As they prepare for his April retrial, Bill Cosby’s lawyers have again asked to introduce testimony that his accuser, Andrea Constand, allegedly told a coworker years ago that she could earn money by making false sexual assault allegations against a famous person.
In a pretrial motion filed Thursday in Montgomery County Court, the defense sought Judge Steven T. O’Neill’s permission to call Marguerite Jackson, who worked with Constand at Temple University a year or two before Constand says Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her at his Cheltenham home.
Jackson said she worked as an academic counselor for Temple’s women’s basketball team while Constand was the team’s operations manager, according to an affidavit from Jackson filed by Cosby’s lawyers.
In it, Jackson said she was on a trip with the team and sharing a hotel room with Constand in Rhode Island when they saw a news story on television about a prominent person accused of drugging and sexually assaulting women. Jackson said Constand told her that something similar had happened to her but that she had not reported it to police.
When pressed by Jackson, according to the affidavit, Constand responded that she had not actually been assaulted but that “I could say it happened, file charges, and get money to go to school and open a business.”
Jackson’s affidavit does not say specifically when the conversation occurred, although Cosby’s lawyers contend it was in January or February of 2003 or 2004.
Prosecutors say Cosby assaulted Constand in January 2004.
O’Neill blocked Jackson’s testimony at the June trial, which ended in mistrial when the jury deadlocked. Cosby’s new lawyers — Sam Silver, Thomas Mesereau, Kathleen Bliss, and Becky James — said in Thursday’s filing that Jackson is crucial to their case because her testimony discredits Constand.
“Her statement established a motive to fabricate such a story, specifically that it could enable her to get money to pay for school and to open a business,” they wrote.
During the trial, Constand testified that she did not know Jackson, but defense lawyers were not permitted to ask more probing questions.
In the closing days of the trial, Cosby’s publicist Andrew Wyatt read Jackson’s suppressed statement to a throng of reporters, one of several pieces of evidence he cited in a bid to contend the trial had been rigged.
Jackson works as an assistant director of advising at Temple, according to the university’s website. Messages left at her office late Thursday were not returned.
Cosby’s lawyers also claim that prosecutors improperly failed to disclose that they had talked to Jackson before the trial. A spokeswoman for District Attorney Kevin R. Steele declined to comment Thursday evening and said prosecutors had not yet reviewed the motion.
In other motions Thursday, Cosby’s lawyers asked O’Neill to dismiss the charges and to block testimony from the mother of a woman who had also accused Cosby of sexual assault. Patrice Sewell, Kelley Johnson’s mother, was called at the first trial to corroborate her daughter’s allegations.
Johnson was the only additional accuser permitted to testify in June. In his own filing last week, Steele asked the judge to permit testimony from 18 additional women who have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct.
Cosby is scheduled for retrial April 2. Jury selection is scheduled to begin March 29.
He has made several public appearances in Philadelphia in recent days, including dinner at an Italian restaurant in Old City and a visit to a Germantown club on Monday, where he gave his first comedy performance since the scandal forced him into retirement.