Jurors hear Bill Cosby’s side from 2005 deposition
Jurors in Bill Cosby’s indecent assault trial on Tuesday heard the defendant’s own account of what happened between him and accuser Andrea Constand, in the form of his 13 year-old testimony.
Constand, a former Temple University employee alleges that she considered the comedian a mentor and said he gained her trust before allegedly sexually assaulting her in 2004.
Cosby did not testify in his first trial that ended in a hung jury, and is unlikely to testify in this trial, so a deposition taken when she sued him a year after the alleged assault may be his only sworn explanation of what happened.
Montgomery County, Pennsylvania District Attorney Kevin Steele and county detective James Reape each read parts of the deposition to the jury.
Cosby, 80, has said the sexual encounter with Constand was consensual, and has pleaded not guilty to three charges of aggravated indecent assault.
Cosby said he developed a romantic interest in Constand when he first met her and gave her his local phone number, according to the excerpts that were read.
Months later, as Constand visited his home, he says he gave her three halves of Benadryl pills, but didn’t tell her what they were.
“I have three friends for you to make you relax,” Cosby recounts in the deposition.
When asked why he called the pills “friends,” Cosby said, “because they might take some of the stress and tension away.”
A short time later, he says he initiated a sexual encounter by rubbing her stomach.
“I’m sitting with her and rubbing the middle, which is skin now, and without asking I’m saying can I go further,” he said in the deposition. “I’m giving Andrea a time to say yes or no while I’m right there in the question zone.”
Cosby said he digitally penetrated Constand, and she rubbed his private area.
“I feel that Andrea had a glow about our sexual moment,” Cosby said. “I put my mouth to Andrea’s breast and suck about four seconds.”
Cosby said she then told him to stop, according to the deposition.
“She doesn’t walk out with an attitude of a huff,” Cosby said.
“You are telling us that she had permitted you to put her hand inside her vagina, but she didn’t want you to suck her breast,” Steele said quoting the deposition.
“Yes, she said stop and I stopped,” Reape said, repeating Cosby’s words.
Earlier in the day Cheltenham Township Police Sgt. Richard Schaffer testified he interviewed Cosby in 2005, after which Cosby had his driver bring him a bag and provided pills to police.
“He provided four pills to us that day,” the sergeant said.
The pills were pink, he testified, and no blue pills were found when they searched Cosby’s home.
Last week Constand told the jury she was given blue pills.
The jury also heard testimony on Tuesday about statements Constand gave to law enforcement at her home in Canada and in Pennsylvania.
“She was a little bit nervous, a little bit upset, but not overly. I don’t remember her crying or anything like that,” Detective Sgt. David Mason from Ontario’s Durham Regional Police said.
Mason took Constand’s first statement.
“He gave her “3 round blue pills,” Mason recounted from his report. “She did take the pills, she ingested them. She stated that she did feel dizzy.”
“She didn’t recall a lot of details, at that point, but she did say she can remember him laying behind her in a spooning position,” Mason said.
He said: “She remembered being penetrated with something.”
Constand testified in court on Friday that she drank wine and took the three blue pills at Cosby’s urging, then lost consciousness and, sometime later, was “jolted awake” to find the entertainer sexually assaulting her.
“I was weak, I was limp and I couldn’t fight him off,” she said.
Cosby’s defense attorneys on Tuesday raised inconsistencies in Constand’s accounts while cross examining the law enforcement officers, including about how much alcohol she drank, future contact with Cosby, and the date of the alleged assault.
Constand initially told Cheltenham Police the assault was in March.
“I would not call them inconsistent statements. More information came out through us talking to her,” said Schaffer, the Cheltenham sergeant . “She initially provided a date of March 16, but corrected that.”
Detective Reape, who also interviewed Constand, acknowledged to Cosby defense attorney Kathleen Bliss, there were some inconsistencies in Constand’s accounts. But Reape said Cosby’s admissions about what happened between him and Constand minimized their importance.
“The defendant said he was present. The defendant admitted to the contact that had taken place,” Reape said.
Schaffer told the jury there were about 202 phone calls between Constand and Cosby during the 18 months of their relationship.
Constand made about 147 of the calls, including some calls after midnight, he said.
On Valentine’s Day 2004, after Constand said she was assaulted, Constand called Cosby once in the afternoon and again in the evening, Schaffer said.
Prosecutors suggested there was an explanation for the late-night calls, since Constand worked for Temple women’s basketball and often had to update Cosby on games.
Stewart Ryan, an assistant Montgomery County district attorney, asked Schaffer if some of late night phone calls were made on the nights of Temple University basketball games.
Schaffer responded “yes.”
Judge rules Cosby’s Quaalude admission allowed
Earlier Tuesday, Judge Steven O’Neill ruled that testimony from the deposition where Cosby admits that he procured Quaaludes for women he wanted to have sex with can be presented to the jury.
This will be the second time O’Neill has allowed Cosby’s admission — provided the year after the alleged assault, as Constand pursued a civil suit against him — into evidence. O’Neill made a similar ruling in April 2017 ahead of Cosby’s first trial.
In 2005 Constand’s civil attorney Dolores Troiani asked Cosby pointedly, “When you got the Quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these Quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?”
“Yes,” Cosby replied.
“Did you ever give any of those young women the Quaaludes without their knowledge?” Troiani followed up.
Cosby’s attorney objected and told him not to answer the question.
‘Just wanted it over’
On Monday, Constand testified that she agreed to a $3.4 million civil settlement with Cosby — which included no admission of wrongdoing — simply because she was “glad it was over.”
“(I signed it) because it was a very painstaking process for me and my family. It tore my family apart and we just wanted it over,” she said.
Mesereau has attempted to poke holes in her story, arguing that Constand was a “con artist” who obsessed over Cosby’s money and fame.
“Do you agree that on many subjects you have been inconsistent with what you have told police?” Mesereau asked her at one point.
“I believe I have been consistent, but mistaken in some areas,” Constand responded.
Constand is Cosby’s chief accuser in a case that lacks virtually any forensic evidence. Prosecutors in his retrial were allowed to call five other women who claim Cosby also drugged and assaulted them.
Their stories aimed to bolster prosecutors’ argument that Cosby’s alleged attack on Constand wasn’t a singular incident but a “strikingly similar” pattern of misbehavior.
Janice Dickinson, Heidi Thomas, Chelan Lasha, Janice Baker-Kinney and Lise-Lotte Lublin testified last week that Cosby incapacitated them and then assaulted them in separate incidents.
The trial resumes Wednesday.
CORRECTION: This story has been revised to give the correct last name of detective James Reape.