You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Bill Cosby goes on trial, his legacy and freedom at stake

Associated Press logo Associated Press 6/5/2017 By MARYCLAIRE DALE and MICHAEL R. SISAK, Associated Press
Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial with actress Keshia Knight Pulliam, right, at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, June 5, 2017. Pulliam played Cosby’s youngest daughter, Rudy Huxtable, on "The Cosby Show." (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) © The Associated Press Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial with actress Keshia Knight Pulliam, right, at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, June 5, 2017. Pulliam played Cosby’s youngest daughter, Rudy Huxtable, on "The Cosby Show." (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Bill Cosby went on trial Monday on charges he drugged and sexually assaulted a woman more than a decade ago, with prosecutors immediately introducing evidence the 79-year-old TV star once known as America's Dad had done it before to someone else.

Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, June 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) © The Associated Press Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, June 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The prosecution's opening witness was not the person Cosby is charged with abusing, but another woman, who broke down in tears as she testified that the comedian violated her in the mid-1990s at a hotel bungalow in Los Angeles.

Actress Keshia Knight Pulliam speaks with members of the media during Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, June 5, 2017. Pulliam played Cosby’s youngest daughter, Rudy Huxtable, on "The Cosby Show."(AP Photo/Matt Rourke) © The Associated Press Actress Keshia Knight Pulliam speaks with members of the media during Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, June 5, 2017. Pulliam played Cosby’s youngest daughter, Rudy Huxtable, on "The Cosby Show."(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Cosby is on trial on charges he assaulted Andrea Constand, a former employee of Temple University's basketball program, at his suburban Philadelphia mansion in 2004. His good-guy reputation already in ruins, he could get 10 years in prison if convicted.

Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial with Keshia Knight Pulliam, right, at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, June 5, 2017. (David Maialetti/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP, Pool) © The Associated Press Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial with Keshia Knight Pulliam, right, at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, June 5, 2017. (David Maialetti/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP, Pool)

In her opening statement, prosecutor Kristen Feden noted that the "Cosby Show" star previously admitted under oath that he gave Constand pills and touched her genitals as she lay on his couch.

ADDS NAME - Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial with Keshia Knight Pulliam, right, at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, June 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) © The Associated Press ADDS NAME - Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial with Keshia Knight Pulliam, right, at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, June 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

"She couldn't say no," Feden said. "She can't move, she can't talk. Completely paralyzed. Frozen. Lifeless."

Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Monday, June 5, 2017 in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) © The Associated Press Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Monday, June 5, 2017 in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Cosby attorney Brian McMonagle countered by attacking what he said were inconsistencies in Constand's story, disputed that Constand was incapacitated and made the case that she and Cosby had a romantic relationship.

Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, June 5, 2017. More than a decade after Cosby invited a college basketball manager to his home to discuss her career, the comedian goes on trial in the only criminal case to emerge from the dozens of sexual assault allegations lodged against him. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) © The Associated Press Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, June 5, 2017. More than a decade after Cosby invited a college basketball manager to his home to discuss her career, the comedian goes on trial in the only criminal case to emerge from the dozens of sexual assault allegations lodged against him. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

He said Constand initially told police that she and Cosby did not speak after their 2004 encounter, when, in fact, phone records show the two talked 72 times, with 53 of those calls initiated by Constand.

Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, June 5, 2017. More than a decade after Cosby invited a college basketball manager to his home to discuss her career, the comedian goes on trial in the only criminal case to emerge from the dozens of sexual assault allegations lodged against him. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) © The Associated Press Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, June 5, 2017. More than a decade after Cosby invited a college basketball manager to his home to discuss her career, the comedian goes on trial in the only criminal case to emerge from the dozens of sexual assault allegations lodged against him. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Constand, 44, of the Toronto area, is expected to take the stand this week and tell her story in public for the first time.

FILE - In this combination of file photos, entertainer Bill Cosby pauses during an interview in Washington on Nov. 6, 2014, and Andrea Constand poses for a photo in Toronto on Aug. 1, 1987. Cosby goes on trial Monday, June 5, 2017, in suburban Philadelphia in a sexual assault case that will largely rest on the testimony of Constand. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, left, and Ron Bull/Toronto Star/The Canadian Press via AP, right) © The Associated Press FILE - In this combination of file photos, entertainer Bill Cosby pauses during an interview in Washington on Nov. 6, 2014, and Andrea Constand poses for a photo in Toronto on Aug. 1, 1987. Cosby goes on trial Monday, June 5, 2017, in suburban Philadelphia in a sexual assault case that will largely rest on the testimony of Constand. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, left, and Ron Bull/Toronto Star/The Canadian Press via AP, right)

The trial's first witness was Kelly Johnson of Atlanta, who worked for one of Cosby's agents at the William Morris Agency. She described an encounter she said took place in 1996 at the Hotel Bel-Air when she was in her mid-30s.

