Bill Cosby's star witness says accuser spoke of plot to frame celebrity

Bill Cosby's star witness says accuser spoke of plot to frame celebrity

The chief accuser at Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial talked about framing a celebrity before going to police with her allegations in 2005, a key defence witness has testified.

Marguerite Jackson, an academic adviser at Temple University, gave evidence after a judge overruled prosecutors and said she could tell her story to the jury.

Ms Jackson said Andrea Constand spoke of the plot while they were rooming together on a trip to Rhode Island with the Temple University women's basketball team, where Ms Constand was working as operations director.

After watching a TV news report about a celebrity who had been accused of sexual assault, she said Ms Constand told her: "Oh wow, something similar happened to me."

Ms Constand said she never reported the assault because her assailant was a "high-profile person" and she knew she could not prove it, Ms Jackson testified.

Ms Jackson said she encouraged Ms Constand to report it.

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She told jurors that Ms Constand then switched gears, saying: "No it didn't, but I could say it did. I could say it happened, get that money. I could quit my job. I could go back to school. I could open up a business."

Ms Jackson said the conversation happened on February 1 2004, a few weeks after Ms Constand accuses Cosby of drugging and molesting her at his Philadelphia home.

The defence hoped Ms Jackson's testimony would bolster Cosby's efforts to show Ms Constand fabricated the allegations against him to extort a big civil settlement.

Cosby paid Ms Constand nearly $3.4 million dollars in 2006.

Ms Constand testified on Monday she did not "recall ever having a conversation with" Ms Jackson.

Prosecutors wound down their case earlier on Wednesday, introducing the comedian's explosive testimony about giving quaaludes to women before sex.

That is an old admission that has taken on new significance after half a dozen women testified that he drugged and violated them.

A police detective read a transcript of the 2005 testimony as prosecutors saved for the very end of their case Cosby's own words about using the 1970s party drug "the same as a person would say, 'have a drink'."

Cosby, now 80, is being retried on charges he drugged and molested Ms Constand. He says their encounter was consensual.

Jurors at the first trial last year heard excerpts from the deposition but deadlocked on sexual assault charges.

PA

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