As the second trial takes place against Bill Cosby, his defense team maligned the character of the woman who said he drugged and sexually assaulted her in 2004. On Tuesday, The Guardian reported that Cosby's defense lawyer, Tom Mesereau, called Andrea Constand a "con artist" in court, among other things. Cosby has unequivocally denied accusations of coerced sex from the former Temple University athletics coordinator who said that the incident took place at Cosby's residence in Philadelphia.
Mesereau, a prominent Hollywood lawyer, did not hold back while he addressed the new jury of seven men and five women, according to The Guardian. In an attempt to win the jury over, Mesereau said that Constand was after Cosby's wealth. "You are going to ask yourself what did she want from Bill Cosby," Mesereau said. "You already know the answer: money, money, and lots more money."
Constand, Mesereau told the jury, was a fraud. He went on to say, "We'll prove it. A con artist."
NBC Philadelphia reported that Mesereau used Constand's meeting with Cosby after the alleged incident as a way to discredit her. In his opening statement, Mesereau said, "Why do you keep going back and back and back and back? Because there's something that you want. I wonder what it is. She's now a multi-millionaire because she pulled it off." Over 50 women have come forward to accuse Cosby of sexual abuse since Constand first shared her story. Cosby has denied all accusations of nonconsensual sex.
The second trial for Cosby arrives after the first one in June ended in a deadlocked jury last year. This meant that the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict. Now Cosby faces a new jury which Mesereau attempted to win over on Tuesday. The lawyer tried to use the comedian's age to garner sympathy from the jury. Mesereau said, "He's 80 years old and nearly blind but eager to have his day in court. ... He is now in the trial for his life."
Mesereau then added, "Mr. Cosby's no criminal. He was foolish, he was ridiculous, he was lonely and attracted to a younger woman, but he didn’t commit any crime and you will gladly find him not guilty." He also mentioned Cosby's late son, Ennis Cosby, who was killed in 1997. The Guardian reported that this move elicited emotion from one of the jury members, who reportedly dabbed his eyes with a handkerchief.
On social media, however, Mesereau's comments were criticized. Twitter user Alexander Chow said, "Does Cosby’s attorney Tom Mesereau truly believe over 50 women, who share very similar accounts of what happened with Cosby, are all only motivated by money?" Chow went on, "That may be Mesereau’s own motivation in this, but the women are fighting a system that denies them support."
The prominent celebrity lawyer also sought to influence the jury by mentioning main defense witness Marguerite Jackson, who used to work with Constand. Previously, Jackson was not allowed to speak in front of the jury, but in this second trial, she will share her story.
Mesereau attempted to discredit Constand by mentioning that Jackson spoke with Constand who told her that she had been sexually abused by a "powerful person." Mesereau said Jackson asked Constand if she was sexually abused and then, according to Mesereau, Constand said, "No, but I can say I was. I can set up the celebrity and get a lot of money for my business."
But Mesereau faced some pushback. From the prosecution team's side, the first witness was psychiatrist Barbara Ziv, who said that it's not out of the normal that many sexual abuse victims know their attackers and will try to maintain relationships in order to gain clarity about their abuse.
"I’m not sure I can think of one victim of sexual assault who did not feel humiliated, does not blame herself to some extent, and is not deeply ashamed about it," Ziv said. "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."