On the first day of Bill Cosby’s retrial, jurors learned that Cosby paid more than $3 million in 2006 to keep his accuser, Andrea Constand, from talking about their civil suit over an alleged sexual assault.
During opening arguments Monday in Norristown, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele told the jury that Constand sued Cosby in 2005, after learning that law enforcement would not bring charges against him based on her allegations that he drugged and sexually assaulted her.
The civil suit resulted in a settlement of $3.38 million, Steele said, and required that Constand stay quiet about the outcome or underlying facts of the civil case.
Steele also noted that Constand did not approach law enforcement again about her allegations after the settlement. Instead, he said, his office approached her after certain records from the civil case became public in 2015.
Steele also emphasized that while Constand is the complainant, she is not the party bringing a case against Cosby now.
“This case is not Andrea Constand versus the defendant. This is the commonwealth of Pennsylvania versus the defendant,” he said.
Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge Steven T. O’Neill ruled leading up to trial that some evidence regarding the civil suit and confidential settlement would be admissible.
Also during his opening argument, Steele referenced sexual assault accusations brought against Cosby by other women. O’Neill has allowed the prosecution to call five women other than Constand to testify about their allegations against Cosby.
Steele also showed a photo of pink pills that he said Cosby presented to law enforcement in 2005 when he was interviewed about Constand’s allegations. According to Steele, the jury will hear in testimony that Cosby gave Constand three blue pills the night of the alleged assault, not pink ones.
Cosby’s defense team is set to make its opening argument Tuesday morning.
Opening arguments were delayed by more than four hours Monday, as the parties and judge handled allegations against one of the selected jurors that he had already made his mind up in the case.
According to a defense memo filed late April 6, a woman who had been summoned for jury selection but ultimately was not chosen called Cosby’s lawyers last week to say a selected juror had allegedly said in the jury room that he knew Cosby was guilty.
He said, “’I just think he’s guilty, so we can all be done and get out of here,’” according to an affidavit by the prospective juror who contacted Cosby’s lawyers.
O’Neill said in court Monday afternoon that he had spoken with the jurors and none of them showed concern about their ability to be fair and impartial. Opening arguments began just before 3:30 p.m.
Cosby is facing three counts of aggravated indecent assault for allegedly sexually assaulting Constand in 2004. His first trial, last year, ended with a hung jury and mistrial. The retrial is expected to last up to a month.