Entertaiment

Bill Cosby's $3.4M settlement: Evidence of guilt or greed?

Bill Cosby's $3.4M settlement: Evidence of guilt or greed?

District Attorney Kevin Steele revealed the previously secret settlement amount in his opening statement on Monday, but didn't connect the dots to the prosecution's earlier suggestions that Cosby wouldn't have paid out so much money if the accusations against him were false.

Bill Cosby's retrial is now underway in a Pennsylvania courtroom, where the comedian stands accused of drugging and molesting a woman at his home in 2004.

Constand ultimately received almost $3.4 million in a settlement of a civil lawsuit she filed against Cosby, and Mesereau highlighted that the agreement noted that Cosby denied any wrongdoing and only settled the case to avoid negative publicity.

Meserau says Constand took advantage of Cosby's vulnerability after he confided in her that he had never gotten over the 1997 murder of his son, Ennis.

Steele suggested in his opening remarks that the size of the payment indicated Cosby had something to hide after years of attacking other women in strikingly similar ways. "When someone is drugged, they don't have the ability to consent".

In his opening statement at Cosby's second criminal trial now underway in Pennsylvania, defense lawyer Tom Mesereau claimed Constand was a broke basketball team manager at Temple University when she concocted a plan to frame Cosby for sexual assault.

The entertainer's supporters have tried the same tack to discredit Cosby accusers in the past.

Just before Cosby walked into court Monday morning, a topless protester with "Cosby rapist" and women's names written on her body jumped a barricade near Cosby and began chanting.

Rochelle, a resident of Little Falls, New Jersey, was obstructed by policemen and charged with disorderly conduct.

According to IMDb, Rochelle appeared in four episodes of "The Cosby Show" between 1990 and 1992, and has also acted on shows including "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and "Clarissa Explains It All".

"She knew exactly what she was doing", Mesereau said.

Cosby's first trial last spring ended with the jury hopelessly deadlocked.

Cosby's star then rose to iconic status when he took on the role of the sweater-loving physician father of the Huxtables, an upper middle-class African-American family, on "The Cosby Show". Plus, Mesereau said with an air of nonchalance, Cosby was merely trying to rid himself of a "nuisance".

"In honor of the first day of the Bill Cosby retrial, I went by the address where they filmed The Cosby Show exterior in New York City", said the Facebook caption.

In dismissing jurors who remained deadlocked past year after six days of deliberations, O'Neill told the panel, "Do not feel like you've let the justice system down".

Her arrest kicked off what was set to be a packed trial day, but as soon as Cosby arrived in the courtroom, Judge Steven T. O'Neill announced he was delaying the proceedings to deal with a disruption of another sort - a last-minute move by the defense to remove one juror.

In pre-trial rulings, the judge granted the prosecution permission to call five women into the witness box.

The case has besmirched the legacy of an actor who was lauded as a hero by African Americans and revered by whites for smashing through racial barriers.

Mesereau, who won an acquittal in Michael Jackson's 2005 child molestation case, told the jury instead that Constand was in deep financial trouble and had pinned her hopes on milking her relationship with Cosby.

But her accusation is the only one to force him into a criminal trial. Her conviction is critical to assessing her credibility as a witness against Cosby, the lawyers argued in their filing. "That's one reason why so many do not go to police, because when you do you lose control over your narrative and your whole life can take a tailspin". Speaking for nearly an hour, he repeatedly attacked the credibility of the key prosecution witness, Andrea Constand, a Canadian massage therapist who alleges she was rendered comatose and sexually assaulted by Cosby in January 2004. Prosecutors declined to comment Monday.


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