Temple University academic advisor Marguerite Jackson became the star witness for Bill Cosby after a random encounter on a cruise ship. Jackson, who was traveling with her sister and cousin in November 2016, was at the bar when a comedian who had just been onstage offered to buy her a drink. She said he added, “I won’t put anything in it.”
“Then we got into this whole conversation about Bill Cosby, and I told him I worked at Temple and I knew Andrea Constand and she said it didn’t happen,” Jackson testified today in Cosby’s sexual assault retrial. “He said, ‘I’ll put you in touch with the Cosby team.’ ”
Jackson this afternoon shared with jurors at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, PA the story of how she claims Constand told her during a 2004 road trip with the Temple basketball team that the assault “didn’t happen,” while the prosecution cast doubt on whether she even made that trip. She was the second witness called by the defense, which is aiming to create reasonable doubt for allegations Cosby sexually assaulted then-Temple University employee Constand in early 2004.
Jackson has worked at Temple University for 31 years. From 2002-2006, she worked as an academic advisor with the athletic department and focused much of her time on the women’s basketball team. For two of those years, 2002-2004, her work overlapped with Constand, who was the director of operations for the women’s team.
Jackson told Cosby’s lawyers she went on about a half-dozen road trips with the team and roomed with Constand two or three times. Last week, Constand testified to never rooming with anyone else on road trips and barely knowing Jackson. Another Temple University employee, Pamela Gray-Young, testified early today that Constand would room with other people and generally with academic advisors like Jackson.
On the stand, Jackson said she and Constand were in a hotel room together for a game at Rhode Island University on February 1, 2004, around the same time Constand claims she was sexually assaulted by Cosby. A TV program featured something about a celebrity being sued for assault. Constand told her she’d been assaulted by a public figure, Jackson claimed. She said she followed up with Constand about why she didn’t report it. After saying to Constand that money could be a great motivator for people coming forward with assaults and making false accusations, she said she asked her another time if it really happened. This time, Constand denied it.
“She said, ‘No, I could say it did,’” Jackson testified. “‘I could go get money and go back to school and open a business.’”
Assistant district attorney Stewart Ryan questioned her believability by introducing records that showed Jackson had filed expenses for travel with the basketball team in 2003 but not in 2004, when she said Constand told her of her plan. Jackson said she had no recollection of filing expenses with Temple ever.
Jackson was not allowed to testify during Cosby’s first trial, but she gave a statement to his previous counsel, led by attorney Brian McMonagle, in late 2016. She gave another to Cosby’s current defense team earlier this year.
On cross-examination, Ryan tried to pick out inconsistencies between the statements. In the first statement, Jackson said nothing about telling Constand money was a “great motivator” but did in the second statement. Ryan punctuated the difference by asking her whether Cosby’s lawyers had told her their strategy was portraying Constand as someone after “money, money, money.”
Jackson said since coming forward with her story she’s dealt with media visiting her house and disturbing her family.
“With my name all over the press,” she said, “it’s a little unnerving.”
Ryan also asked Jackson about the first time her story had been told publicly and brought up a press conference Cosby publicist Andrew Wyatt held on the courthouse steps during Cosby’s first trial and talked about Jackson. The presser happened to be a few weeks before Jackson launched a music promotion business.
“Did the public have your statement before Wyatt read it on the courthouse steps?” Ryan asked.
“I don’t think so,” Jackson replied.