The woman who accuses Bill Cosby of drugging and violating her more than a decade ago stood by her story at his sex-crimes trial June 7, withstanding hours of often ponderous cross-examination that didn’t produce the stumbles the TV star might have hoped for.
Calm and composed, Andrea Constand brushed off suggestions she and Cosby had a romantic relationship before the 2004 encounter at his suburban Philadelphia home.
Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial, June 7. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
And she explained away the numerous phone calls she made to him afterward by saying she was merely returning Cosby’s messages about the women’s basketball squad at Temple University, where he was a powerful member of the board of trustees and she was director of team operations.
Constand, 44, left the witness stand after some seven hours of testimony over two days, during which she told the jury that the comedian gave her three blue pills and then penetrated her with his fingers as she lay paralyzed on a couch, unable to tell him to stop.
Constand’s mother followed her on the stand and bolstered her daughter’s account. Gianna Constand told the jury that she was distraught to learn what Cosby had done to her daughter.
Cosby is charged with aggravated indecent assault. The 79-year-old comedian once dubbed America’s Dad could get 10 years in prison if convicted.
Cosby’s lawyers have argued that the sexual encounter with Constand was consensual and have cited phone records showing she called the TV star 53 times afterward, including one call that lasted 20 minutes.
But Constand said she was returning calls Cosby made to her university-issued cellphone about the basketball team.
Constand’s long-awaited showdown with Cosby’s lawyers became bogged down in a painstaking examination of her phone records and police statements, and the defense couldn’t budge her off her account of molestation and broken trust.
Constand was direct and polite under crossexamination, even when Agrusa’s questioning grew pointed and accusatory. Cosby kept still, looking down at the defense table through most of the morning.
Constand said she was going to confront Cosby about the assault during an event he was hosting at his home for high school students. At the same time, Constand said, she was bringing Cosby a gift from a mutual acquaintance.
Agrusa seized on the seeming contradiction: “You were going to confront the man you say assaulted you and you’re bringing him bath salts?”
The defense lawyer sought to show that Constand changed her mind about the date of the alleged assault. But Constand perhaps blunted the attack by saying she got confused and initially thought the episode happened in March 2004.
“I was mistaken,” she said, unflustered.
Some 60 women have come forward to say Cosby sexually violated them, all but destroying his nice-guy image, but the statute of limitations for prosecution had run out in nearly every case. Constand’s case is the only one in which Cosby has been charged.