NORRISTOWN — With Andrea Constand on the stand, Bill Cosby lawyer Angela Agrusa sought to illustrate that his and Constand’s relationship before the alleged assault took place had been romantic. She led Constand into questions about previous encounters that included dinner and wine in a dimly-lit room and suggested she welcomed a Cosby advance.
“So at some point after that night at his home,” Agrusa asked, “you allowed him to touch your thigh?”
Constand quickly corrected her. “You said allowed,” Constand said. “Mr. Cosby did that on his own volition.”
For nearly eight hours of testimony stretching over two days Constand was unflappable, explaining away, with the aid of prosecutor Kristen Feden, many of the inconsistencies the defense tried to exploit. It’s likely Constand is the lone Cosby accuser out of almost 60 who will see her claim of sexual assault tested in court, and she repeated over and over she did not consent to his actions on a winter night in 2004.
The jury will decide whether Cosby is guilty based on a standard of reasonable doubt. If there’s any inkling a witness might not be telling the truth, Cosby could get a not guilty verdict. Constand walked away from the stand giving them little reason to have any.
These are the pivotal moments from her two days of testimony:
Prosecution explains 53 phone calls to Cosby
Cosby’s defense team spent nearly an hour grilling Constand about phone calls to Cosby Wednesday morning. Between the time of the alleged sexual assault — sometime between mid-January and mid-February 2004 — and the time she quit working as the director of operations for Temple women’s basketball, records illustrated Constand had called a number belonging to Cosby 53 times. The defense made it appear she had been calling him with great frequency without asking her for any alternate explanation.
On re-direct, Feden brought up the phone record again. She explained that before many of the calls to Cosby’s number Constand had dialed her own number, the way people used to do to check voicemail back in the day, suggesting she was returning his calls. Feden also noted the calls ended on March 31 of that year, the same day Constand quit her job at Temple.
“What was the only reason you spoke to him during that time?” asked Feden. Constand answered it was only for Temple women’s basketball. Feden asked whether they had any reason to speak once she left Temple.
“No,” Constand said.
On Tuesday, Constand also recalled a time when she went back to his home not long after the alleged assault with the goal of asking him what he’d given her.
“I said, ‘I want to talk to you about what you did to me when I was here the last time that put me in that state,’” she testified. “And Mr. Cosby looked at me and said, ‘I thought you had an orgasm, didn’t you?’
“And I said, ‘I did not, I just want to know what you gave me.’ And he said, ‘wait, wait, wait.’ And he wanted to speak to me very close to where the incident occurred… I realized at that point that he was not going to tell me what he gave to me that night.” And so she left.
Constand explains why she took Cosby’s pills
On Tuesday, Constand testified under direct examination about the January 2004 night in question when she says Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her inside his home (which came after a series of other “suggestive” moves he’d made, she said). Constand told jurors that Cosby offered her three small, blue pills. And she took them.
“I said, ‘what are they? Are they natural? Are they herbal?’” she testified. “He nodded yes with his head. He said, ‘put ‘em down, they’re your friends. They’ll take the edge off.’”
Constand testified that she didn’t think much of it, and that she and Cosby had had a number of discussions in the past about her interest in natural and herbal supplements.
“I spoke a lot about health and supplements and, in general, things like spirulina (a natural algae) and homeopathic remedies,” she testified. “He had a doctor friend I spoke to at one point to talk about spirulina. He knew I took medications and that we had conversed about natural medicines and supplements before.”
The moment that made Cosby put his head in his hands
Cosby’s demeanor noticeably changed when Constand began testifying about what she remembers after taking the pills. She said she recalls starting to feel woozy about 20 or 30 minutes after ingesting them, which would have been sometime around 9 or 9:15 p.m.
“I began to slur my words and I also told Mr. Cosby that I had trouble seeing him, that I could see two of him,” she testified. “… When I stood up, my legs were not strong and I began to panic a little bit, and Mr. Cosby helped me by my arm and he assisted me over to a couch and said just relax.”
She continued to describe the assault:
“I have no recollection until, at some point later, I was jolted conscious — jolted awake,” she testified. “And I felt Mr. Cosby’s hand groping my breasts under my shirt. I also felt his hand inside my vagina moving in and out. And I felt him take my hand and place it on his penis and move it back and forth. “
At that moment in the courtroom, Cosby sat up, placed his hand over his head and seemed to shake his head back and forth “no.”
Constand pushed back at the defense’s characterization of her previous interactions with Cosby
Constand described two interactions with Cosby prior to the alleged assault in which she said the comedian made “suggestive” moves, including putting his hand on her thigh. It’s clear she didn’t want jurors to think she’d had sexual contact with Cosby prior to the night of the alleged assault.
“You had two evenings of sexual contact prior to the night in question?” Agrusa asked Constand.
“Not that I would consider sexual contact,” Constand replied. “I said it was suggestive.”
“So when there was touching of the thigh, that would include by your definition sexual contact?” Agrusa asked moments later.
“Suggestive contact,” Constand said again.
Constand provides a clear timeline of what happened after their first meeting
Under direct examination Tuesday, Constand was able to lay out several additional times that she and Cosby interacted over what she said was about a 16-month period prior to the alleged assault. She described several dinner parties at his Cheltenham home, as well as his offers to invite her and her family to New York City on multiple occasions.
She also admitted to, on at least one occasion, accepting money from Cosby, who reimbursed her for a train ticket to New York. Constand testified that during that trip, Cosby introduced her to a man who he said could help her in her career — she aspired to one day get into sports broadcasting.
Constand’s literal Bill Cosby nightmare
Constand went a year before she told family members about what she said had happened that night in Cosby’s home. Sometime in the middle of January 2005, she told her mother that Cosby had “sexually violated” her and that she “did not consent to what he did” to her.
What made her disclose to her mother after a year or more?
“I had a bad dream that night, and I woke up crying in my sleep,” she said. “It was on my mind. That night that I had previously saw him kept coming back into my consciousness. And I had a bad dream. And I woke up crying, so I called her.”
From there, Constand’s mother urged her to contact police, setting off what’s now the only criminal case Cosby faces.
Constand’s mother took the stand Wednesday after Constand and said those nightmares continued when Constand moved back home.
“I could hear her, the fact that she screamed after the nightmares,” Constand’s mother said. “As it went on — and it was very very frequent — she would scream in her sleep or she would wake up in a sweat.”
How the prosecution closed with Constand
After discussing what Constand didn’t tell police during interviews after she first accused Cosby, Feden said, “Let’s talk about what you did tell the police.” This was their exchange:
Feden: You also told those police what it was the defendant told you he was giving you?
Feden: What did he tell you?
Constand: Herbal pills to help ease tension and relax.
Feden: You told them he touched your breast?
Feden: You told police after the pills and you were incapacitated he took your hand and put it on his penis?
Feden: Also, you told police he gave you those pills and slipped his finger in your vagina?
Feden: You were unable to consent, right?
Constand: That’s right.
Feden: And that you did not consent?