Updated: 4:20 p.m.
NORRISTOWN — At times during the last year-plus, Bill Cosby’s defense team has brought up the dozens of swirling allegations around the comedian, once calling the alleged victims who’ve come out against him “bandwagon” accusers. On Monday, attorney Brian McMonagle was even more blunt. He pointed the finger not just at Cosby’s accusers but at the prosecution for bringing up this sexual assault charge in the first place.
“This case never had anything to do with Andrea Constand,” he said, referring to the former Temple University employee the comedian is charged with sexually assaulting. “All they’re trying to do is smear.”
McMonagle gave those comments this afternoon as part of a motion to exclude using as evidence comments Cosby made about quaaludes in a 2005 deposition as part of a Constand civil suit, and comments about Spanish Fly in a book and on “Larry King Live.”
Judge Steven T. O’Neill did not give any indication of when he would rule but ordered both sides to file any more information they had for presenting their cases on the quaaludes and Spanish Fly evidence within 15 days. He also said any other motions must be filed within 15 days.
O’Neill began the hearing this morning by summarizing all the different motions and rulings that had been made since Cosby was first charged with the sexual assault of Constand in December 2015.
“It’s been a year and a half,” O’Neill said. “We’ve been at this a long time.”
The discussion over Spanish Fly lasted only a few minutes, the prosecution arguing it as relevant evidence showing similar behavior to what he’s being charged with and the defense dismissing the comments as a joke.
“It was comedy,” McMonagle said. “It was not an admission. It’s not relevant.”
Instead, most of the afternoon was spent on discussing the quaaludes comments. Nobody’s debating whether Cosby ever admitted to using quaaludes. He did admit it. In a deposition from a civil suit brought against him by Constand, Cosby said he obtained quaaludes in the 1970s and answered affirmatively that he was going to use them on women he wanted to have sex with. In the deposition, Cosby’s attorney said Cosby gave quaaludes to only one woman.
O’Neill has previously ruled the deposition could be used as evidence, but this argument dealt with only this certain piece of it. Cosby’s lawyers said the statements about quaaludes shouldn’t be included as evidence, citing a decision made earlier this year to include only testimony from one past alleged victim, accuser No. 6. McMonagle argued Cosby admitted to using the quaaludes just one time and on one woman in the 1970s, decades before he allegedly sexually assaulted Constand.
“On the eve of the championship of March Madness,” McMonagle said of the prosecution, “they tried to do a back play on you, on us.”
That wasn’t the only time McMonagle went heavy on metaphor. To describe how he thought the quaaludes testimony wasn’t related to the Constand case, he said, “it’s apples and oranges. It’s lightning and lightning bug.”
He began his argument for why the evidence should be excluded by saying of him and Cosby: “We’re both blind. He can’t see, and sometimes my blindness prevents me from seeing the truth. Last night when I read the government’s submission it occurred to me…what does this quaalude use in the 1970s have to do with Andrea Constand? It suddenly hit me between the eyes and now I could see: This case has never had anything to do with Andrea Constand.”
M. Stewart Ryan, speaking for the Commonwealth, said the case was related, pointing out how Cosby also said in the deposition he used a different kind of pill on Constand.
“Which again brings it square within what he’s claiming to have done in prior cases,” Ryan said.
O’Neill questioned why the lengthy period of time from when Cosby used the quaaludes should lead him to rule the evidence inadmissible. However he may rule on the use of Spanish Fly and quaaludes, O’Neill appears determined for this trial to actually begin on the scheduled date of June 5. He said he hoped this would be the last pretrial hearing but acknowledged the possibility there could still be more.
“I’m not interested,” O’Neill said, “in slowing this.”