In early 2004, Bill Cosby’s primary accuser Andrea Constand said she made what she called a tough decision to leave her job as the director of operations for the women’s basketball team at Temple University -- where Cosby was a trustee -- and move back home to Canada.
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She was stressed about telling her coach, and Cosby invited her to his home, she testified on the stand today, the fifth day of the comedian's retrial on three counts of aggravated indecent assault. She had been there twice before for one-on-one dinners -- including one time in which she said Cosby tried to unbutton her pants on a couch, but she rebuffed him.
"I thought it was absurd, given that Mr. Cosby was just a little younger than my grandfather,” Constand testified. "He was a married man, and I had never shown any interest in him whatsoever. But I wasn’t threatened by him and I didn’t judge him."
Constand testified that she and Cosby had been discussing her aversion to traditional medicine for 18 months and that he must have known that she doesn’t “even like to take Advil.”
So when he went upstairs while she was in the bathroom and returned with three round blue pills, she said she assumed they were homeopathic -- so-called natural remedies that are often dissolved under the tongue.
She said Cosby put the pills in her hand and said, “These are friends, they’ll take the edge off.”
“Do I put them under [the] tongue,” she testified that she asked.
“Put them down,” Cosby replied, she said, allegedly gesturing for her to swallow them with water. “They’ll help you relax.”
“I didn’t take meds, so he offered those [pills] and I assumed I was going to be putting them on my tongue…. I assumed they were a natural remedy. I trusted him.”
She said she began to get dizzy and started feeling sick and seeing double.
“I was very scared,” she testified. “I didn’t know what was happening with my body, why I was feeling that way. I didn’t feel right. I knew something was wrong and I started to panic.”
She said Cosby led to her to a couch, laid her down and she lost consciousness.
“The next thing I recall is,” she said, pausing to take a deep breath, “I was kind of jolted awake and found Mr. Cosby on the couch beside me, behind me.
“And my vagina was being penetrated quite forcefully … I felt my dress come up -- and he took my hand on his penis and masturbated himself with my hand … and I was not able to do a thing. I knew something was in there and I felt his fingers inside my vagina, in and out very forcefully.”
She said she couldn’t speak and couldn’t get her limbs to move.
“I could not fight him off,” she testified.
Constand said her next memory was waking up between 4 and 5 a.m, with her bra around her neck and her pants “half unzipped.”
As she was heading out the door, she said Cosby appeared in a doorway in slippers and a robe.
“I never said a word and all that he said was ‘There’s a muffin and a tea on the table.’ And ‘alright.’”
Cosby's first trial ended in a mistrial in June when a jury could not reach a verdict. The first trial hinged mostly on the testimony of Constand. This time, the prosecution was allowed to call five additional Cosby accusers who claim they were sexually assaulted by Cosby in an attempt to prove a pattern of criminal conduct by the famous defendant. Cosby has denied those charges and similar allegations made by other women.
Like previous accusers who have taken the stand in the retrial, Constand said she later went to confront Cosby to find out what happened to her. She went to a group dinner at a Chinese restaurant and said she wanted a word with him. She testified that he told her to come back to the house, and she agreed.
“It was a very, very short visit and I wanted to get some information--– which he would not volunteer to me, which was 'What did you give me and why did you do this?'
“He was very evasive with me," she continued. "He said, 'I thought you had an orgasm.' I said I did not. He would not answer my questions, so I lost my courage and I left.”
Earlier in her testimony, Constand addressed a key defense claim -- that she once mused to a Temple colleague named Marguerite “Margo” Jackson about framing a celebrity for money while the pair were sharing a room during an away game.
Jackson’s testimony was rejected by the judge as hearsay in Cosby’s first trial, but for the retrial she has been admitted as a defense witness.
Constand testified that while she “recognized the name,” she doesn’t ever remember rooming with Jackson and that she didn’t formulate the rooming arrangements. Defense attorneys claim that Constand not just determined travel rooming arrangements for the basketball team’s away games, but shared a room with Jackson at least six times.
She said the team coach did that, and she simply took the list and made the reservations.
Constand has denied ever saying what Jackson claims she said.
During nearly three hours of cross-examination, which will continue on Monday, defense attorney Tom Mesereau established a total of nine face-to-face visits between Cosby and Constand before and after the alleged attack and asked whether Constand had ever seen Cosby’s wife during those meetings.
“No,” she said.
“Did you ever ask where she was?” Mesereau asked.
“Did you care?” he shot back.
“It was none of my business,” Constand responded, ending the line of questioning.