NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Bill Cosby’s chief accuser sent jurors into the weekend with a stark portrait of the night she says the man she viewed as a friend and mentor tricked her into taking a powerful drug and then humiliated her for his own sexual gratification.
Andrea Constand testified Friday that she was visiting the “Cosby Show” star at his suburban Philadelphia mansion in January 2004 when he slipped her three blue pills he called “your friends.”
She thought they were herbal supplements that Cosby said would relieve her stress, but they knocked her out. When she awoke, she said, Cosby was violating her.
“I was weak, I was limp and I just could not fight him off,” she testified.
Constand, who returns to the witness stand Monday for more cross-examination, has given a remarkably consistent account with what she said at Cosby’s first trial last year. That trial ended with a hung jury, setting the stage for the latest courtroom showdown.
This time, prosecutors had the strategic advantage of putting Constand on the witness stand after five other accusers who told jurors that Cosby had used the same tactics on them: preying on people who saw him as a mentor, debilitating them with pills or booze and then violating them when they were unable to fight back.
Prosecutors also made a deliberate effort to preempt the defense’s promises to attack Constand as a “con artist” who framed the comedian in hopes of a big payday. Prosecutor Kristen Feden made sure Constand directly addressed the $3.4 million settlement Cosby paid her in 2006 and make clear that she has nothing to gain financially by now wanting to see Cosby behind bars.
Feden also had Constand tell jurors how anxious she was when first talking to police — a way of explaining some of the inconsistencies that defense lawyer Tom Mesereau explored on cross-examination via a thick binder of police statements and prior testimony she’s given.
So far, Mesereau has highlighted a few differences in what she said in the past and her account on the witness stand, including how often she dined out with Cosby and whether she’d been affectionate toward him before the alleged assault.
And, after telling jurors in his opening statement that Constand had operated a Ponzi scheme while running women’s basketball operations at Temple University, Mesereau’s evidence was a cut-and-paste email that Constand sent on behalf of a friend years ago. She testified she barely remembered it.
Constand told jurors that Cosby, a Temple alum and powerful trustee, offered her the pills and a sip of wine after she said she was “stressed” about telling the coach of her plans to leave to study massage therapy in her native Canada. She said she awoke to find the actor known as “America’s Dad” penetrating her with his fingers, touching her breast and putting her hand on his penis.
The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.
A look at some of what Constand told the jury in June 2017, and what she said Friday:
ON THE PILLS HE GAVE HER
First trial: “He opened his hand and he had three blue pills in his hand. … He said, ‘These will help you relax.’ … I said, ‘What are they? Are they natural? Are they herbal? And he nodded yes with his head, and he said, ‘Put them down. They’re your friends. They’ll take the edge off.'”
Second trial: “Mr. Cosby reached his hand out and had three blue pills. … He said, ‘These are your friends. They’ll help take the edge off.'” Constand asked if she should put them under her tongue, like the herbal remedies they’d discussed. She said Cosby told her, “Put them down. They’ll help you relax. They’ll take the edge off.”
ON THEIR IMPACT
First trial: “After several more minutes of talking, I began to slur my words. … And I said, ‘I see two of you and I’m slurring my words.’ And Mr. Cosby stood up. And I stood up because he said, ‘You probably need to relax.’ And when I stood up, my legs were not strong, and I began to panic a little bit. And Mr. Cosby grabbed — helped me by my arm, and he assisted me over to a couch and said, ‘Just relax. Just lay down here. You need to relax.'”
Second trial: Constand said she started feeling woozy, seeing double and having a hard time trying to stand. “My legs just felt really rubbery.” She said Cosby reached his arm out and walked her to a sofa. He put a pillow under her head and said, “Just relax there.” Constand said she blacked out.
ON HOW SHE FELT AFTER THE ALLEGED ASSAULT
First trial: “I felt really humiliated. And I was really confused because — what I remembered before I went on that couch feeling blurry vision and what I felt. And I just wanted to go home.”
Second trial: “I was really humiliated. I was in shock. And I was really confused.”
ON REJECTING COSBY’S PRIOR SEXUAL ADVANCE
First trial: “I said, ‘I’m not here for that. I don’t want that.’ . I trusted him. I wasn’t scared of somebody making a pass at me or making an advance at me. I had trusted him and I wasn’t scared of him in any way.”
Second trial: “I leaned forward and gestured that I wasn’t interested, that I wasn’t here for that. And he complied, respectfully. I thought it was a little bit absurd, given that Mr. Cosby was just a little bit younger than my grandfather. He was a married man and I absolutely showed no interest in him. But I wasn’t threatened and I didn’t judge him.”
Follow Mike Sisak at www.twitter.com/mikesisak.
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