The first day of Bill Cosby’s sexual assault retrial had a lot of fireworks, including a topless protestor who had once appeared on The Cosby Show. The second day of the trial got started with a bombshell — Cosby once settled a sexual assault lawsuit with an accuser, Andrea Constand, for $3.38 million. The Washington Post reports how the prosecutor opened this revelation to the world:
On Monday, during opening statements in Cosby’s retrial on charges of sexually assaulting Constand, a state prosecutor formally wiped away that vow of secrecy, revealing for the first time that the entertainer paid his accuser $3,380,000 to end their dispute in 2006.
The settlement was not introduced in Cosby’s previous trial, but both sides are hoping to use it to their advantage. The defense hopes the settlement will paint Constand as “a greedy schemer who lied to extract money from a wealthy celebrity.” The prosecution, meanwhile, will have to convince the jury to look past the settlement to what allegedly led to it; that is, the accusation that Cosby drugged Constant, leaving her unable to reject his sexual advances.
Constand, who reported the assault nearly a year after it reportedly happened, filed her original lawsuit after a district attorney decided not to prosecute Cosby. After settling the suit, Cosby was deposed and admitted to giving Costand pills and described their sexual encounter. After a federal judge made that deposition public because of “lingering legal disputes that stemmed from Constand’s accusations,” Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele opened a case against Cosby.
Regardless of the existence of the settlement, Steele sought to remind the jurors that this case “is about trust,” and this trust is about betrayal.”