'He's a sexually violent predator who was let out of jail': Bill Cosby accuser slams his co-star Phylicia Rashad for supporting him and not survivors and says celebration of his release outside his home was 'disgusting'

Bill Cosby’s accuser on Tuesday slammed the ‘flawed’ American criminal justice system for freeing a ‘sexually violent predator’ and also hit out at the actor’s longtime co-star Phylicia Rashad for ‘not supporting survivors.’

Andrea Constand is the 48-year-old Canadian basketball coach who has accused Cosby of drugging her and sexually assaulting her when she was an employee at Temple University in 2004.

She told NBC’s TODAY on Tuesday that Cosby’s celebration outside his home after his unexpected release from state prison was ‘disgusting.’ More of her interview is scheduled to air on NBC Nightly News on Tuesday at 6:30pm ET.

Constand gave steady, unemotional testimony at both his first trial in 2017, which ended in a deadlock, and a second trial in 2018, when the jury convicted Cosby of drugging and violating her in 2004.

In September 2018, Cosby was sentenced to between three and 10 years in a state prison just outside Philadelphia.

Andrea Constand (above) is the 48-year-old Canadian basketball coach who has accused Bill Cosby of drugging her and sexually assaulting her when she was an employee at Temple University in 2004. She is seen above during an interview with NBC's TODAY on Tuesday

Andrea Constand is the 48-year-old Canadian basketball coach who has accused Bill Cosby of drugging her and sexually assaulting her when she was an employee at Temple University in 2004. She is seen above during an interview with NBC's TODAY on Tuesday

She told NBC’s TODAY on Tuesday that Cosby’s celebration outside his home after his unexpected release from state prison on June 30 (above) was ‘disgusting.’ Cosby is seen second from left

She told NBC’s TODAY on Tuesday that Cosby’s celebration outside his home after his unexpected release from state prison on June 30 was ‘disgusting.’ Cosby is seen second from left

Constand also hit out at the actor’s longtime co-star Phylicia Rashad for ‘not supporting survivors.’  Rashad is pictured above in September 2019

Constand also hit out at the actor’s longtime co-star Phylicia Rashad for ‘not supporting survivors.’  Rashad is pictured above in September 2019

¿Bill Cosby walks free. But it doesn't change the fact that my testimony was believed.¿

Bill Cosby accuser Andrea Constand speaks exclusively to @tvkatesnow about Cosby's release from prison. pic.twitter.com/90t863iMzl



Earlier this year, however, the Cosby Show star was freed by the high court in Pennsylvania on the grounds that a former prosecutor promised him that he wouldn't be charged in 2005.

That promise is what led Cosby to speak openly about his relationship with Constand for a civil suit, whose depositions were later used by another prosecutor to file criminal charges.

Constand on Tuesday told TODAY that she was ‘shocked’ and ‘disappointed’ at the decision to free Cosby.

‘How can a district attorney enforce a decision on a backroom handshake?’ Constand asked rhetorically.

‘How can you give any credibility to that?’

She said that the criminal justice system in the United States was ‘flawed’, though she added that she had no regrets about coming forward and accusing the once-beloved Cosby of sexual assault.

Rahsad sent this tweet after Cosby was released on June 30 - and condemnation soon followed

Rahsad sent this tweet after Cosby was released on June 30 - and condemnation soon followed 

Rashad apologized for her earlier Bill Cosby tweet in letter to Howard University families promising to become a 'stronger ally'

Rashad apologized for her earlier Bill Cosby tweet in letter to Howard University families promising to become a 'stronger ally'

Rashad deleted the offending tweet, and issued this apology before writing a letter to Howard University where she is Dean of the College of Fine Arts

Rashad deleted the offending tweet, and issued this apology before writing a letter to Howard University where she is Dean of the College of Fine Arts

Howard also shared a statement disavowing its dean's words - but did not say if she would be disciplined

Howard also shared a statement disavowing its dean's words - but did not say if she would be disciplined 

‘I’ve come way too far to go back to that place to wonder whether it’s all worth it, to have regrets,’ she said.

