NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — As prosecutors wound down their case, jurors at Bill Cosby’s sexual assault retrial Wednesday heard the comedian’s explosive testimony about giving quaaludes to women before sex — an old admission that’s taken on new significance after a half-dozen women testified that he drugged and violated them.
A police detective read a transcript of the 2005 testimony as prosecutors saved for the very end of their case Cosby’s own words about using the 1970s party drug “the same as a person would say, ‘Have a drink.'”
Cosby, now 80, is being retried on charges he drugged and molested chief accuser Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. He says their encounter was consensual.
The defense was expected to begin its case Wednesday afternoon. Cosby’s lawyer told the jury in his opening statement last week that Constand was a “con artist” who leveled false allegations of sexual assault in hopes of getting a financial windfall from the comedian.
Cosby sat for a deposition conducted in 2005 and 2006 after Constand filed suit against him, eventually settling the case for nearly $3.4 million. The deposition was hidden from public view until 2015, when The Associated Press petitioned to have it unsealed, leading prosecutors to reopen the criminal case.
Jurors at Cosby’s first trial last year also heard excerpts from the deposition but deadlocked on sexual assault charges.
In a transcript read to the jury Wednesday, the “Cosby Show” star said he obtained seven prescriptions for quaaludes from his doctor in Los Angeles in the 1970s, ostensibly for a sore back, but added he didn’t use them himself because they made him tired.
“Quaaludes happen to be the drug that kids, young people were using to party with, and there were times when I wanted to have them just in case,” Cosby testified, according to the transcript.
The sedative was banned in the U.S. in 1982, the same year one of the women who testified, Janice Baker-Kinney, alleges Cosby knocked her out with pills she suspected to be quaaludes and then raped her.
Cosby’s lawyers sought Wednesday to minimize the importance of his quaaludes testimony. Defense attorney Kathleen Bliss underscored that most of that testimony pertained to the 1970s, and a police detective acknowledged during cross-examination that authorities didn’t find quaaludes in a search of Cosby’s home after Constand went to police.
Prosecutors also unleashed other passages from Cosby’s graphic deposition, including his accounts of purported sexual encounters with Constand and how he apologized to her mother a year later for being “a dirty old man with a young girl.”
They used another of Cosby’s statements, one he gave to police in 2005, to show how he described the encounter for which he is facing aggravated indecent assault charges that could send him to prison for years.
Cosby said he gave Constand 1½ tablets of the cold and allergy medicine Benadryl to help her relax, then fondled her breasts and genitals, according to a police transcript that jurors heard Tuesday.
Cosby said Constand never told him to stop. He has maintained that the encounter was consensual.
“We are petting. I enjoyed it,” the Cosby said, according to the transcript. “And then I stopped, and I went up to bed. We stopped, and then we talked.”
Constand says Cosby knocked her out with the pills and then sexually assaulted her, penetrating her with his fingers and guiding her hand to his penis. Cosby told police he didn’t remember whether Constand touched his genitals.
Before jurors began hearing Cosby’s testimony about quaaludes, prosecutors on Wednesday called to the witness stand Judith Regan, who published Cosby accuser Janice Dickinson’s memoir.
Regan testified the model told her she was drugged and raped by Cosby and was insistent that the story be included in her 2002 memoir, “No Lifeguard on Duty.” She told jurors that Dickinson was upset the company’s legal department wouldn’t let them print such an explosive story without a corroborating witness.
Dickinson testified last week that Cosby raped her at a Lake Tahoe, Nevada hotel in 1982 while she was immobilized after taking a blue pill he claimed would help her with menstrual cramps.
The book contained a highly sanitized version of the encounter, with no sex at all.
Regan testified that she believed Dickinson’s allegations were credible, but that her account was “modified to deal with this issue without any legal problems.”
Regan said in a sworn statement to prosecutors that she felt she had a duty to publish the truth. On the stand, she explained: “The truth in this case, with this particular incident, was something that we required her to remove from the book.”
The Associated Press doesn’t typically identify people who say they’re victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.
Follow Mike Sisak at https://twitter.com/mikesisak.
For more coverage visit https://www.apnews.com/tag/CosbyonTrial.