Bill Cosby Must Face Criminal Trial

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CN) — Inconsistencies from the 2005 police report against Bill Cosby will not torpedo the assault case against the comedian’s, a Pennsylvania ruled Tuesday.
Wrapping up a nearly four-hour hearing in Montgomery County District Court Tuesday afternoon, Judge Elizabeth McHugh scheduled Cosby to face formal arraignment on July 20 for the aggravated indecent assault of Andrea Constand.
“Based on the evidence, I will hold you, Mr. Cosby, on all charges,” McHugh said. “As a result this case will move forward.”
Cosby, 78, arrived at Montgomery County District Court this morning in a gray suit and red paisley tie. He waved happily to onlookers at he entered the courthouse.
There was little to smile about in the hearing, however, where Cosby’s attorney and prosecutors dissected the Cheltenham police report compiled against Cosby in 2005.
Constand, who met Cosby through her job at Temple University, where Cosby was a trustee, says the comedian drugged and assaulted her at his home one night in January 2004.
In his 2005 statement to police about the encounter, Cosby admitted that he provided Constand with 1.5 pills of over-the counter Benadryl to help her sleep and ease tension.
Cosby did not tell Constand what the pills were, according to the statement, which Cheltenham Police Chief John Norris read on the stand this morning.
District Attorney Kevin Steel told the court the evidence shows “lack of consent.”
“Cosby put the pills in her hands and encouraged her to take the ‘herbal pills’ and drink the wine,” Steele said.
As Constand’s statement shows, her “legs were wobbly, she was nauseous and dizzy.”
“She was unable to consent,” Steel told the court. “The victim remembers his [Cosby’s] hands moving inside her vagina, but was paralyzed and could not move.”
Defense attorney Brian McMonagle meanwhile questioned how such a paralysis could have happened.
“It is undisputed that Cosby gave her Benadryl,” McMonagle said.
He said Constand contradicted herself by telling police she was paralyzed but that she also spoke.
“Those are her words, Your Honor, her testimony,” McMonagle shouted.
“There is no way in this world that someone who is incapacitated by her own drinking and her own ingestion of pills talks to this guy,” the attorney added, pointing at Cosby, “later goes out to dinner with him, and asks him for tickets to a concert.”
In his 2005 statement to police, Cosby replied “no” when asked if Andrea asked him to stop, according to the report.
The officers asked if he and Constand ever had sexual intercourse.
“Never,” Cosby said, according to the report. “Not asleep or awake.”
The police report quotes Cosby as admitting that he also spoke to Constand’s mother about the encounter, and that he apologized twice for upsetting her. “What can I do?” he said he asked.
He said the mother told him: “Your apology is enough.”
Nevertheless Cosby called back and said he would “pay for graduate school if she kept a 4.0 GPA,” he told police in 2005.
Cosby admitted to telling the mother: “I think I gave her some pills.”
But he insisted that “there was no penile penetration,” according to the police report.
“If anything, there was petting and touching,” Cosby added, specifying that the touching was of Constand’s breasts and vagina.
When asked if she was awake or paralyzed by the Benadryl, Cosby answered, “No.” When asked if Constand refused or said no to the touching, Cosby answered, “No.”
Constand has said she left the Philadelphia area and withdrew to her family’s home in Canada after Cosby attacked her.
When she brought charges against him a year later, Cosby told police that he and Constand had remained in touch and that he even visited her in the Toronto area.
Cheltenham detective Richard Schaffer took the stand this morning to testify about the telephone interview, formal interview and follow-up statement Constand gave in 2005.
Constand told police she had been to Cosby’s home “three or four times, and the visits were always business related,” said Schaffer, a 16-year veteran of the force.
During his cross-examination by Cosby’s attorney, Schaffer went through some inconsistencies in Constand’s statements.
In the first phone interview, for example, Constand said Cosby assaulted her in March. During the in-person interview, however, Constand said that the date was actually in January.
Defense attorney McMonagle leapt on this in urging the court to dismiss the case.
“She is not even sure of the date,” McMonagle said. “It may have been March, may have been January. Heck she wasn’t even sure of what year it was.”
Constand’s mother also spoke to police about her conversations with Cosby, according to the report Norris presented on the stand.
“This is a horrible thing that happened to my daughter,” Constand’s mother said, as quoted in the report.
The DA repeatedly objected in today’s hearing as McMonagle quoted other parts of Cosby’s statement meant to show that the allegedly nonconsensual encounter was not an isolated incident.
Among multiple encounters between Cosby and Constand, they visited the Fox Woods casino, and they drank red wine and cognac at Cosby’s home.
Objections continued despite warnings from Judge Elizabeth McHugh to keep a “narrow scope of the issue today.”
Cosby told police Constand gave him “jerseys, T-shirts and bath salts,” and that he gave her “three cashmere sweaters and a stop watch,” according to the police report.
Cosby recalled only once during their encounters when Andrea said “stop” during a kiss. He said that, at that time, he did stop.
Detective Schaffer noted that Constand made many edits to the report of her phone interview in 2005. After reading over the notes, she crossed out an initial statement where she was quoted saying, “The cognac is fantastic,” Schaffer said.
She also crossed out statements about watching sports television with Cosby. Another crossed-out statement that Schaffer quoted said: “He asked me to come to his bedroom while he unpacked … our legs were touching but nothing sexual.”
Schaffer said he did not remember why Constand made the corrections, and “does not recall” asking Constand at the time, 11 years ago, why she was editing her statement in this way.
Cosby had hoped to delay today’s proceedings, but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected his motion for a stay Monday.
Constand’s claim that Cosby drugged and attacked her mirrors reports given by dozens of other women dating back to the 1970s. She is the only alleged victim to hurdle the statute of limitations to bring assault claims.
Cosby remains locked in competing defamation claims with other accusers.
Despite the delay to the criminal trial on Constrand’s claims, the former Temple University employee actually pursued Cosby in civil court over a decade ago.
Damning deposition testimony that Cosby gave in 2005 — in which he admits to buying quaaludes to give to women before having sex with them — was unsealed just before the comedian’s arrest last year.
Cosby has argued that his 2005 deal with the former Montgomery County prosecutor barred the state from ever charging him on his encounter with Constand.
“There was a promise, an agreement, an obligation, a commitment, an undertaking or a decision, whatever word you want to use,” defense attorney McMonagle explained back in the February proceedings. “That promise, 11 or 12 years ago on which he [Cosby] has relied to his detriment.”
Cosby said he never would have submitted to the 2005 deposition without his understanding of this deal.

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