FILE - This Oct. 25, 1982 file photo shows comedian, actor and author Bill Cosby. On Monday, June 5, 2017, Cosby goes on trial on sexual assault charges stemming from a 2004 encounter at his home near Philadelphia. (AP Photo) © The Associated Press FILE - This Oct. 25, 1982 file photo shows comedian, actor and author Bill Cosby. On Monday, June 5, 2017, Cosby goes on trial on sexual assault charges stemming from a 2004 encounter at his home near Philadelphia. (AP Photo)

Prosecutors are trying to show Cosby's treatment of Constand fit a pattern of predatory behavior.

FILE - In this Thursday, May 2, 2002 file photo, members of Bill Cosby's television family, the Huxtables, gather in NBC's Today show studio for an interview with co-host Katie Couric, in New York. From left are Sabrina Le Beauf, Tempest Bledsoe, Cosby, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Phylicia Rashad, Raven Symone and Malcolm-Jamal Warner. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Thursday, May 2, 2002 file photo, members of Bill Cosby's television family, the Huxtables, gather in NBC's Today show studio for an interview with co-host Katie Couric, in New York. From left are Sabrina Le Beauf, Tempest Bledsoe, Cosby, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Phylicia Rashad, Raven Symone and Malcolm-Jamal Warner. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

They had wanted to call as many as 13 women who say Cosby sexually assaulted them, out of more than 60 accusers in all. But Judge Steven O'Neill, in a victory for Cosby, said the jury could hear only from Constand and Johnson.

FILE - In this 1974 file photo, comedian Bill Cosby prepares to hit the ball as Australian World Cup team captain and playing partner Fred Stolle watches during an exhibition tennis match in Hartford, Conn. Cosby and Stolle teamed against actor Robert Culp and American World Cup team member Arthur Ashe. (AP Photo/Bob Child) © The Associated Press FILE - In this 1974 file photo, comedian Bill Cosby prepares to hit the ball as Australian World Cup team captain and playing partner Fred Stolle watches during an exhibition tennis match in Hartford, Conn. Cosby and Stolle teamed against actor Robert Culp and American World Cup team member Arthur Ashe. (AP Photo/Bob Child)

Johnson testified that Cosby pressured her to take a large white pill that knocked her out, and when she woke up he put lotion on her hand and forced her to touch his genitals.

FILE - This August 1972 file photo shows comedian Bill Cosby from the Saturday morning cartoon show "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids." Cosby created and starred in the cartoon series based loosely on his Philadelphia childhood that promoted good behavior and morality. (AP Photo, File) © The Associated Press FILE - This August 1972 file photo shows comedian Bill Cosby from the Saturday morning cartoon show "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids." Cosby created and starred in the cartoon series based loosely on his Philadelphia childhood that promoted good behavior and morality. (AP Photo, File)

"My dress was pulled up from the bottom, and it was pulled down from the top, and my breasts were out," she said, crying. "And I felt naked."

FILE - In this Sept. 12, 1965 file photo, actor-comedian Bill Cosby, right, and his wife, Camille, arrive at the TV Academy awards in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles. Camille Cosby released a statement on Monday, Dec. 15, 2014 in support of her husband. The statement is the first public comment from Cosby's long-time wife since a wave of sexual assault allegations began swirling several weeks earlier. (AP Photo, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Sept. 12, 1965 file photo, actor-comedian Bill Cosby, right, and his wife, Camille, arrive at the TV Academy awards in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles. Camille Cosby released a statement on Monday, Dec. 15, 2014 in support of her husband. The statement is the first public comment from Cosby's long-time wife since a wave of sexual assault allegations began swirling several weeks earlier. (AP Photo, File)

Cosby's lawyer argued that Johnson was seeking a payout from the TV star.

FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2014 file photo, entertainer Bill Cosby, left, and his wife, Camille, laugh as they tell a story about collecting one of the pieces in the upcoming exhibit, "Conversations: African and African-American Artworks in Dialogue" at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2014 file photo, entertainer Bill Cosby, left, and his wife, Camille, laugh as they tell a story about collecting one of the pieces in the upcoming exhibit, "Conversations: African and African-American Artworks in Dialogue" at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

McMonagle said Johnson mixed up the years and other details of her encounters with Cosby, and he grilled her about why she never said anything when she left William Morris. She came forward in 2015 at a news conference with celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred.

