In the first trial, last summer, only one additional accuser was allowed to add her voice. That trial, also at the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, ended with a hung jury.
In an opening statement of close to an hour, Mr. Mesereau attacked the credibility of Ms. Constand, turning on its head the prosecution’s charge that Mr. Cosby was a celebrity stalking a much younger woman for sex. Instead, Mr. Mesereau said, Mr. Cosby was a foolish man who had made the mistake of telling her his troubles, including the death of his son, Ennis, who was murdered in 1997 in a failed robbery attempt.
Ms. Constand’s acceptance of his invitations and gifts during a period of friendship of several months were the acts of a calculating woman intent on insinuating herself into his life, the defense said.
“He was lonely and troubled and he made a terrible mistake confiding in her what was going on his life,” Mr. Mesereau said.
The defense plans to call as a witness a Temple University academic adviser who, Mr. Mesereau said, would testify that Ms. Constand told her several years ago that she could make money by falsely claiming she had been molested by a prominent person. The adviser, Marguerite Jackson, 56, was not allowed to speak at the first trial after Ms. Constand testified that she did not know her. But the defense has since brought forward two former Temple colleagues of Ms. Constand who said she and Ms. Jackson did know each other.
Ms. Constand first reported an assault to the police in 2005, a year after her encounter with Mr. Cosby. When prosecutors declined to bring charges, she brought a lawsuit against him. Prosecutors in Montgomery County filed the current charges after reopening the investigation in 2015.
On Monday, the opening day of the trial, prosecutors revealed that Mr. Cosby had paid Ms. Constand $3.38 million as part of a confidential settlement of the lawsuit in 2006. The amount had never been disclosed publicly, but Mr. Cosby agreed to reveal it during pretrial discussions.
The defense argued that the large payment is by no means an admission of wrongdoing on Mr. Cosby’s part, but rather evidence of Ms. Constand’s financial incentive in pursuing charges against him, a perspective prosecutors vehemently reject.
A lawyer who represented Ms. Constand in the civil case, Dolores M. Troiani, rejected Mr. Mesereau’s characterization of her client, calling it a “disgrace” that the legal system permits such defenses which, she said, deter women from coming forward to report sexual assault.
“This is about one thing only,” Ms. Troiani said. “He gave her pills, she was incapable of consent, he sexually assaulted her, and he admitted it.”
As at the first trial, the defense on Tuesday told jurors about how Ms. Constand continued to have contact with Mr. Cosby after the night she said he assaulted her, including multiple phone calls and an occasion when she went with her family to see him perform in Canada.
Mr. Mesereau said that the defense had evidence that Ms. Constand had unpaid bills during her time at Temple, was struggling at her job and that they would produce emails showing she was running a “pyramid scheme” at the university. He did not elaborate.
More than 50 women have leveled accusations of some kind of sexual misconduct against Mr. Cosby in recent years, but Ms. Constand’s is the only case to result in criminal charges.
In many quarters the accusations have all but undone the entertainer’s image as America’s Dad. He faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault, each punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Mr. Mesereau said the experience had been “brutal” for Mr. Cosby and he was glad to finally be able to get a chance for vindication.
“This is no longer a media sound bite,” Mr. Mesereau said. “This is a court of law. Finally we welcome the opportunity for the truth to get out. Finally Mr. Cosby has his day in court.”
Mr. Mesereau referred to the #MeToo movement in his statement, asserting that prosecutors were hoping that, “Maybe in the current climate you will not see the facts.” But he said he was confident the jurors would find Mr. Cosby not guilty.