UPDATED with afternoon testimony: District Attorney Kevin Steele guided Montgomery County detective James Reape through Bill Cosby’s deposition from his civil suit with Andrea Constand that dominated the day at the comedian’s sexual assault retrial Tuesday. The prosecution looked to detail inconsistencies from what Cosby told police during its 2005 investigation of him and from his defense team’s current strategy.
Throughout the retrial, the defense has tried to portray Constand, who Cosby allegedly assaulted in 2004, as a gold digger and Cosby as the victim. But Cosby himself doubted she had those intentions as revealed in the 2006 deposition presented as evidence today.
Cosby was asked then whether he believed Constand was after money to not report the incident and whether he believed Constand or her mother wanted money when they called him. He responded no to both questions.
The prosecution was able to have Reape provide the deposition testimony as evidence because he began reinvestigating the case for Montgomery County in 2015 after a federal judge released the deposition publicly.
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The inconsistencies didn’t just pertain to Constand. Steele this afternoon also presented part of the deposition in which Cosby was asked about Denver’s Jo Farrell Agency. Heidi Thomas, the first accuser to testify in the trial, said she was sent by the agency for mentorship by Cosby. Yet Cosby responded no when asked whether the agency had ever sent models to him.
Other parts of the deposition offered jurors a glimpse into Cosby’s views about Constand, consent, and the night she says he sexually assaulted her. Upon meeting Constand, he said in the deposition, he was romantically interested, saying he intended to pursue “romance that will lead to the seeking of some kind of permission or non-permission.”
He used similar a phrase in the deposition when describing the January night when he said he digitally penetrated and groped her with her consent, and she said she was unable to consent.
“I didn’t hear her say anything and didn’t feel her say anything,” Cosby said, “and I go to the area somewhere between permission and rejection.
“I feel Andrea has a glow about her sexual moment.”
Much of Steele’s questioning of Reape as it pertained to the deposition centered on the pills Cosby gave Constand. The comic provided police red Benadryl pills in their 2005 investigation, but said he gave Constand blue Benadryl pills in the deposition. And in a recorded phone conversation with Constand’s mother, he told her the pills were from a prescription but did not say which kind they were.
In the deposition, he revealed why he withheld the information from Constand’s mother.
“And, also, to be perfectly frank,” Cosby said, “I’m hoping and praying there’s no one recording me.”
Cosby attorney Kathleen Bliss will continue her cross-examination of Reape on Wednesday morning and drew the ire of Judge Steven O’Neill just before the end of the day for making statements toward Reape instead of asking him questions. When she did ask Reape about the case, he wouldn’t budge.
“The inconsistencies that are perceived (with Constand) saying it happened in March 2004, that’s able to fall by the wayside because the defendant said it happened,” Reape said. “He said it happened in 2004.”
PREVIOUS, 9:39 AM: Jurors in the Bill Cosby retrial spent the previous two days in court listening to Andrea Constand and her mother explain what they say happened between Constand and the comedian on a January night in 2004. This morning at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, PA, they got to hear Cosby’s recollection through the statement he gave to police in January 2005.
The statement was read by Assistant District Attorney Stewart Ryan and the prosecution’s witness, Sgt. Richard Schaffer, who investigated Cosby in 2005 and 2015. In his interview with police, Cosby refuted Constand’s claim that he only touched her sexually once, saying they’d had sexual contact three times, including at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut.
As for the night of the alleged assault, Cosby’s statement revealed him saying he gave her one-and-a-half tablets of Benadryl and then touched her breast and digitally penetrated her on his couch. He said Constand never told him to stop and was conscious throughout.
“I enjoyed it,” he said in the interview. “And then I stopped and went up to bed.”
Schaffer said that Cosby provided police with pink Benadryl pills he said he had given to Constand. Constand testified she had taken blue pills from Cosby, and when Constand’s mother questioned Cosby about the pills, he said they were prescription pills. Schaffer said police officers did not uncover any Benadryl — pink or blue — when they searched his home for evidence in 2005.
Other parts of the statement included Cosby’s intention to pay for Constand’s education and fear of a phone call with her mother being recorded. The statement fulfilled the prosecution’s promise to jurors that they’d hear Cosby’s own words describing the night in question and his behavior afterward.
And in the interview, when asked if he ever knew Constand to be untruthful, Cosby said no.
Schaffer was the prosecution’s ninth witness in seven days of trial. District Attorney Kevin Steele said they could rest their case against Cosby as early as today but might have to wait until tomorrow for publisher Judith Regan to be available as a witness.
Steele brought up the timeline before the jury entered the courtroom this morning. Regan, who published Janice Dickinson’s memoir No Lifeguard on Duty, could be used by the prosecution to corroborate Dickinson’s claim that her story about Cosby sexually assaulting her was spiked by the publishing house out of fear of Cosby’s attorneys. Steele also said they still could call Bebe Kivitz, Constand’s personal attorney.
“I would suggest the defense have witnesses prepared to go tomorrow,” Steele said.
Last year, Cosby’s lawyers didn’t put on a defense for their client. That case ended in a mistrial. This time around they’re expected to at least call Marguerite Jackson, Constand’s colleague at Temple, and have been attempting to compel to testify Sherri Williams, a friend of Constand’s. Lawyers said Jackson will tell of a time when Jackson and Constand were rooming on a Temple basketball trip and Constand told her she could accuse a celebrity of sexual assault to earn a payoff.
Under questioning from both the prosecution and defense, Constand denied staying with any other employees during road trips. She said she knew of Jackson’s name but had no relationship with her. Williams started 10in10Biz, an alleged pyramid scheme Constand sent emails about while working at Temple.
Ryan also displayed incoming and outgoing phone records for Constand this morning, focusing Schaffer on the time period after the alleged assault in January 2004 until March 2004, when Constand approached Cosby about what happened.
Cosby’s lawyers have pointed out how Constand made dozens of calls to Cosby during this time frame, suggesting an assault victim wouldn’t have reached out to the person she accused on a regular basis. But Schaffer pointed out how many of the calls to Cosby were preceded by calls to Constand’s voicemail. The evidence backed testimony from Constand, who said she likely was returning calls from him about Temple women’s basketball.
“You used to have to call your voicemail,” Schaffer said. “We saw a lot of times she would make a series of calls — her number, the following numbers. At times we saw calls from the defendant. There also were calls at times the defendant called into Ms. Constand, preceded by calls to Temple.”
Through Schaffer’s testimony, Ryan was able to show the Temple women’s basketball team had a game on Valentine’s Day 2004, again backing up testimony from Constand for why she called Cosby twice that day. Cosby lawyer Tom Mesereau previously had asked her about the Valentine’s Day calls and mentioned them in his opening statement.
Earlier in the morning, the prosecution picked up a victory when Judge Steven O’Neill ruled Cosby’s testimony about Quaaludes from a 2006 deposition could be introduced as evidence. Cosby said in the deposition he had used the pills on women for sex but did not say he used them with Constand. The evidence was also allowed during the mistrial last year.
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