Bill Cosby is one of the world’s most famous celebrities. Andrea Constand is a Canadian massage therapist who has actively avoided the spotlight. This week, in a suburban Philadelphia courtroom it will be his word against hers, with a jury of seven men and five women left to decide which is more believable, reports Philly.com. Cosby’s sexual assault trial will draw the eyes of the world to Norristown, Pa. Despite months of court filings, press coverage and debate chronicling all contours of the case, it is easy to forget that the woman at its center, Constand, has never spoken publicly about the night in 2004 when she says Cosby drugged and assaulted her.
His lawyers have been preparing for this moment, eager to challenge what they see as inconsistencies and flaws in her story, and prevent a guilty verdict that could mean as much as a decade in prison for the 79-year-old entertainer. Friends characterize Constand, 44, the former college basketball standout from Toronto, as determined and a leader. Her Twitter feed is filled with inspirational messages in support of sexual-assault victims. Expected to last two weeks, the trial will culminate a two-year stretch that has seen Cosby stripped of countless honors, shunned by studios and Hollywood friends, and targeted by allegations from more than 60 women who have accused him of sexual misconduct dating back decades. Constand’s allegations have provoked a national conversation about sexual consent, and inspired several states to extend statutes of limitations for sex crimes.