FILE - In this April 1, 1982 file photo, John H. Johnson, publisher of Jet and Ebony magazines, left, and actor Bill Cosby, center, join the Rev. Jesse Jackson at a benefit reception for Operation PUSH in Chicago, Ill. (AP Photo) © The Associated Press FILE - In this April 1, 1982 file photo, John H. Johnson, publisher of Jet and Ebony magazines, left, and actor Bill Cosby, center, join the Rev. Jesse Jackson at a benefit reception for Operation PUSH in Chicago, Ill. (AP Photo)

"I felt embarrassed because I had a secret about the biggest celebrity in the world at the time and it was just me, just my word against his, and I was very afraid," Johnson said.

FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008 file photo, Bill Cosby, host of the Playboy Jazz Festival, right, and Playboy impresario Hugh Hefner greet each other at a party to announce the lineup of the upcoming 30th annual festival, at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles. The festival will be held at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008 file photo, Bill Cosby, host of the Playboy Jazz Festival, right, and Playboy impresario Hugh Hefner greet each other at a party to announce the lineup of the upcoming 30th annual festival, at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles. The festival will be held at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Cosby grinned and tapped his wooden cane as his lawyer questioned Johnson.

FILE - In this Tuesday, May 16, 2006 file photo, entertainer Bill Cosby raises his arm to the audience on the campus of University of the District of Columbia in Washington. The panel discussion on issues facing low income Americans is being called a "Call Out with Bill Cosby". (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Tuesday, May 16, 2006 file photo, entertainer Bill Cosby raises his arm to the audience on the campus of University of the District of Columbia in Washington. The panel discussion on issues facing low income Americans is being called a "Call Out with Bill Cosby". (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)

The comedian arrived at the courthouse in the morning holding his spokesman's arm for support as he walked past dozens of cameras.

FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2004 file photo, Bill Cosby addresses a gathering at the 34th Annual Legislative Conference of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in Washington. Bill Cosby doesn't plan to testify when he goes on trial Monday June 5, 2017 on sexual assault charges, but the rambling, disturbing testimony he gave a decade ago in the accuser's civil suit could prove just as crucial. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2004 file photo, Bill Cosby addresses a gathering at the 34th Annual Legislative Conference of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in Washington. Bill Cosby doesn't plan to testify when he goes on trial Monday June 5, 2017 on sexual assault charges, but the rambling, disturbing testimony he gave a decade ago in the accuser's civil suit could prove just as crucial. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Cosby's wife, Camille, was not in court. But actress Keshia Knight Pulliam, who played his daughter Rudy on "The Cosby Show" in the 1980s and '90s, was at his side as he made his way into the building. She told reporters she was there to support her TV dad.

"I want to be the person that I would like to have if the tables were turned," she said. "Right now it's the jury's job and the jury's decision to determine guilt or innocence. It's not mine or anyone else's."

Cosby built a wholesome reputation as a father and family man, on screen and off, during his extraordinary 50-year career in entertainment. He created TV characters, most notably Dr. Cliff Huxtable, with crossover appeal among blacks and whites alike. His TV shows, movies and comedy tours earned him an estimated $400 million.

Then a deposition unsealed in 2015 in a lawsuit brought by Constand revealed that Cosby had a long history of extramarital liaisons with young women and that he obtained quaaludes in the 1970s to give to women before sex. Dozens of women soon came forward to say he had drugged and assaulted them.

Those developments led prosecutors in Pennsylvania to bring charges against Cosby a decade after the district attorney at the time concluded the case was too weak.

The statute of limitations for prosecuting Cosby had run out in nearly every case. This is the only one to result in criminal charges against the comic.

Feden, the prosecutor, warned the jury not to fall into the trap of confusing celebrities with the characters they play.

"We think we really know them," she said. "In reality, we only have a glimpse of who they really are."

Cosby's lawyers tried repeatedly to get the case thrown out, arguing that a previous district attorney promised him he would never be charged, and that witnesses have died, memories have faded and the comedian is all but blind.

The AP does not typically identify people who say they are sexual assault victims unless they grant permission, which Constand and Johnson have done.

UP NEXT
UP NEXT

___

For more on Cosby, including trial updates, historical photos, videos and an audio series exploring the case, visit: www.apnews.com/tag/CosbyonTrial

AdChoices
AdChoices
AdChoices
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon