iStock/Thinkstock(NORRISTOWN, Pa.) — Bill Cosby’s primary accuser endured a cross-examination in which the comedian’s lead attorney tried to brand her sneaky, unethical and money-hungry.But when Andrea Constand finished her testimony Monday, she left the witness stand in Montgomery County Court in Norristown, Pennsylvania, with her head held high, having answered defense attorney Tom Mesereau’s most pointed question: Why did she settle a civil case against Cosby for $3.38 million?“I just wanted to get it over with,” she testified. “It tore me and my family apart and we just wanted to get it over with.”During four hours of questioning Constand over two days, Mesereau struggled to solicit any answers that solidly supported claims he made in his opening argument that she was a “con artist” who targeted a “lonely man” with false accusations of sexual assault.Cosby is being retried on three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault. His first trial ended in a mistrial in June when a jury failed to reach a verdict.The 80-year-old Cosby, who has been married to his wife, Camille, for more than 53 years, has adamantly denied the accusations he drugged and sexually assaulted numerous women, including six who have now testified in his retrial.As she did in the first trial, Constand, 44, took the witness stand for the prosecution.Constand — former director of operations for the women’s basketball team at Temple University, where Cosby was a trustee — began her testimony on Friday, detailing how Cosby gave her three blue pills and led her to believe they were homeopathic remedies to “take the edge off.”She said she began to get dizzy and started feeling sick and seeing double. She said Cosby led her to a couch in his suburban Philadelphia home and sexually assaulted her.When Constand’s testimony resumed on Monday, Mesereau grilled her about the settlement in her civil suit against Cosby. He suggested her testimony violated a provision in the settlement.But according to a close reading of the contract language highlighted in subsequent questioning by prosecutor Kristen Feden, Constand’s testimony did not appear to have violated the agreement.The settlement provision, posted on a video screen in the courtroom, stipulates that Constand can’t share information about Cosby “except if … pursuant to a criminal investigation by a state or federal authority in the U.S. or Canada, or in response to a valid subpoena.”When Mesereau asked her why she would agree to a civil settlement that included no admission of wrongdoing by the comedian and then come to court to testify against him, she said she was trying to protect her family.Mesereau also suggested that Constand had participated in a $65-per-person “pyramid” scheme in college, a line of questioning that fell flat. She responded that as far as she knew it was not a pyramid or Ponzi scheme.She said she was simply doing a favor by cutting and pasting a form letter sent to her by a friend. Asked how many people she sent the email to, she said she sent it to one person.Constand acknowledged that she had been in Cosby’s hotel room at the Foxwood Resort Casino in Connecticut late one night.“Did you think it appropriate that you be in a married man’s room in a hotel in Connecticut at [about 11 p.m at] night?” Mesereau asked.Constand replied that she was summoned to the room by the comedian to get some “baked goods that Mr. Cosby wanted to give me.” She said she left the room within 10 minutes.Mesereau also set the stage for his star defense witness, a former Temple University colleague of Constand named Marguerite “Margo” Jackson. Jackson will testify for the defense at this trial after she was not allowed to in the first trial when a judge ruled that what she said in an affidavit was hearsay.Jackson claimed she once heard Constand muse about framing a powerful person for money, when the pair were rooming together during a travel game for the Temple University women’s basketball team, according to her court affidavit. Constand denies Jackson’s claim.The defense claims they roomed together at least six times. But while testifying on Monday, Constand said she had never roomed with Jackson.On Monday afternoon, Constand’s mother, Gianna, testified that when her daughter returned to Canada from Temple University, she seemed “dislocated from the family, seeming like she was in her own world.”“We noticed that she was very depressed, that she wasn’t interacting with any of her friends,” she said.“During the night we would hear her screaming,” Gianna added. “She would be screaming for help…. She would wake up sweating. I knew something was wrong but I could not put my finger on it.”When Constand told her mother about the alleged attack at Cosby’s house, Gianna said she called him and the pair talked for more than two hours.The elder Constand said she was furious with the entertainer.In one visceral moment, Gianna testified that when she got Cosby on the phone to confront him about allegedly assaulting her daughter, “I was so angry that I broke like every capillary in my eyes … my eyes were like two pools of blood.”If convicted, Cosby faces up to 10 years in prison for each of the three felony counts.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Lumberton Police(LUMBERTON, N.C.) — The FBI has released a new surveillance photo showing a stolen truck minutes after a 13-year-old girl was abducted in the car outside her North Carolina home.Eighth-grader Hania Noleia Aguilar was kidnapped just before 7 a.m. Monday at the Rosewood Mobile Home Park in Lumberton, according to Lumberton Police.Hania had grabbed her aunt’s keys that morning so she could go turn on the car before school when a witness saw a man — dressed in all black with a yellow bandanna over his face — approach the girl and force her into the car, police said.The suspect then stole the car and drove away with Hania, police said.The FBI on Wednesday released this image snapped of the truck near Hania’s home minutes after the kidnapping.“We are asking anyone in the Lumberton area who may have a camera or video surveillance system to save the video and contact the tip line immediately at 910-272-5871,” the FBI said. “Even if you do not see the vehicle in your video, please call the tip line anyway, as it may still contain important information.”The Lumberton Police Department & FBI have uncovered a photo of the SUV wanted in connection with the kidnapping of 13-year-old Hania Aguilar. We ask anyone in Lumberton with a video surveillance system to save the video & call the tip line at 910-272-5871. #FindHania pic.twitter.com/K07cPI6Yf7— FBI Charlotte (@FBICharlotte) November 7, 2018The aunt’s stolen car is described as a green 2002 Ford Expedition with South Carolina license plate number NWS984. The car has paint peeling from the hood and a Clemson sticker on the back window, police said.This SUV image is similar to the car in which she was kidnapped, police said.When Hania was abducted, her relative ran to a neighbor for help, and at 6:54 a.m., they dialed 911, the FBI said.“We were going to school,” the caller said frantically, when a “man came and took the girl and the truck.”The caller spoke in Spanish and the dispatcher incorporated a translator into the conversation, the FBI said.“Every second counts when a child is missing,” Lumberton Police Chief Michael McNeill told reporters Tuesday.There is no indication Hania was targeted, officials said.Hania is described as a Hispanic girl who is 5 feet tall and weighs about 126 pounds, the FBI said. She has black hair and brown eyes and was last seen wearing a blue shirt with flowers and blue jeans.The FBI is offering a reward up to $15,000.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Russia will take steps to defend the interests of its athletes who were disqualified and stripped of their medals from the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics for doping, the Kremlin said on Monday.The International Olympic Committee (IOC) this month annulled the results of 14 Russian athletes who competed in Sochi because of doping violations.They were stripped of their medals and banned for life from participating in future Olympics.The decisions followed an IOC investigation into allegations of state-backed doping among Russian competitors and sample tampering by laboratory and security officials at Sochi.”The main thing is to persistently and energetically take all possible measures to protect our legitimate interests and the legitimate interests of our athletes together with international sports organisations,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters at a conference call.”One can hardly steal a victory that has already been won, especially a victory that will forever stay with our hero athletes,” he said.Russia was first in the medal table at the end of the Games but the IOC decisions bring down their number of gold medals to nine, behind Canada and Norway.The bans have so far targeted athletes in four disciplines: cross-country skiing, skeleton, bobsleigh and speed skating.Those banned and stripped of their medals include double gold medallist Alexander Zubkov, who also serves as president of Russia’s bobsleigh federation, and cross country skier Alexander Legkov, who won gold in the 50km freestyle and a silver medal in the 4x10km relay event.Peskov did not spell out what measures Russia could take. But the federations governing these sports in Russia have said they will seek to contest the IOC’s decisions at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).advertisementDespite calls to cooperate with international bodies to help rid Russia of doping, the Russian authorities have never acknowledged any state role in the scandal.The IOC is re-testing all Russian athletes’ samples from the 2014 Games following revelations by Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Moscow’s discredited anti-doping laboratory, of a scheme to cover up home competitors’ positive samples.The Sochi scandal is part of a broader doping affair that has led to the suspension of Russia’s anti-doping agency RUSADA, its athletics federation and Paralympic Committee.The IOC has said it would decide during its executive board meeting next month on the participation of Russian competitors at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February.