On Monday, Bill Cosby had his first day in court regarding his sexual assault charges. Cosby appeared before a judge to face accusations of drugging and raping a woman in 2004. Although there are numerous allegations of sexual assault against Cosby, the sexual assault charge of Andrea Constand in 2004 is the only one to merit a criminal case. The district attorney of Montgomery Pennsylvania has charged Cosby with three counts of aggravated indecent sexual assault that could result in the 79-year-old Cosby spending about 10 years in prison.
Although this case is from an event in 2004, Cosby has sexual assault accusations against him dating back to the 1960s. The prosecution is Assistant District Attorney Kristen Feden, Cosby’s defense attorney is one of the top rated Criminal Defense attorneys in Philadelphia, Brian McMonagle. Constand’s case remained idle for over a decade because her attorneys felt they did not have enough evidence against Cosby.
Cosby showed up to the courthouse with Keshia Knight Pulliam, who played Cosby’s daughter on The Cosby Show as Rudy. Cosby provided the public with the impression of a gentle old man as he arrived at the courthouse. He walked with his cane while leaning on his TV daughter Keshia. According to The Washington Post, Cosby was laughing and joking with his attorney in the courtroom.
Constand filed the lawsuit against Cosby in 2005. Cosby and Constand both gave different accounts of the night in question. Cosby states that after inviting her back to his place, he provided her with 3 blue pills of Benadryl to help her relax after work and told her they were Benadryl. Furthermore, Cosby states that afterwards, they began kissing when they moved to the couch and then had consensual sex.
According to Cosby, he then let her sleep on the couch and made her a muffin the next morning before she left. He states that she didn’t mention anything negative about the occurrence. This was meant to give the jury the impression that she wasn’t raped but looking for money.
Constand’s account was that Cosby never told her the pills were Benadryl but said they were herbal medication to “take the edge off,” which she says then made her paralyzed. In conflict with what Cosby says, Constand stated that after taking the pills, her paralyzed state left her in no condition to consent. She states that she could not speak or move while Cosby undressed her. Constand’s account seems similar to accounts by other women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault.
Both sides of this case have a tough job ahead of them. The prosecution does not have physical evidence on Constand’s body to use, she waited a year after the alleged assault to file her case, the case is Cosby’s word against Constand’s because they were the only ones in the room, Constand made 53 phone calls to Cosby after the alleged assault but told the police in 2005 that she had not tried to contact Cosby after the incident, and Cosby is a legendary figure in the country who has been viewed as a positive figure for a long time.
It’ll also be hard for the defense because Cosby has dozens of women who have accused him of sexual assault dating back to the 1960s, he’s admitted to asking the doctor for the depressant prescription drug Quaaludes and giving them to women, and Cosby has a history of promising young women good careers for sexual favors.
The first day of trial was filled with many emotional moments. Kelly Johnson, who also accuses Cosby of sexual assault but does not have a criminal suit against him, emotionally testified that she had been drugged and sexually assaulted by Cosby. This was meant to show the jury that the case of Constand is not an isolated incident but a pattern.
Cosby denies the allegations by Johnson and Constand. The first day was used by the prosecution to drastically crush the positive image of Cosby by depicting him as a predator, while the defense used the first day to attack the credibility of Constand by pointing out the inconsistencies in her stories from the time she first filed the case in 2005.
There are two quotes from court that sum up the beginning of the case. One by Cosby’s defense attorney, Brian McMonagle, who said while sexual assault is a crime, false accusation “can destroy a man, can destroy his life, his future.” The other was by Kelly Johnson, the other accuser who testified today, who said “I had a secret about the biggest celebrity in the world at that time, and it was just me.” This case has been said to have the potential to outrank the OJ case in celebrity significance. Only time will tell what will happen and the country will be watching.