Bill Cosby's defence attack accuser's credibility in cross-examination at trial

Andrea Constand rejected the suggestion that she and Cosby were in a romantic relationship at time of alleged assault

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The Independent US

On day three of Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial, the comedian’s defence team attempted to paint his accuser as inconsistent, and their relationship as consensual – even romantic.

Mr Cosby is accused of sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, the former head of the women’s basketball program at Temple University, at his Pennsylvania home in 2004.

Ms Constand is the only one of more than 50 of Mr Cosby's accusers who has secured a trial. Mr Cosby has pleaded not guilty in the Constand case and denies all other allegations.

Ms Constand had previously testified that Mr Cosby drugged and molested her when she visited his home for dinner one night. She claimed to have “passed out” after taking what Mr Cosby told her were "herbal pills," and awoke to his hands moving underneath her clothes.

“In my head I was trying to get my hands to move or my legs to move, but I was frozen,” she said.

In a three-hour-long cross examination on Wednesday, Mr Cosby’s legal team attempted to cast doubt on Ms Constand’s version of events.

Because the case lacks forensic evidence – and Mr Cosby is not expected to take the stand – the verdict rests largely on the jury’s interpretation of his accuser’s testimony. The defence relied largely on phone records and the 44-year-old’s prior statements to construct their case.

Much of the cross-examination focused on 16 March, 2004 – the date Ms Constand initially told police the alleged assault occurred. Later, she would testify that the assault happened before this, and that 16 March was the night she had planned to confront Cosby about it.

“March 16 is an important date in this case, because it went from the day – the night – that you were drugged and assaulted, to something else,” a defence attorney said.

“Yes ma’am, I said I was mistaken,” Ms Constand replied.

The defence tried to suggest Ms Constand had changed her narrative after accessing her phone records, and realising they conflicted with her version of events. Ms Constand maintains she never accessed such records.

Cosby’s attorneys also faulted Ms Constand for not initially disclosing the number of private meetings she had had with the actor. Ms Constand says the officers simply never asked.

Aside from the timing of Ms Constand’s meetings with Mr Cosby, the defence also raised questions about their nature.

The 44-year-old testified on Tuesday that she saw Mr Cosby as a “mentor,” and considered him “somewhat of an older figure”. The defence, however, painted a different picture.

In one incident, attorneys suggested, Ms Constand attended a private, fire-lit dinner with the comedian. The two drank brandy and lit incense, defence attorneys claimed.

“The lights were dim and the fire was going, correct?” an attorney asked Ms Constand.

“I don’t really remember how dim the lights were, but I did have to eat my dinner,” she replied.

The six-foot tall former athlete was reserved and quiet on Wednesday morning, answering the defence’s questions but not expanding on her version of events.

Security guards said the entire trial was quieter than the days proceeding, when curious community members and media packed the halls of the Montgomery County, Pennsylvania courtroom.

In previous days, the prosecution had called another of Mr Cosby’s accusers to the stand to testify. They hoped to prove a pattern of behaviour in the celebrity’s past.

If Mr Cosby is convicted, he could be sentenced to a jail term of up to 10 years.