NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CN) – Two women whose assault claims against Bill Cosby are too old to prosecute took the stand Wednesday to testify that the comedian was drugging and abusing victims decades before he did the same to Andrea Constand.
“You remember, don’t you, Mr. Cosby?” Chelan Lasha said this morning, turning to confront the 80-year-old entertainer after describing an allegedly nonconsensual encounter in 1986.
A household icon from his days playing Dr. Cliff Huxtable on his family television program, Cosby turned away and smiled slightly at Lasha’s remark.
In 1986, when she became friendly with Cosby through a family connection, Lasha was a 17-year-old aspiring model and actress.
Sobbing uncontrollably, she told jurors that Cosby lured her to a Las Vegas hotel room with the promise of arranging a photo shoot for her.
Like Constand, who claims that she became incapacitated after ingesting three blue pills Cosby gave her, Lasha testified that Cosby gave her a blue pill he described as an antihistamine to help her get over a cold.
Paired with two shots of amaretto “to help break up the cough,” Lasha said, the cocktail left her immobilized and unable to speak.
“I could barely move,” she said. “He guided me there, and he laid me in the bed. I couldn’t move any more after that. He laid next to me, and he kept touching my breast and humping my leg. I remember something warm hitting my leg.”
Lasha is one of five women whom Montgomery County prosecutors plan to call at the trial to show that the allegations against Cosby leveled by Constand, who turned 45 on Wednesday, fit a pattern.
Earlier this morning, Cosby’s defense team concluded cross-examination with the first witness from this group, Heidi Thomas, who met Cosby in 1984 when she was a 24-year-old aspiring actress.
In Reno, Nevada, Thomas says her agent had arranged for Cosby to give her acting tips, but that she quickly became incapacitated as they rehearsed a scene in which she was portraying a drunken woman.
After taking a sip of white wine that Cosby gave her, Thomas said her next memory was waking up with Cosby forcing her to perform oral sex on him.
Cosby’s lawyers made several unsuccessful motions for a mistrial as the explosive testimony wrapped up Wednesday with defense attorney Kathleen Bliss inquiring why Thomas waited until 2015 to go public with her allegations against Cosby.
“I want to see a serial rapist convicted,” Thomas said.
At Cosby’s last trial, which ended in a mistrial, the defense attempted to show that the comedian and Constand had a consensual, romantic relationship.
With celebrity attorney Tom Mesereau at the helm this year, however, the defense is taking the offensive against Constand. Mesereau told the jury in his opening statement that Constand is a con artist who set the comedian up for a big pay day.
Unlike at Cosby’s first trial, Judge Steven O’Neill permitted the current jury to learn that Cosby paid Constand $3.4 million in 2006 to settle civil rape claims.
The prosecution’s plan to pair Constand’s testimony with those of five other alleged Cosby victims is another difference from the last trial where only one other woman was allowed to testify that Cosby assaulted her.
Also new for this trial is expected testimony from a former co-worker of Constand’s at Temple University, where Cosby had been a trustee.
As laid out in an affidavit, Marguerite “Mo” Jackson will testify that Constand confided in her about a plan to extort a celebrity.
“A con artist is what you get, ladies and gentlemen of the jury,” Mesereay said Tuesday. “A con artist. And we’ll prove it.”
The defense has also sought to portray fellow witness Lasha as a chronic liar, noting for the jury that she pleaded guilty in 2007 to filing a false police report in Arizona. Though Lasha’a attorney Gloria Allred has called the information irrelevant, Cosby’s defense attorney Jaya Gupta said the conviction “bears on her veracity.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.