‘It was worth it.’

Constand said it was ‘worth it because I didn’t feel alone.’

‘I had a whole community, a whole army of women and other survivors, strangers, family, friends who were right there with me,’ she said.

Constand added: ‘Bill Cosby walks free but it doesn’t change the fact that my testimony was believed.’

She said she wrote a memoir because ‘I had a story to tell, but also it was what was going to bring me true healing.’

Constand says she has found peace after relocating to a new home in the countryside outside of Toronto.

While she has largely stayed away from news media reports about Cosby, she could not avoid seeing the convicted assailant raise his fists in triumph as he celebrated his release from prison outside his home.

When asked how it felt to watch Cosby celebrate, Constand replied: ‘Disgusting.’

She added that it ‘didn’t surprise me given the level of the arrogance and having no remorse during the time he was incarcerated - absolutely zero remorse - for what he did to me.’

When asked to respond to Cosby’s insistence that he was innocent, Constand said: ‘He’s a sexually violent predator who basically was let out of jail.’

After his release from prison, Cosby has said that he plans to resume touring again. His accuser hopes that he is denied a chance to make light of sexual assault.

‘I don’t really care, but anybody that gives him a platform to speak, to joke...rape is not a joke,’ Constand said.

She was then asked about Rashad, Cosby’s longtime co-star and on-screen wife from The Cosby Show, tweeting her support for the actor.

‘It disappointing to hear somebody who is in such a powerful position herself not to support survivors,’ Constand said of Rashad.

Bill Cosby, pictured in his 2018 booking photoAndrea Constand is seen in September 2018, at a press conference after Cosby's conviction

Constand , who accused Cosby of a 2004 sexual assault, has written a memoir about the encounter and subsequent criminal case

Constand is seen in April 2018 hugging her supporters outside the Norristown, Pennsylvania courtroom

Constand is seen in April 2018 hugging her supporters outside the Norristown, Pennsylvania courtroom

Cosby is pictured returning home in June after his conviction was overturned

Cosby is pictured returning home in June after his conviction was overturned 

On June 30, after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered Cosby freed from prison, Rashad tweeted a photo of her former co-star with the caption: ‘FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted - a miscarriage of justice is corrected!’

The tweet sparked widespread outrage online. It also prompted students to call for Rashad to be fired from her position as a dean at Howard University, the historically black college in Washington, DC.

Amid the backlash, Rashad issued an apology.

'I am sorry. I intend to earn your trust and your forgiveness,' Rashad wrote.

'My remarks were in no way directed towards survivors of sexual assault. I vehemently oppose sexual violence and find no excuse for such behavior.'

‘Good,’ Constand told NBC’s TODAY in response to Rashad’s apology.

‘I’m really happy to hear that.’

When asked if she would be willing to speak to Rashad directly, Constand said: ‘Sure. Yeah, why not?’

Constand said she wants to reassure survivors of sexual assault that the Cosby case should not prevent them from coming foward.

‘As I sit here today, I want to send a message to not let this deter you from coming forward from getting the peace and the healing and closure that you need,’ she said.

Constand is now the president and executive director of Hope Healing and Transformation, a Canada-based organization that offers a ‘wide spectrum of healing modalities to develop a holistic’ program to help sexual assault survivors.

‘I will fight,’ Constand said.

‘I will be a voice for the change that is needed.

‘Whatever country, state, wherever I’m needed, I will be in service there to fight.’

On Monday, Constand told The New York Times, in an interview to promote her new memoir, that she was aghast when she was told that Cosby's conviction was reversed.

'I had a lump in my throat,' she said. 

'I really felt they were setting a predator loose and that made me sick.'  

Cosby, after spending nearly three years in prison, walked free in June when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his 2018 conviction - a conviction secured after two trials, on charges filed by Constand, a Canadian former basketball coach at Temple University in Philadelphia. 

The court found that Cosby relied on a written promise from a district attorney that he would never be charged if he gave incriminating testimony in Constand's civil lawsuit - only to have it later used against him in two criminal trials.

