“She is not asking me a darn thing in the negative,” Detective James Reape read from a deposition given by Bill Cosby of his impressions of the aftermath of the alleged sexual assault that Andrea Constand claims he inflicted upon her in January 2004. “I wanted her to be comfortable and to go to sleep after we had our necking session,” added the transcripts of depositions that The Cosby Show actor gave on September 28-29, 2005 and March 28-29, 2006.
Though Cosby himself has said he will likely not take the stand in the trial in Norristown, PA, his words from over a decade ago in a civil case instigated by Constand rang through Judge Steven O’Neill’s courtroom this afternoon. Even as Constand herself spent almost ten hours on the stand this week and the jury heard testimony from her mother, another accuser former William Morris assistant Kelly Johnson and her mother, this is actually the third time Cosby’s voice has been heard in the courtroom, in a manner of speaking.
On Wednesday, a taped phone conversation between Constand’s mother and an appeasing Cosby was played for the courtroom. Earlier today, Cheltenham Township County police sergeant Richard Schaffer read out portions of an interview that he and two other officers conducted with Cosby in early 2005 after Canadian police had contacted them on Constand’s behalf with allegations of rape.
Taking the stand Thursday in Cosby’s criminal trial for the alleged 2004 rape of Constand after a long break in the proceedings to deal with technical issues of displaying evidence, Montgomery County’s Det. Reape was reading out portions of the depositions given by Cosby over a series of civil suit sessions while current Montgomery County D.A. Kevin Steele, who read out the question portion of the deposition selections being made public, was questioning Reape.
“The reason I gave them to Andrea is that she was talking about stress,” the deposition transcript has Cosby saying of the broken blue Benadryl pills he admits to giving Constand at his Philadelphia area residence in early 2004. Illustrating the She Said, He Said dynamic that lies at the heart of this case, the transcript from Cosby then graphically details the intimate encounter between the two and says at one point, “we move into spoon position.” In the statements of over a decade ago, and with no mention of a lack of consent by the then Temple University employee, Cosby claims that the encounter was awkward, but sexually fulfilling for Constand. That is something Cosby told Constand’s mother Gianna in a telephone conversation a year later, according to emotional courtroom testimony from the older woman on June 7.
Revealing a seemingly ever-shifting Cosby, who appeared to be figuring out where the lawyers taking his 2005 and 2006 depositions want to go, Reape’s steady voice read from the sexually detailed transcript that described several encounters between the actor and Constand.
“I feel, I feel a glow, I feel Andrea has a glow,” Read had Cosby saying of a previous intimate situation before the January 2004 incident. “Andrea says to me one of either two words, ‘Stop’ or ‘No’, Cosby adds on the transcript. “I stop … It wasn’t hostile, she didn’t push me out of the way, she said ‘Stop,’ the actor made a point of stressing on the transcript. The transcript is consistent with Cosby’s contention in a January 2005 interview in NYC that he backed off a previous sexual encounter with Constand when requested by her.
Before that, stating that he had been assigned on July 13, 2015 to the case that the previous Montgomery County D.A. had reopened earlier that summer, Read quickly summarized where the case had gone since the initial investigation in 2005, and how he contacted an accommodating Constand on the matter.
“There was some previously sealed testimony released by a federal judge,” Read said late on Thursday afternoon from the stand. “I was tasked with going out and getting a full transcript of those depositions from 2015 and 2016,” he added of the 2005 and 2006 depositions that Cosby gave under oath in relation to Constand’s civil case against him.
Fought by Cosby lawyers at the time, the unsealing of the 2005 and 2006 depositions in 2015 revealed that Cosby had admitted under oath that he had a prescription for Quaaludes to give to women for sex. The Cosby Show actor also said in the deposition that he gave former Temple basketball staffer Constand at least two Benadryl, supposedly for stress. Constand has said those pills left her disoriented and she passed out for a while and was molested by Cosby while unconscious. Cosby has insisted that the incident in question was always consensual.
Though little mentioned in this trial up until this point, Constand pursued a civil case against the actor in 2006 after previous Montgomery County D.A. Bruce Cantor in 2005 declined to pursue a criminal case. Under an agreement with Cantor and a now-deceased Cosby lawyer not to open a criminal case, Cosby did not invoke his Fifth Amendment rights in the subsequent civil case. That is why the extensive 2005 and 2006 depositions were taken. With everything under a confidentiality agreement, that case resulted in an undisclosed settlement in the low seven figures being paid out by Cosby to the ex-Temple University employee.
It’s worth noting that in 2016, Cosby tried to get that settlement back by suing Constand, her mother and the ex-Temple University staffer’s then lawyers in federal court. As the current case began to pick up steam, Cosby claimed in legal filings that Constand, her mother Gianna and the former Director of Operations for women’s basketball at Temple University’s then-lawyer had broken the confidentiality clauses agreement of the civil case settlement. The Constand side countersued, and it looked to turn into another sideshow in a case surrounded by them, but the entire lawsuit was dropped last summer.
In the past several 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 as far as the late ’60s. 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 except in Pennsylvania where the statute for sex crimes in 12 years.
Reape is expected to return to the stand Friday as the trial finishes up its first week.
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