The sexual assault trial against legendary comedian Bill Cosby has officially started. The 79-year-old has been charged with drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand over a decade ago. Constand is a former Temple University employee.
The trial started June 5, and although multiple women have accused Cosby of sexual assault, Constand’s is the only one that’s brought criminal charges against him. He was charged with three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault.
Cosby is being tried by a number of prosecutors in Norristown, Pennsylvania.
One of them is named Kristen Gibbons-Feden, who’s an assistant district attorney. A blog wrote in 2016 that Feden is “known for being tough in court and yet many consider her to be one of the most likable prosecutors to grace the halls of the courthouse.” It added that she always has a smile on her face and her “laugh is infectious.”
Here’s what you need to know about her:
1. Feden Opened Up the Cosby Trial With a Statement
Cosby’s trial, which is closed to cameras, opened up June 5 with opening remarks from Feden and the defense.
According to The Washington Times, Feden used the legendary comedian’s own words against him in the statement. She cited a disposition that he gave in a 2005 lawsuit filed by Constand. In it, he acknowledged that he gave her pills and penetrated her with his fingers as she laid on his couch inside of his home in the suburbs of Philadelphia in 2004.
Feden alleged that Constand, at that moment in time because of the pills he gave her, “couldn’t say no.”
2. Feden Has Worked With Montgomery County for 5 Years
After obtaining her Juris Doctor degree, Feden, formerly Kristen Gibbons prior to marriage, joined the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office.
Prior to landing a job as the assistant district attorney, she worked as a law clerk for Montgomery County Judge Garrett D. Page.
Feden currently serves as the captain of the office’s domestic violence unit. But she doesn’t only try cases that are in that field, she’s also prosecuted many types of criminal cases that have ranged from homicide to child pornography to elder financial exploitation, The Bucks County Courier Times wrote.
Feden was named by Philadelphia’s Business Journal in May 2016 as one of its “40 Under 40 Living the Dream.”
She said of the honor: “It definitely caught me off guard. I was very surprised but I was ecstatic when I received it. It was one of the highest honors I’ve received.”
Feden was featured on the cover of the publication her co-workers said the honor was “extremely well-deserved.”
3. She Once Prosecuted a Man Accused of Killing a Grandma & Her Infant Granddaughter
Prior to the Cosby trial, one the staple cases that Feden tried was in 2014 against convicted murderer Raghunandan Yandamuri.
She was one of the prosecutors in the case, in which Yandamuri was accused of murdering a grandmother and her granddaughter in 2012. Yandamuri, who was 28-years old at the time, was found guilty of killing 10-month-old Saanvi Venna and her 61-year-old grandmother, Styavathi Venna.
Feden and the other prosecutors had argued that Yandamuri planned to kidnap Saanvi for ransom so that he could fund his gambling habits. But when he tried to do so, things didn’t go according to plan. He killed the two and later confessed doing so to police.
Yandamuri represented himself at the trial, and ABC 6 reported that he never showed much emotion during the trial. He had argued during his testimony that he was coerced into committing the murders by two strangers.
“We’ve gotten one step closer in the closure of this for the Venna family,” first assistant district attorney Kevin Steele, who’s now the DA, said to the news outlet. “It’s been a long struggle for them — two years.”
Yandamuri was sentenced to the death penalty in 2015 and had tried to appeal the sentence. However, the death sentence was upheld by a high court in Pennsylvania in April 2017.
4. Feden Graduated From Lafayette College
Feden earned her bachelor’s degree from Lafayette College in New York City in 2004.
According to an alumni magazine, she graduated with a degree in neuroscience from the school. She and Kimberly Pollard once shadowed Adam Golden, who was a supervising investigative attorney for New York City’s Office of Investigations and Discipline at the time.
By doing so, the pair learned how Golden investigated “criminal and administrative misconduct involving agency employees and individuals licensed by the agency.”
“I saw different aspects of safety and how corruption can result in something catastrophic,” Feden said in 2003. “Speaking with Adam and others about their career encouraged me to go to law school.”
5. Feden Got Her Law Degree From Temple University & Has Been Married for 7 Years
After shadowing Golden and earning her bachelor’s degree, her eyes were opened to the career of law, and she pursued those dreams.
Feden went on to earn her law degree from Temple University Beasley School of Law. She graduated in 2009 from the school.
During her time studying there, Kristen and other students took part in a trial team. One of their proudest achievements was winning the inaugural Capitol City Challenge Tournament, which was hosted by American University’s Washington College of Law.
According to a publication from Lafayette College, Kristen got married to Nicholas Feden on December 19, 2010. After marriage, the “happy couple embarked on a cruise to the Bahamas.”
The couple have two young boys, named Nicholas Jr. and Ethan, who she calls her “beautiful angels.”