That civil suit saw Cosby pay Constand $3.8 million.  

Prosecutors in suburban Philadelphia must decide this month whether to appeal the decision to the US Supreme Court. 

Cosby recently turned 84, and the statute of limitations has expired for all other accusers - although he faces another civil suit, relating to a 1974 allegation.

Constand began writing her memoir, which is published on Tuesday, to deal with the lasting trauma from the 2004 encounter. She fell ill with COVID while writing it, and likened the sickness to having an elephant sat on her chest. 

'The healer in me knew I had to dive back into everything again and really try to remember and it was really chilling for me at times,' she told the paper. 

'Trauma is not wired for you to remember. It's wired for you to forget.' 

Constand, who lives quietly north of Toronto and runs a massage therapy business, said that she wanted to share her lessons with others.

'I thought it was important to write the story for other survivors who had stories, too,' she said. 

'I wanted to be a symbol of hope to them. That their stories matter. And their stories are important.'

Bill Cosby, released from prison in June, aged 84, is now attempting to rebuild his reputation. He is shown during The Cosby Show era, as Dr Heathcliff Huxtable

Bill Cosby, released from prison in June, aged 84, is now attempting to rebuild his reputation. He is shown during The Cosby Show era, as Dr Heathcliff Huxtable

Constand is pictured in 1987, as a basketball player in Toronto - where she is from, and now lives

Constand is pictured in 1987, as a basketball player in Toronto - where she is from, and now lives

Constand said that she is saddened that a 'predator' has been freed from prison

Constand said that she is saddened that a 'predator' has been freed from prison 

She admitted that, when she was told of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision, she was angered that he would be back on the streets.

She said she received phone calls and messages from other women who had accused Cosby, explaining: 'They were devastated, they were so angry.'

But Constand said she had to be philosophical.

'After a few deep breaths, I just felt this is not my problem,' she said. 

'Now it made me feel the shame is on the Supreme Court. It's not on me anymore.'

She added: 'I hope it doesn't deter anybody. 

'I hope people will still find their voices. I hope that they don't look at his freedom as a reason not to come forward. Quite the contrary, I hope they feel if Andrea can do it, I can do it.

'There were so many victories along the way. 

'Society paid attention.' 

Constand has now decided to tell her story in a memoir out Tuesday called 'The Moment.'

'Now that I have weathered yet another strange turn in this long saga, I realize that I cannot let reversals like the Supreme Court decision defeat me,' she writes, of the verdict being overturned. 

'Life is unpredictable. Much is beyond our control. 

'In the end, happiness is all that matters and I am determined to live a happy, purposeful life.'

She and Cosby first crossed paths at Temple University in Philadelphia, where Constand, who played professional basketball in Europe, worked for the women's basketball team and he was a trustee and famed alumnus.

In a deposition, Cosby said he fell in love with Constand the moment he first saw her across the gym. Constand was half his age and dated women.

'I knew who he was, of course, but I had never watched The Cosby Show and had no real idea how big a celebrity he was,' she writes.

She took note, though, of the attention he commanded on campus: 'His calls had to be returned immediately, his interest in our new locker room was promptly met with an offer to tour the facility.'

She nonetheless found him to be 'down-to-earth and affable.'

She recounts the friendship and mentorship that followed, along with what she acknowledges were missed warning signs on her part, when Cosby made advances that his lawyers would later called evidence of an ongoing, consensual relationship.

Their talks included a shared interest in health and holistic medicine, which she said led her to take the pills he offered one night in January 2004, presuming they were herbal products.

She soon found her body going numb.

'My inability to control my own body was utterly terrifying. At six feet, I'm the opposite of petite. ... I had never before, even as a child, felt physically intimidated by anyone or anything. I was an athlete,' she writes. 

'But now I had no control over my limbs.'

Constand endured a 2017 trial, which ended in deadlock, and a 2018 retrial, which saw him eventually convicted

Constand endured a 2017 trial, which ended in deadlock, and a 2018 retrial, which saw him eventually convicted

Constand gave steady, unemotional testimony at both his first trial in 2017, which ended in a deadlock, and a second trial in 2018, when the jury convicted Cosby of drugging and violating her.

