Los Angeles: Comedian Bill Cosby paid Andrea Constand $3.38 million to settle the sexual assault lawsuit she brought against him in 2005, said prosecutors at the opening of his criminal retrial.
The amount was part of a confidential settlement between Cosby and Constand, a former employee of Temple University who had accused the entertainer of first befriending her, then drugging and molesting her during a visit to his home outside Philadelphia in 2004, reports The New York Times.
The Montgomery County district attorney, Kevin R. Steele, told the jurors on Monday: “This case is about trust, This case is about betrayal, and that betrayal leading to a sexual assault of a woman named Andrea Constand.”
The payment had never been disclosed before publicly, but Cosby, 80, agreed to reveal it during the pretrial discussions.
His lawyers are expected to argue that the large amount of the payment is not an admission of wrongdoing on his part, but rather evidence of Constand’s financial incentive in pursuing charges against him.
One key defence witness, a Temple University academic adviser, is expected to testify that Constand once told her she could make money by falsely claiming she had been molested by a prominent person.
Cosby’s entry to the courthouse was briefly delayed in the morning by the protest of a topless woman, later identified as Nicolle Rochelle, a former actress who had appeared several times on “The Cosby Show.”
She jumped over a crowd barrier outside the courthouse and yelled “Women’s lives matter” before being wrestled to the ground by courthouse deputies about ten yards in front of Cosby as he walked toward the building’s front doors.
About a dozen other protesters also demonstrated outside the courthouse.