NORRISTOWN, Pennsylvania — The Bill Cosby sexual assault trial was turned on its head Tuesday as the prosecution’s star witness, Andrea Constand, took the stand and told jurors that the comedian left her humiliated and confused.
Constand, the former Temple University employee, testified that in 2004, Cosby gave her three blue pills that she thought were herbal, leaving her dazed, powerless and vulnerable as he laid her down and assaulted her.
“Put them down. They’re your friends, they’ll take the edge off,” Cosby told Constand, she said during lengthy testimony that’s scheduled to continue Wednesday. “I said, ‘I trust you.’ I took the pills and I swallowed the pills down.”
Her speech became slurred and she became weak, so Cosby moved her to the couch, eventually groping her breasts and digitally penetrating her, she said.
He also placed her hand on his penis and “moved it back and forth,” Constand said.
As Constand testified, Cosby placed his hands over his face and shook his head.
On cross-examination, Cosby attorney Angela Agrusa pointed out several inconsistencies in Constand’s original police report and her deposition that she gave for a civil suit she filed against the comedian.
She also got Constand to admit that for more than an hour after first disclosing the incident to her mother, she had surfed the internet looking for civil lawyers and contacted two in the Philadelphia area.
Perhaps most importantly, Constand was forced to admit that she had been untruthful with Canadian investigators, one of whom was her brother-in-law who also testified Tuesday.
Agrusa tore through the police report filed by Canadian authorities, showing that there were stark differences in when and how Constand said she first met Cosby, including Constand first telling investigators in 2005 that she had known Cosby for only six months despite having met and developed a close friendship with him in the fall of 2002.
Constand also told Canadian authorities that her contact with Cosby after the alleged January 2004 assault was rare and brief. Agrusa then showed jurors phone records that revealed Constand had been in almost regular contact with Cosby.
Constand had also told police she had never been alone with Cosby before the alleged incident, a point Agrusa hit on repeatedly during the cross-examination.
“In fact, you had been alone with Mr. Cosby,” Agrusa said, to which Constand said the attorney was correct.
Earlier in her testimony, Constand described what seemed to be a classic courtship with the married Cosby. She said they’d get together and talk about her life and her career and she even sought him out to talk about her decision to quit as head of basketball operations for the Temple University women’s basketball team.
“I think Mr. Cosby just generally wanted to get to know me,” Constand said, noting that over time the questions got more personal but it didn’t raise any alarms even though Cosby had made two previous attempts to have sex with her.
“That’s not what I came here for,” she said in describing one incident in which she rebuffed his advances.
She testified about numerous dinners that Cosby had invited her to in an attempt to introduce her to individuals who could help her with her desire to become a sports broadcaster.
She’d travel to New York to attend a dinner and a jazz show with Cosby, Constand testified, and to the Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Connecticut to see Cosby perform and meet for dinner in his hotel room.
Although the casino’s general manager joined them for dinner, Constand admitted she returned alone to the room after Cosby called to offer her some baked goods.
“He lay on the bed,” she said of her return to the room. “I didn’t know what was going on, thought maybe he was tired … and he put his leg on my thigh but I said it was late and I had to leave, so I left.”
Earlier, the prosecution called two witnesses to testify in support of Kelly Johnson, a woman who said Monday that Cosby had also drugged and sexually assaulted her in 1996.
One of the witnesses was Johnson’s mother and the other was a lawyer who once represented her, and both said Ms. Johnson had described an attack to them.
Because the lawyer couldn’t remember all of his notes, Cosby’s team asked for a mistrial but the judge refused the request.
Johnson said Cosby had given her a large white pill and sexually assaulted her.
Cosby’s lead attorney Brian McMonagle argued that despite claiming the incident happened 21 years ago, she didn’t come forward until 2015 and, in 1996, Johnson had complained to human resources at the William Morris agency and later filed a workers’ compensation claim but had never made any accusations against Cosby.
“When she said no, [Cosby] just said OK,” McMonagle said.