The jury in Bill Cosby’s criminal trial for the 2004 rape of Andrea Constand learned today that the actor believed he had a “romantic relationship” with the former Temple University employee. In a transcript read out in the Norristown, PA court by a local police officer who interviewed Cosby in early 2005, the actor declared, “I never intended to have sexual intercourse with Andrea, like full bodies.”
Noting under questioning from the officer that he and Constand had been intimate on several occasions at his Philadelphia-area home and a casino where he was performing, Cosby reiterated in the January 26, 2005 interview session at the offices of his New York lawyers with Cheltenham Township County police Sgt. Richard Schaffer and two other officers from 11 years ago that they never had penetration sex, “never asleep or awake.”
Cosby also told those officers 12 years ago that he feared “extortion” from Constand and her family when they contacted him directly in early 2005, a year after the alleged assault. In the 2005 session with Schaffer and others that was read out in court, Cosby also admits he gave Constand “one and a half” Benadryl pills at his home in January 2004. Cosby told the officers he never informed Constand or her family what the pills really were, despite the fact they requested the name of the medication later on. Constand’s claims have been that it was on the night of taking those pills that she passed out and awoke to Cosby sexually assaulting her, also the M.O. other Cosby accusers have described over the years.
Shaffer told Montgomery County Deputy D.A. Stewart Ryan today that Cosby had a bag brought to the Manhattan law office and that it contained a number of pill bottles. A photo of those bottles was shown on a screen in court Thursday.
In a later section of the transcript, Cosby says he imitated the “petting” with Constand in all their interactions. Cosby also noted that Constand asked him to stop on “the second visit” to his home. The actor says, “My impression is she didn’t want to go that far,” and the duo ceased their interaction because he respected her decision on that occasion.
The Shaffer testimony comes after Constand yesterday wrapped almost two full days on the stand, and an appearance on the stand Wednesday by her mother Gianna Constand backing up much of her daughter’s recollections. The elder Constand also detailed several telephone conversations she had with Cosby subsequent to her daughter telling her about the assault, one of which was recorded and played in court.
The trial is the only criminal case in the nation against the much-accused Cosby.
Also that January 2005 interview in New York, Cosby told police that Gianna Constand told him in one conversation that there is “nothing” he can do for Andrea Constand for what happened between him and her daughter. Strongly implying the incident was consensual, Cosby offered to “pick up the tab” for graduate school for Andrea Constand if she maintained a 3.0 grade-point average. That offer was detailed in both Constand’s testimony and on the taped telephone call played in court Thursday.
The offer was followed up not long afterward by a call to the Constand home from Hollywood lawyer Marty Singer to discuss details. That call was played aloud in the Pennsylvania courtroom Tuesday. “The reason I called Mr. Singer,” Cosby told the police in 2005 of his now-former attorney, “is that I didn’t trust the Mother.”
Also saying that he found Andrea Constand often “not thinking clearly,” Cosby believed she had “ADD” or “a learning disability.” In the transcript, Cosby says he also questioned her if she had ever taken drugs like LSD, which she said she had not.
The first witness of this fourth day of the trial was Perna Rodmen Conare, Andrea Constand’s neighbor when she lived in the Philadelphia area during the time she worked at Temple University and knew Cosby. Rodmen Conare told the court that in the last two months before Constand quit her job at Temple and left to move back to Canada, she “suddenly became more distant.”
Afterwards, Schaffer took the stand and detailed being assigned the case in early 2005 and his initial contact with Constand. “She wanted to jump right in and tell me her story and I told her to hold back,” Schaffer recollected to the jury under questioning from Ryan. Schaffer said Constand was straightforward but also “anxious” when he first called her on January 19, 2005.
In recent years, Cosby has had more than 60 women go public with claims of being drugged and/or sexually assaulted by him in instances going back to the late 1960s. However, with statute of limitations in almost all the states where the incidents allegedly took place having expired, no other jurisdictions or women have been able to pursue criminal cases – though several have and are in the process of challenging Cosby in civil court.
Though little mentioned in this trial so far, Constand successfully waged a civil case against the actor in 2006 after a previous Montgomery County D.A. declined to pursue a criminal case. It resulted in an undisclosed settlement in the low-seven figures being paid out by Cosby to the ex-Temple employee. In 2016, Cosby tried to get that settlement back by suing Constand, her mother and Constand’s then lawyers in federal court, claiming Constand and others had broken the confidentiality clauses. That lawsuit was dropped last summer.
The day started a bit later than usual as Judge Steven O’Neill spent part of the morning in chambers dealing with motions concerning depositions by Cosby on September 28-29, 2005 and March 28-29, 2006. Connected to Constand’s civil case against the actor, portions of those depositions were unsealed in 2015 and gave many the first glimpses into Cosby and prescription drugs, with his admitted use of having Quaaludes for sex with women.
The morning session Thursday ended with Schaffer being cross-examined by defense lawyer Brian McMonagle. Looking for inconsistencies in what Constand told Schaffer and what she said later, that testimony is expected to continue in the afternoon.
Originally set for two weeks, the trial is now looking more like it will be sent to the jury as early as mid-next week.