Cosby Trial: Andrea Constand testifies that comedian sexually assaulted her
Her voice cracking with emotion at times, the woman at the center of Bill Cosby's trial took the stand Tuesday and delivered powerful testimony, telling the jury she was "humiliated" after the comedian gave her pills and sexually assaulted her at his home in 2004.
NORRISTOWN, Pa. — Her voice cracking with emotion at times, the woman at the center of Bill Cosby's trial took the stand Tuesday and delivered powerful testimony, telling the jury she was "humiliated" after the comedian gave her pills and sexually assaulted her at his home in 2004.
“I was frozen…I was very limp,” Andrea Constand, 44, said as Cosby, sitting a few feet away, put his forehead in his hand and shook his head.
“I wanted it to stop.”
The tense showdown in Montgomery County Court lasted about four hours, during which Cosby could be seen smiling and laughing at times.
During two hours of halting, often tedious cross-examination, the defense tried to highlight inconsistencies between Constand's testimony and what she told police when she reported the alleged assault a year later. While she admitted to memory lapses, the grilling didn't seem to rattle her.
"I told them [police] the truth," Constand said. "I also testified that I was really nervous and I wasn't able to recall every particular moment that I had seen Mr. Cosby in order of dates. There was a lot, 16 months to try to compress."
Constand will be back on the stand Wednesday as the trial enters its third day. "Just getting started," Cosby's attorney, Angela Agrusa, vowed outside the courthouse.
As Cosby left court, he appeared in good spirits, blurting out to the crowd, "Hey, hey, hey," the catchphrase from his 1970s TV show "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids."
Cosby, 79, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Constand, the only criminal charges stemming from dozens of accusations of sexual misconduct lodged against him in the last two years; he denies all allegations.
With his hand on his chin, he stared into the distance, betraying no emotion, when Constand first walked into the hushed courtroom with a small smile, a halo of corkscrew curls adding several inches to her 6-foot frame.
Encouraged by the prosecutor, she often spoke directly to the jurors, her voice calm as she recounted how she met Cosby while she was the director of operations for the women’s basketball team at Temple University, his alma mater.
She described how he began calling her at the office, then on her cellphone. Invitations to his home followed, and he arranged meetings to help her launch a broadcasting career, Constand said.
There were a few "suggestive" moments, she said. He touched her thigh during the first dinner at his home. At another dinner, he sat close to her and put his hand on the button and zipper of her pants; she said she told him, “I don’t want that.”
The prosecutor asked if she could recall any other time she saw Cosby face to face.
There was a long silence. Then Constand lowered her head and put her hand to her face.
“Yes," she said quietly.
What followed was her account of what happened when Cosby invited her to his suburban Philadelphia house in January 2004 to talk about her plans to switch careers from athletics to massage therapy.
After 30 minutes of conversation, her mentor went upstairs and returned with three pills he told her were "herbal," she said.
“They’re your friends. They’ll take the edge off,” Cosby said, according to Constand.
“I said 'I trust you,'” she said. “I took the pills and swallowed them down.”
She said she began seeing double. When she tried to stand up, “my legs were not strong and I began to panic a little bit,” she said.
Cosby led her to a couch and she passed out, she said.
“I jolted awake and I felt Mr. Cosby’s hand groping my breasts under my shirt," she said, adding that he then penetrated her with his fingers. "And I felt him take my hand and place it on his penis and move it back and forth,” she said.
Sitting at the defense table, Cosby rubbed his forehead and shook his head as Constand continued.
She said she lost consciousness again. When she woke up it was about 4 a.m. and Cosby was there, offering her a muffin and tea.
“I felt really humiliated and I was really confused,” she said, her voice cracking. “I just wanted to go home.”
Constand did not report the alleged attack until January 2005, after she had quit her job at Temple and returned to her native Canada. She began having nightmares and confided in her mother, who called police and also called Cosby to confront him by phone.
The defense zeroed in on Constand's calls to civil attorneys in the days before and after she spoke to police. Neither side is allowed to mention Constand's 2005 lawsuit against Cosby or the settlement they struck the following year, but the defense clearly wanted the jury to think Constand was looking for a payday.
Agrusa also delved into the Canadian police report, which said Constand told investigators she had known Cosby for only six months, that she had never been alone with him before January 2004, and that her contacts with him after the assault were "rare and brief."
Constand conceded she might have misspoken at points but also clarified some of her statements, noting, for instance, that a chef had been at the estate during some of her dinners with Cosby, so they were not technically alone.
Cosby's team introduced as evidence a list of 72 phone calls that the defense says the star and Constand made to each other after the night in question and before she called police.
"Yes, there were calls," Constand said with a small sigh.
Dennis McAndrews, a Pennsylvania attorney and law instructor who was in the courtroom for Constand's testimony, said she was a strong witness, while the "slow-paced" cross-examination didn't do extensive damage.
"They succeeded in raising some questions, but I doubt any juror is convinced she's a liar," McAndrews said.
Constand's civil lawyer, Dolores Troiani, said she thought her client held her own.
"She was very brave," she said. "It's so intimidating but yet she managed to maintain her composure."