That conviction was secured after five other women were called by prosecutors to share similar stories of alleged druggings and sex attacks by Cosby. He denied their claims.  

She refused to be rattled, even under a barrage of hostile questioning from the defense.

And she remained silent outside the courtroom, even as she emerged triumphant on April 26, 2018, when Cosby was convicted and a throng of cameras clicked at her.

But she offers a glimpse of her emotions in describing a secret meeting with jurors after Cosby's sentencing that fall.

'As we hugged, I heard the same words over and over: 'We always believed you, Andrea.' 

'Of course their verdict told me they had come to the conclusion that my testimony was credible. 

'But there was something about hearing the words ... that knocked the wind out of me,' she writes.

Constand had never wavered in 2015 when asked to put her life on hold for a potential trial when Cosby's deposition testimony became public after a court fight by The Associated Press. 

And she agreed to do it again after the initial mistrial.  

As she waited for the jury decision in 2018, she writes: 'The outcome of the trial seemed strangely unimportant. 

'It was as if the world had again shifted in some much more significant way.'

THE 'DEAL' THAT SET COSBY FREE

Former Montgomery County DA Bruce Castor

Former Montgomery County DA Bruce Castor

The Supreme Court did not rule on whether or not the testimony of five women who were 'bad act' witnesses contributed to Cosby's fate, or whether or not their testimony was fair. Instead, they looked only at the comment made by Montgomery County Prosecutor Bruce Castor, and found that it was the reason Cosby should go free. 

In 2005, Cosby had been reported to Castor's office by the police in Pennsylvania after Andrea Constand reported the alleged assault. 

It became public knowledge. 

After pursuing an investigation, Castor's office released a press release saying he would not be charging Cosby because of a lack of evidence. 

That press release is the 'deal' Cosby thinks he made. There was no formal definition in it about how long it would last or if future prosecutors were bound by it. 

This is part of the release:

'Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor, Jr. has announced that a joint investigation... into allegations against actor and comic Bill Cosby is concluded. 

This is the 2005 release by Castor's office which Cosby thought was an 'immunity deal'

This is the 2005 release by Castor's office which Cosby thought was an 'immunity deal'

'The detectives could find no instance in Mr. Cosby’s past where anyone complained to law enforcement of conduct, which would constitute a criminal offense. 

'After reviewing the above and consulting with County and Cheltenham detectives, the District Attorney finds insufficient, credible, and admissible evidence exists upon which any charge against Mr. Cosby could be sustained beyond a reasonable doubt.

'In making this finding, the District Attorney has analyzed the facts in relation to the elements of any applicable offenses, including whether Mr. Cosby possessed the requisite criminal intent.  

'After this analysis, the District Attorney concludes that a conviction under the circumstances of this case would be unattainable. 

'As such, District Attorney Castor declines to authorize the filing of criminal charges in connection with this matter. Because a civil action with a much lower standard for proof is possible, the District Attorney renders no opinion concerning the credibility of any party involved so as to not contribute to the publicity and taint prospective jurors. 

'The District Attorney does not intend to expound publicly on the details of his decision for fear that his opinions and analysis might be given undue weight by jurors in any contemplated civil action. District Attorney Castor cautions all parties to this matter that he will reconsider this decision should the need arise. 

'Much exists in this investigation that could be used (by others) to portray persons on both sides of the issue in a less than flattering light. The District Attorney encourages the parties to resolve their dispute from this point forward with a minimum of rhetoric. 

'After reviewing the above and consulting with County and Cheltenham detectives, the District Attorney finds insufficient, credible, and admissible evidence exists upon which any charge against Mr. Cosby could be sustained beyond a reasonable doubt.' 

In emails years later, Castor said that he made the deal with Cosby to get Constand a settlement. 

In one, which is included in the Supreme Court decision, he says: 'The attached is the written determination that we would not prosecute Cosby. That was what the lawyers for wanted and I agreed. 

