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NORRISTOWN — Bill Cosby’s defense attorneys attacked the credibility of a woman who said the comedian sexually assaulted her 12 years ago by slamming a statement she gave to police and suggesting the encounter was consensual because she never said “no.” Philadelphia defense attorney Brian McMonagle also noted Constand had contact with Cosby after the encounter, and that she had “spoken to him 20 times after the incident.”
“At no point in time,” McMonagle asked a testifying detective today, “did she ever tell Mr. Cosby ‘no?’”
The answer was the alleged victim didn’t ever say “no” — because she said she was “paralyzed” by drugs.
Andrea Constand, the woman at the center of the only criminal case against Cosby, didn’t testify today during a preliminary hearing on sexual assault charges against him, but a Montgomery County detective said the alleged victim will be ready to testify if the case makes it to trial.
Judge Elizabeth A. McHugh, who is overseeing the preliminary hearing, hasn’t yet ruled and it’s unclear if prosecutors intend to introduce other witnesses.
Constand, a former employee at Temple University, told investigators 11 years ago that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in early 2004, though his attorneys say the encounter was consensual. Today, he faces charges of aggravated indecent assault in connection with the incident at his home just outside Philadelphia.
The disgraced comedian appeared in Norristown today for a preliminary hearing in the case, and though 58 women have accused Cosby of sexual assault, Constand’s case is the only one in which criminal charges have been filed. Most of the others are past the statute of limitations.
Katharine Clark, a detective with the Montgomery County Detective Bureau, read aloud the original statement given to them by Constand, when she describes Cosby giving her pills and wine, and then she felt a sense of wooziness. She reports he sexually assaulted her and she was unable to tell him to stop.
“I remember Mr. Cosby positioned himself behind me,” Constand told investigators. “I was unable to move my body. I was pretty much frozen… I was unable to speak. I was, like, paralyzed.”
Cosby, 78, who wore a black suit to court and had to be escorted in by a bodyguard because of dwindling eyesight, smiled and waved to supporters on his way into the courtroom.
His lawyer wasn’t satisfied with the fact that the prosecution’s case today has hinged on Clark’s reading of a statement given to police 11 years ago. It’s unclear as to why Constand didn’t testify herself (there was no testimony regarding why she wasn’t present), but Clark said she spoke with Constand this week and she told detectives she’s willing to testify at a trial.
A year after Cosby allegedly assaulted Constand, she reported the incident to police in Canada where her parents lived a year later, but Bruce Castor, the Montgomery County district attorney at the time, declined to prosecute the comedian. Constand then filed a lawsuit against Cosby that was settled in 2006.
That lawsuit appeared to be Cosby’s ultimate downfall, as the depositions — in which he admitted to drugging women he wanted to have sex with — became the basis of the criminal charges filed against him in December. His attorneys have fought tooth-and-nail to keep the depositions out of his criminal case, but motions they’ve filed to do so have been denied.
They argue Castor made a deal with Cosby’s former attorney, promising that if the comedian didn’t plead the fifth in Constand’s lawsuit against him, criminal charges wouldn’t be filed in connection with Constand’s case. But her lawyers say such an agreement never happened, and the courts ruled in their favor — so the depositions remain.
Without physical evidence from the 12-year-old case, the prosecution’s argument hinges largely on those depositions and on Constand’s word. Though dozens of other women have said Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them over the course of several decades, it’s unclear if that evidence will be admitted. Pennsylvania law doesn’t allow what’s called “past bad acts” to be admitted into evidence unless they can be used to establish an M.O.
In February, Cosby sued Constand, her mother, her attorneys and the parent company of the National Enquirer.