Lawyer: Bill Cosby Was Framed by 'Con Artist'

Another woman says she was drugged, forced to perform oral sex
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 11, 2018 12:08 AM CDT
In this Feb. 11, 2016 photo, Heidi Thomas, a Denver woman who claims she was assaulted by Bill Cosby, heads to a hearing room after a news conference at the state Capitol in Denver.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
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(Newser) – Bill Cosby's retrial took a far more combative turn Tuesday than the first go-round, as his lawyers launched a scathing attack on his accuser and prosecutors put the first in a parade of women on the stand to portray the comedian as a sexual predator. Heidi Thomas, who was a 24-year-old aspiring actress in 1984 when she met Cosby in Reno, Nev., testified he knocked her out with a potent glass of wine and forced her to perform oral sex, the AP reports. Prosecutors have lined up five accusers in all to make the case that the TV star, once revered as America's Dad, made a habit of drugging and assaulting women well before he was accused of violating Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.

Cosby's lawyer urged jurors to ignore the other accusers—calling them irrelevant to this case—but saved most of his fire for Constand, branding her a "con artist" who tried to frame the comedian. Tom Mesereau, delivering his opening statement a day after prosecutors took their turn, said Constand "hit the jackpot" when Cosby paid her $3.4 million over a decade ago to settle her lawsuit against him. "What did she want from Bill Cosby?" Mesereau said. "You already know the answer: money, money, and lots more money." He said Constand went to Cosby's home at least a half-dozen times and sneaked into bed with him at a casino, winning his trust so she could set him up later. Constand outlined her scheme to a Temple colleague, Marguerite Jackson, Mesereau said. The defense plans to call Jackson as a witness.

(Read more Bill Cosby stories.)

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