'The reason I agreed and the plaintiff’s lawyers wanted it in writing is so that Cosby could not take the 5th Amendment to avoid being deposed or testifying. A sound strategy to employ.'  

The Supreme Court ruled that the prosecutor - far from trying to let Cosby off the hook - performed a legal 'bait and switch' and lulled him into making incriminating statements. 

'The moment that Cosby was charged criminally, he was harmed: all that he had forfeited earlier, and the consequences of that forfeiture in the civil case, were for naught. This was, as the CDO itself characterizes it, an unconstitutional 'coercive bait-and-switch'. 

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THE 'DEAL' THAT SET COSBY FREE

Former Montgomery County DA Bruce Castor

Former Montgomery County DA Bruce Castor

The Supreme Court did not rule on whether or not the testimony of five women who were 'bad act' witnesses contributed to Cosby's fate, or whether or not their testimony was fair. Instead, they looked only at the comment made by Montgomery County Prosecutor Bruce Castor, and found that it was the reason Cosby should go free. 

In 2005, Cosby had been reported to Castor's office by the police in Pennsylvania after Andrea Constand reported the alleged assault. 

It became public knowledge. 

After pursuing an investigation, Castor's office released a press release saying he would not be charging Cosby because of a lack of evidence. 

That press release is the 'deal' Cosby thinks he made. There was no formal definition in it about how long it would last or if future prosecutors were bound by it. 

This is part of the release:

'Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor, Jr. has announced that a joint investigation... into allegations against actor and comic Bill Cosby is concluded. 

This is the 2005 release by Castor's office which Cosby thought was an 'immunity deal'

This is the 2005 release by Castor's office which Cosby thought was an 'immunity deal'

'The detectives could find no instance in Mr. Cosby’s past where anyone complained to law enforcement of conduct, which would constitute a criminal offense. 

'After reviewing the above and consulting with County and Cheltenham detectives, the District Attorney finds insufficient, credible, and admissible evidence exists upon which any charge against Mr. Cosby could be sustained beyond a reasonable doubt.

'In making this finding, the District Attorney has analyzed the facts in relation to the elements of any applicable offenses, including whether Mr. Cosby possessed the requisite criminal intent.  

'After this analysis, the District Attorney concludes that a conviction under the circumstances of this case would be unattainable. 

'As such, District Attorney Castor declines to authorize the filing of criminal charges in connection with this matter. Because a civil action with a much lower standard for proof is possible, the District Attorney renders no opinion concerning the credibility of any party involved so as to not contribute to the publicity and taint prospective jurors. 

'The District Attorney does not intend to expound publicly on the details of his decision for fear that his opinions and analysis might be given undue weight by jurors in any contemplated civil action. District Attorney Castor cautions all parties to this matter that he will reconsider this decision should the need arise. 

'Much exists in this investigation that could be used (by others) to portray persons on both sides of the issue in a less than flattering light. The District Attorney encourages the parties to resolve their dispute from this point forward with a minimum of rhetoric. 

'After reviewing the above and consulting with County and Cheltenham detectives, the District Attorney finds insufficient, credible, and admissible evidence exists upon which any charge against Mr. Cosby could be sustained beyond a reasonable doubt.' 

In emails years later, Castor said that he made the deal with Cosby to get Constand a settlement. 

In one, which is included in the Supreme Court decision, he says: 'The attached is the written determination that we would not prosecute Cosby. That was what the lawyers for wanted and I agreed. 

'The reason I agreed and the plaintiff’s lawyers wanted it in writing is so that Cosby could not take the 5th Amendment to avoid being deposed or testifying. A sound strategy to employ.'  

The Supreme Court ruled that the prosecutor - far from trying to let Cosby off the hook - performed a legal 'bait and switch' and lulled him into making incriminating statements. 

'The moment that Cosby was charged criminally, he was harmed: all that he had forfeited earlier, and the consequences of that forfeiture in the civil case, were for naught. This was, as the CDO itself characterizes it, an unconstitutional 'coercive bait-and-switch'.