 2005. This payment, which has been hidden for over a decade thanks to a confidentiality agreement signed by both sides, was reportedly intended to buy her silence after she claimed that she was sexually assault.
Attorney Kevin R. Steele made the bombshell revelation in his opening statements against The Cosby Show star, and alleged that the amount proved Bill had something to hide after years of sexual misconduct. “When this happened with Andrea Constand, there was no mistake that there was no consent,” he said according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. “When someone is drugged, they don’t have the ability to consent.”
In her lawsuit, Andrea — a former professional basketball player and coach— claims that she was drugged and sexually assaulted by Bill at his Pennsylvania home. In the documents, she details how she was given pills, was unable to move, and woke up with her clothes strewn all over the room. Prosecutors declined to pursue a case against the TV icon at the time, citing insufficient evidence. The case was reopened in 2015.
Now, Bill and Andrea are back in court after his first trial, where the settlement amount was never disclosed to jurors, ended in a hung jury and mistrial. This time around, a judge ruled that the payout was fair game for both sides.
Bill’s legal team is reportedly going on the defensive and planning to portray Andrea as a “gold-digging opportunist,” in their opening statement, reports the publication, “who fabricated her claims against Cosby in an attempt to win a big payday in court.” Since 2014, more than 60 women have come forward to accuse the 80-year-old of sexual assault — with five expected to testify during the retrial. Currently, Bill is facing three counts of aggravated indecent assault, with each charge carrying a maximum 10 year sentence.
Unlike the other victims, Andrea’s case was able to go to court because the criminal charges were filed just before the state’s statue of limitations expired. Bill is not expected to take the stand at his retrial.
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