UPDATED with Constand completing testimony: Bill Cosby’s accuser Andrea Constand completed her testimony after almost two full days on the witness stand in the criminal case involving Cosby’s alleged rape of the former Temple University employee in 2004.
On Wednesday, Constand spent just less than five hours on the stand, after testifying for four hours on Tuesday. The trial, expected to take two weeks, began on Monday in Norristown, PA. Constand has proved a poised advocate for her claims and credibility during questioning in what is essentially a he-said-she-said situation owing to the lack of physical evidence in the case.
Cosby, sitting not far from the witness stand, has only uttered the occasional chuckle during the proceedings. He is not expected to testify.
As lawyers reiterated previous testimony and statements over over to prove their respective points, Wednesday saw discussions of a “computer generated” image of Constand’s face on the cartoon body of Fat Albert that she gave Cosby as a gift, and Hollywood lawyer Gloria Allred being removed from the courtroom because her cell phone wasn’t turned off, as rare moments of levity in what are sometimes lewd and graphic depictions and reports of what may have happened between Constand and Cosby at his home in January 2004.
Picking up from where yesterday ended with the defense continuing its cross-examination of Constand, the third day of the only criminal case against the much-accused Cosby started off with lawyer Angela Agrusa meticulously going over Constand’s cell phone records over the years, alcohol consumption habits, use of incense, and other personal behavior.
On Tuesday, Constand, the director of operations for basketball at Temple University at the time of the alleged assault, offered strong and often hauntingly emotional testimony. Like they did with the testimony of another alleged Cosby victim earlier in the week, the tactic of Cosby’s legal team has been to try to throw a harsh spotlight on apparent inconsistencies in Constand’s story in order to discredit her. Unlike sobbing ex-William Morris assistant Kathy Johnson on Monday, the seemingly well-prepared Constand has not buckled to the pressure from Cosby’s attorneys nor allowed her words to be effectively used against her.
“I don’t recall as I sit here now, but that may be right,” she admitted in her Wednesday at one point after a barrage of dates and incidents were thrown at her by L.A.-based Agrusa, thereby slowing the attorney’s velocity. “I don’t have that statement in front of me,” Constand said at another point when queried about remarks she made to law enforcement, again making it hard for Agrusa to go much further. “Well, you just summed it up,” she responded with a smile to another statement from Agrusa seeking further confirmation of an apparent inconsistency.
If Cosby is found guilty of the three felony charges of second-degree aggravated indecent assault, he could end up behind bars for up to 10 years. While the trial is expected to last two weeks, it is clear on Day 3 that Constand’s impactful testimony yesterday may be a defining blow to the defense if the seven-man and five-woman jury from the Pittsburgh area find Cosby guilty.
On a few occasions this morning, Constand even gently corrected the attorney’s timeline and characterizations, such as when a fireplace was lit at Cosby’s home on the night of the alleged assault. With Cosby himself sitting in the front of the courtroom as he has the past two days and in pre-trial hearings, Agrusa’s approach was also countered by frequent objections from the Montgomery County D.A. tam, several of which were sustained by Judge Steven O’Neill.
“You are not to be reading her answer from the statement,” O’Neill told Agrusa in a short session with the lawyers after the jury had been released for a short morning break. “Ask the question and the witness will read the answer.”
The second half of Wednesday morning saw Constand get and give more of the same. In one exchange with Agrusa, there was literally a discussion of the implications of Constand’s hairstyle and what that inferred for the closeness of the relationship between her and Cosby.
“He has never disclosed to me that he had affection for me,” Constand replied after Agrusa implied that Constand was fully aware Cosby had feelings for her after he made “a pass at you” and other instances.
Another exchange reveled that the dates of February 14, 2004 and March 14, 2004 play a pivotal role in the defense’s mind. Phone records shown to the jury revealed that Constand called Cosby on at least two occasions that Valentine’s Day, just a few weeks after the alleged incident.
It was on that mid-March day that Constand went to meet with Cosby to “confront him” about what happened. In the same meeting, Constand was to deliver to Cosby bath salts for a potential business partner.
Cosby’s lawyers are looking to show Constand was not so troubled by the alleged assault that she didn’t continue an on-going relationship with their client.
On Tuesday, under questioning from Montgomery County Deputy D.A. Kristen Feden, Constand had described in specific detail her history with Cosby, a Temple trustee, and her version of events of that night at his Philadelphia-area home where she says she was drugged and raped by the actor. With her voice trembling and even breaking, a tearful Constand also testified about the aftermath of the incident, including her and her mother’s subsequent interactions with Cosby, her revealing of the alleged rape to her family, and her discussions with lawyers and law enforcement.
Constand’s appearance as a witness Tuesday marked the first time Cosby’s now 44-year-old accuser has publicly told her side of the alleged assault that occurred in January 2004 at the actor’s Elkins Park mansion. Cosby had admitted in a now-unsealed deposition in their 2005 civil case that he had given then-Temple employee at least two Benadryl supposedly for stress. Constand has said in past filings and testified again yesterday that the pills left her “frozen” and unable to consent to his advances or rebuff them. The actor also said in that deposition of 12 years ago that he had Quaaludes to give to women before sex in the past. Cosby has never denied that he and Constand had sexual relations on the night in question but has insisted it was consensual.
The trial will resume with a couple of expert witnesses this afternoon if time permits.