Cosby Defense Team Highlights Accuser’s Early Fumbles

Bill Cosby accuser Andrea Constand arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse on Wednesday for the third day of Cosby’s sexual assault trial in Norristown, Pennsylvania. (Pool photo via Courthouse News by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CN) – Grilling Bill Cosby’s sexual-assault accuser in her second day on the stand, defense counsel worked Wednesday to undermine Andrea Constand’s credibility.

“You knew from that night he was interested in you romantically,” attorney Angela Agrusa said, referring to a dinner party at Cosby’s home, months before the alleged assault, where Constand says the comedian touched her suggestively.

“No, ma’am, I did not,” replied Constand, wearing a white blazer over a blue cardigan. “He made a pass at me.”

Constand testified Tuesday under direct examination that she had left the dinner abruptly when Cosby put his hand on her waist and tried to unbutton her pants.

“You allowed him to touch you?” Agrusa asked this morning.

“No,” Constand fired back. “I didn’t allow him, it was his own volition.” 

The only one of Cosby’s dozens of assault accusers whose claims are not too old to prosecute, Constand says Cosby drugged and assaulted her at his Cheltenham home in 2004. Constand, who is gay, met the comedian 16 months earlier through her job as director of basketball operations at Temple University, a Philadelphia area school where Cosby was a trustee.

With assistance from his aide, Bill Cosby arrives at the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas on Wednesday for day 3 of his sexual assault trial in Norristown, Pa. (Pool photo via Courthouse News by ED HILLE / The Philadelphia Inquirer)

In her first day on the stand, prosecutors walked Constand through a series of dinners and getaways she took with the comedian before he allegedly attacked her.

Agrusa zeroed in Wednesday on the night in 2003 when Constand says she lay down beside Cosby in his hotel room at the Fox Woods casino in Connecticut.

Constand disagreed with the attorney’s suggestion that they were in bed together. “I was reclined on my elbow with my feet off the bed, watching Mr. Cosby sleep,” she said.

After returning to her room, Constand said she called Sherri Williams.

“I spoke to her at all hours,” Constand said. “Morning, noon and night.”

Though the trial has not touched on Constand’s sexual orientation, her attorneys noted in 2015 filings that Constand was dating a woman at the time Cosby assaulted her.

It is unclear at this point if Williams and Constand were dating. When Cosby was being deposed for the civil case with Constand in 2005, he testified that he only learned Constand was gay when police informed him that year.

Jumping from the night in Connecticut to the night of the alleged assault, Agrusa had Constand admit that she told Cosby she was “stressed” and “not sleeping.”

Agrusa asked why Constand took the blue pills Cosby offered her, and Constand said she wanted to “relax.”

“He had never disclosed to me that he had affection for me,” Constand added.

Constand clarified this point in light of her admission that she told her friend Williams that Cosby had made a pass at her. “He never disclosed to me that he had a romantic interest in me,” she said.

“But didn’t you change your hair and makeup for him?” Agrusa asked.

“It was for my headshots … to change my look,” Constand replied.

Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Kristen Feden walks to the courtroom on June 6, 2017, for Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial. (Pool photo by Matt Rourke/AP via Courthouse News Service)

Later on redirect Assistant District Attorney Kristen Feden had Constand read aloud her police statement to contradict the suggestion that her interest in Cosby was not platonic.

 “No, it was not a romantic time,” Constand read.

Feden also brought up the pills that Cosby allegedly told Constand were “herbal” and could “help her relax.”

“Have you ever taken Benadryl?” Feden asked. “Did you ever consent to taking any pills that were not herbal on the night of the assault?” 

“No,” Constand replied to both questions.

From his seat at the defense table, Cosby hunched over in his chair, staring blankly at the floor, as Feden walked Constand through the graphic details of her report.

“Without your consent, he then inserted his fingers into YOUR VA-GIN-A,” Feden shouted, dragging out the last word for emphasis.

“Yes,” Constand said somberly.

“After you were incapacitated he touched your breasts, correct?” Feden asked.

“Yes.”

“And he made you touch his penis, correct?” Feden pushed on.

“Yes,” Constand said.

“And you didn’t consent to ANY of this? CORRECT?” the prosecutor shouted.

“Yes,” Constand said.

Bill Cosby accuser Andrea Constand arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse on Wednesday for the third day of Cosby’s sexual assault trial in Norristown, Pennsylvania. (Pool photo via Courthouse News by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

Agrusa also grilled Constand about inconsistencies in her initial report to police about the night of the assault. In 2005, Constand told police in Canada, where she was living at the time, that the assault happened on March 16, 2004.

Six days later she told the Cheltenham police that she was assaulted sometime between mid-January and mid-February.

“Ma’am, I was mistaken,” Constand told Agrusa this morning about the date change.  

Constand’s initial statement to Canadian police on Jan. 13 alleged that the assault at Cosby’s home happened after they had gone to dinner on March 16 with representatives of Philadelphia’s Central High School.

Agrusa noted that before they went to police, however, Constand’s mother in Canada called a guidance counselor at Philadelphia Central High School to confirm the date of the dinner. That same day in January 2005, Constand’s mother purchased the device she used to record her phone conversation with Cosby.

When Constand spoke  to the Cheltenham police over the phone on Jan. 22, however, she changed her story, saying she was not assaulted after the dinner.

“I recalled as best I could,” Constand said.

Agrusa next asked about phone records that show Constand made a series of phone calls on March 16, proving she could not have been assaulted that day.

The attorney noted that Constand called former co-workers from Temple University in 2005 to get those phone records.

Constand denied Agrusa’s implication that she was calling around, “trying to get the dates right.”

“No, ma’am,” she said.

