UPDATED with first defense witness called: The prosecution in the Bill Cosby sexual assault trial is “partially resting” its case after eight days of proceedings at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, PA. Judge Steven O’Neill told the jurors the Commonwealth was closing its case aside from a toxicology expert witness who will not be available until Thursday.
Cosby attorney Tom Mesereau said he plans to present a defense, and Cosby affirmed knowledge of his attorneys’ strategy to O’Neill. But Cosby’s defense team has another plan, too, with lawyer Kathleen Bliss saying she would motion for an acquittal after the toxicology witness testifies.
The defense called its first witness, Pamela Gray-Young, before lunch. Gray-Young worked with Constand at Temple University while both worked for the women’s basketball team and testified that Constand would’ve roomed with academic advisor Marguerite Jackson during road trips. Constand has said she barely knew Jackson and never roomed with anyone else.
Jackson is expected to testify this afternoon. Cosby’s lawyers have said she’ll tell jurors Constand once told her at Temple women’s basketball away game that she could fabricate a sexual assault claim against a celebrity for money.
Cosby is being retried for an alleged 2004 sexual assault of Constand.
Earlier in the morning, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele called publisher Judith Regan to the stand to defend model Janice Dickinson’s rape allegation against Cosby, and went through the portions of Cosby’s deposition in which he said he had used quaaludes for sex with women.
Steele read through the deposition with Montgomery County detective James Reape. In the deposition, Cosby said he had procured seven prescriptions for quaaludes from a doctor for back pain and that he never intended to use them himself. He said he intended to use them on women he wanted to have sex with.
“Quaaludes happened to be a drug kids, young people, were partying with,” Cosby said, “and I wanted to have them just in case.”
Cosby didn’t answer a question in the deposition about whether he ever gave quaaludes without a woman’s knowledge; he never said he used quaaludes on Constand in the deposition. On cross-examination, Bliss asked Reape whether in any of the interviews with police Cosby had said he only gave Benadryl to Constand.
“Correct,” he said.
Last week, Dickinson testified she had been raped by Cosby in a Nevada hotel room in 1982. Regan said that’s the story Dickinson told her while she was working on the book in 2001 and 2002.
“I remember at one point during the preparation of the book she told me she had been raped by Mr. Cosby — drugged and raped,” Regan said. “She wanted to include it in the book. I told her at the time we would not be able to do that.”
Regan, who published Dickinson’s memoir No Lifeguard on Duty, told prosecutor Stewart Ryan during direct examination that Regan Books spiked the story after consulting with its legal department. Regan Books’ lawyers, she said, told Regan the story could not be published without corroboration. Instead, the book featured a story with Dickinson turning down Cosby from the doorway and going back to her own room and using quaaludes.
Tom Mesereau struck back by showing how in a declaration made under oath about the publishing of the book — required by law in California — Regan had signed off on the story being true.
But Regan told him he had left out the last part of the sentence.
“It says, ‘Mr. Cosby was mentioned in the book to satisfy Ms. Dickinson in some way,” she said. “‘However, the story was modified to deal with this issue without any legal problems.’”
Mesereau, as he and Bliss have been doing throughout the trial, began a line of questioning he seemed to know would get objected but wanted the jury to hear anyway:
“Did you work for the National Enquirer?”
“Is everything published in the National Enquirer true?”
Regan said, “I’m happy to answer that.” O’Neill told her she couldn’t because of Ryan’s objection.
Mesereau continued down the same path:
“You published If I Did It by O.J. [Simpson]?”
“Did you help O.J. hide money from the publication of that book?”
The questions were struck, and O’Neill had to remind the jury they weren’t to use them as evidence.
Mesereau asked Regan whether Dickinson had ever told her “America’s Dad” had been on top of her, as Dickinson testified to thinking during the alleged rape last week. He then pointed out to Regan how The Cosby Show didn’t begin airing until 1984.
“I don’t recall,” Regan said.