“I wanted him to stop,” Andrea Constand said today on the stand of Day 2 of Bill Cosby’s criminal trial for allegedly raping the then-Temple University employee in 2004. “In my head, I was trying to get my hands to move and my legs to move but I was frozen,” she told the Norristown, PA courtroom of the attack with the actor sitting close by. “I wasn’t able to fight him away.”
“I felt humiliated and I felt confused,” she added of the alleged sexual assault. “I just wanted to go home.”
Constand admitted she and Cosby did have a conversation the next morning, which she can’t recall from that January day more than 13 years ago. Scared of what it could mean for her life and career, Constand also admitted she spoke to Cosby several times by phone in the weeks after the attack and met with him personally at least once. “I did not have the courage at the time to tell my family,” she said softly of attending a Cosby show in Canada with her family following the alleged attack. “So I just went along with it.”
With Cosby in the courtroom Tuesday with his lawyers, Constand was asked by Montgomery County Deputy D.A. Kristen Feden early in her testimony to point Cosby out in the court — which she did, leaning over for a good look.
Constand’s appearance as a witness Tuesday was the first time that Cosby’s 44-year-old accuser has publicly told her version of the sexual assault she says occurred at the now 79-year-old actor’s nearby mansion.
“He was a Temple friend, someone I trusted, a mentor,” she said of their relationship before the alleged assault. Earlier in her testimony, Constand detailed how Cosby gave her some pills that night to help her “relax.” She added that he said, of the three pills, “Put them down, they are your friends.”
“I began to slur my words and I told Mr. Cosby that I had trouble seeing him and I was seeing two of him,” she testified of the effects of the pills Cosby told her were supplements. “When I stood up, my legs were not strong and I began to panic a bit,” she recollected. Constand was visiting Cosby at his home to talk about her career plans and leaving as Temple’s Director of Operations for basketball.
“I don’t remember passing out,” she said quietly on the stand, with her voice breaking a bit. “But later I was jolted awake,” Constand told the jury, lawyers, judges, onlookers and at least two other women who say that Cosby did similar things to them, as she detailed how the actor was touching her and violating her body.
Constand also told the jury of a previous incident early in their friendship when she says Cosby got too close and seemed to try to take off her pants. “I felt his hand on the top of my zipper and I lean forward and he took his hand away,” she said of the incident at the actor’s home in the early 2000s. “ ‘I’m not here for that, I don’t want that,’ ” the calm and composed ex-Temple employee said she immediately told Cosby. “I don’t remember what he said, but it was time to go,” she added when asked by the prosecution whether there was any reaction from the actor.
“I trusted him; I wasn’t scared of someone making a pass at me,” Constand said of why she continued to socialize with Cosby — including at least two trips to NYC to hang out with him, and a meeting with William Morris agent Lou Weiss in 2004 on the possibility of her getting into sports broadcasting. There was also dinner before a Cosby casino performance, where the actor and a fully dressed Constand laid on the bed for about 10 minutes. “I said thank you very much for inviting me up here,” she told the courtroom and Judge Steven O’Neill about leaving soon afterwards, and that they kissed “cheek-to-cheek.”
If found guilty by the jury for the three felony charges of second-degree aggravated indecent assault against Constand, Cosby could face more than 10 years behind bars. Because of the Keystone State’s 12-year statute of limitations on sex crimes, the Norristown, PA based trial is the only criminal case in the nation against the much-accused Cosby, who has seen more than 60 women come forward in recent years with claims of being drugged and/or sexually assaulted by the actor in instances going back to the late 1960s.
While revealing in an unsealed 2015 deposition in Constand’s civil case of more than a decade ago that he had Quaaludes to give to women for sex before, and that he gave the Temple basketball staffer at least two Benadryl supposedly for stress, Cosby has long insisted the interaction between the two that evening was consensual. Then-Montgomery Country D.A. Bruce Castor declined to prosecute the case in 2005 and made a deal with Cosby’s then-lawyer, who is now dead, that the actor would not plead the Fifth, and Cosby settled a subsequent civil case for an undisclosed sum. Cosby last year sued Constand, her mother and Constand’s then-lawyers in federal court to get back the settlement, saying she had broken the confidentiality agreement; that suit was dropped last summer.
The first part of Constand’s detailed and emotional testimony Tuesday detailed the initial 2002 meetings between her, then Basketball Director of Operations at Temple, and The Cosby Show creator and deep-pocketed Temple donor. Constand told Montgomery County Deputy D.A. Kristen Feden that after a series of meetings and telephone calls, the two became “friends” and Constand gave him her personal cell phone number upon request. “I didn’t really see a problem with it,” she said of being asked for her personal number and providing it.
Nor did Constand see a problem or romantic possibilities involved with Cosby inviting her for a private dinner at his house, which they had. Though there was one odd moment, it seems. “I remember specifically that evening Mr. Cosby sat very close to me and put his hand on my thigh,” she told the court. “It was already late in the night and I was getting ready to go home,” she added, saying she didn’t think much of it at the time.
Not long afterward, she testified, Cosby invited Constand to a dinner party for six at his Philadelphia-area home, which she accepted. “I was just there to observe and meet people,” she said, stressing she was new in town at that point. Feeling a “little bit more in place,” Constand said she went to another dinner with Cosby at his Montgomery County home, where other members of the university community were in attendance.
The first witness in the afternoon of Day 2 of the Cosby trial actually saw the first bit of humor in the courtroom, when Toronto police constable Stewart Parsons remembered the date of his wedding but not how long he’d been married. His marital status has special bearing on the case as he is Constand’s brother-in-law. Informed of the alleged assault of his spouse’s sister, Parsons recommended the police be contacted immediately.
Turns out there was a bit of confusion, as Parsons meant police in Pennsylvania where the alleged assault took place. Constand’s parents instead contacted local police in the Toronto area, as Detective Dave Mason testified earlier in the day.
“I strongly suggested that if there were any future conversations that they be recorded,” Parsons told D.A. Kevin Steele, referring to his mother-in-law Patrice Sewll speaking to Cosby on the phone in the months after the alleged assault occurred. In the Canadian province of Ontario, a telephone call can be recorded if one person on the call agrees to it. “Almost immediately, I told the family that Andrea need to hire a lawyer,” Parsons testified, “to represent her and her best interests.”
Parsons told the jury and packed courtroom that he accompanied Constand on her drive from the Toronto region to Montgomery County to speak to police there in early 2005.
With Constand’s testimony seen as the core of the case and Cosby not expected to take the stand, the trial is scheduled to last two weeks.