Celebrity attorney Gloria Allred arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse on Wednesday, the third day of the Bill Cosby sexual assault trial in Norristown, Pennsylvania. (Pool photo via Courthouse News by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

It did not take long on redirect, however, for Assistant District Attorney Kristen Feden to undercut the “inferences” she said were made in opposing counsel’s five-hour cross-examination.

Though Agrusa focused on phone records that show Constand called Cosby 53 times in the months after her alleged assault, Feden emphasized that an outgoing call to Constand’s own number preceded nearly each of the calls to Cosby.

“Back in the day,” Feden reminded jurors, “you would have to call your own number to check your voicemail.”

“Every time it looked like Constand was reaching out to Cosby, she was really just returning his voicemails,” Feden said.

“He was on the board of trustees at [her] employment,” she added.

Once Constand left Temple on March 31, 2004, the ADA noted, she no longer had a reason to speak to Cosby. There were calls in which Constand confronted Cosby on the sexual assault, Feden said, but “there were no calls between March 31 and August.”

Agrusa was more successful, however, in emphasizing the calls Constand made to Cosby from Canada, where she secured tickets for her family to see him perform.

“You didn’t leave that show early,” Agrusa asked Constand, “or make up an excuse to stay home, did you?” 

“No,” Constand replied, conceding that she did attend the show with her family.

Bill Cosby departs the Montgomery County Courthouse on June 7, 2017. (Pool photo via Courthouse News by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

After afternoon break, Andrea Constand’s mother, Gianna Constand, took the stand. Short in stature, she wore a bright yellow top and blue blazer and spoke with a soft voice.

District Attorney Kevin Steele led the questioning, establishing that Gianna Constand met Cosby after a show in Canada in 2004 – but she couldn’t remember the name of the room where the meeting took place.  “Oh, dear, I don’t know,” she said.

“The Backroom, or Back Stage,” Judge O’Neill suggested.

“Oh, that’s it,” she said with a smile. “Sorry, I had lost my train of thought.”

The courtroom laughed along with her, and the jury smiled at her during her testimony.

“We were excited to go and see him,” she said. Noticing that Cosby always wore sweatshirts, she had gone to the mall and bought an extra-large sweatshirt for him, putting it in a gift bag.

She said during the show, she noticed her daughter “wasn’t paying any attention” and appeared like she “didn’t want to be there.”

She claims they did not stay until the end.

Gianna Constand then corroborated her daughter’s testimony, recalling changes in sleep patterns.

“She was always more nervous,” she said.  “She screamed after the nightmares,” which Gianna recalled happening “very frequently.”

“Mom, I think I have PTSD,” Constand told her mother, according to Gianna’s testimony. Her daughter confided that, “He [Cosby] drugged me and raped me.”

“I believed and I know, what she told me was right,” Gianna said.

Brian McMonagle, an attorney for Bill Cosby, shares a laugh outside the courtroom on June 7, 2017, at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania. (Pool photo via Courthouse News Service by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

Gianna tried to call Cosby, but he didn’t answer.

When Cosby returned her phone call, she talked to him for over two hours, grilling him on what medication he had given Andrea and what he had done afterward.

He responded that he “couldn’t read the name on the prescription bottle,” but that he would mail her the name of it.

She said Cosby called her “mom” on the phone.

“He said that he was touching her breast,” Gianna said, but he then added, “Don’t worry, Mom, there was not penal penetration, just digital penetration.”

Gianna said he tried to make it sound like Andrea consented.

She claims Cosby said, “Mom, she even had an orgasm.”

When Gianna asked Cosby why he had sexually assaulted her daughter, he “admitted he was a sick man,” she said.

Cosby reportedly apologized and offered to pay for therapy for Andrea.

While Gianna testified, Cosby sat with one hand holding up his head on the desk.

When District Attorney Kevin Steele asked Gianna if she wished she had done anything differently, she responded, “Yes, I wish I recorded it.”

The next day, she went to Radio Shack and bought a recording device for future calls.

One of her recorded calls was played for the court.

In the recording, Cosby asked about Andrea being interested in sports broadcasting.  “I would be willing to…because she has to go to school and hone those skills…but if she wanted to do that, I would be willing to meet with you guys, lay out what I think….and pay for the schooling…as long as she maintains a 3.0 average, she’ll be fine,” he said.

During the conversation, Cosby heard a beeping and asked if Gianna was recording him. She said the sound was her parrot.

“I do have a parrot, and his name is Ozzy,” she said.

Members of the jury giggled.

Before the end of the recorded conversation, Gianna asked if Cosby was going to send her “the piece of paper,” and Cosby evaded answering, instead asking to just “set up a meeting.”

Gianna said her motive in recording Cosby “was to go back to that conversation where he made admissions.”

She also expressed worry over what the “Cosby Camp” would do if her daughter’s accusations went public.

Breaking into tears, she said, “I was very upset because, you know, he mentored her, and they were good friends, she viewed him like a father. And he is 10 years older than her own father.”

“I was distraught that he did that to her, that he drugged her,” she said through sobs. “He betrayed her.”

Agrusa led cross-examination, asking if Gianna knew about her daughter’s intimate relationship with Cosby.

“There was NO intimate relationship,” Gianna fired back.

“Emotionally intimate,” Agrusa clarified.

Agrusa then reminded them that they had known Cosby was a married man, inferring that he apologized merely because he had relations outside of his marriage.

After questioning Gianna about lying to Cosby about the beeping on the recording and whether she had helped her daughter find dates for the reported assault, Gianna said, “It seems to me that you’re asking irrelevant questions” for the purpose of “testing my memory.”

Although those in the courtroom chuckled, Judge O’Neill admonished Gianna to answer the questions without comment.

Agrusa asked her final question: “You love your daughter, don’t you?”

“We love all of our children,” Gianna said.

That concluded the day’s testimony.

 

%d bloggers like this: