Bill Cosby Trial, Day 3 — Accuser Returns to Witness Stand After Dramatic Testimony
After a stunning first day of revelations, Andrea Constand was back on the witness stand to resume her testimony accusing Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting her in 2004.
Tuesday (June 6) was just the second day of proceedings at a courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, and courtroom watchers -- including the judge and Cosby's defense team -- were shocked that the prosecution decided to call Constand so early in the trial.
As Constand spoke from the witness stand, jurors got a chance to fully understand how Cosby's (alleged) schemes worked -- similar to what many other women have detailed in interviews and articles in recent years. At this point, more than 40 women have come forward claiming Cosby victimized them. Constand is the first to actually confront him in court.
Constand, 44, told her story of how she got to know Cosby, 79, during her time at Temple University in Philadelphia, where Cosby was a trustee, how he worked to gain her trust as he mentored her, and then how he abused that trust by (allegedly) tricking her into consuming three pills that would knock her unconscious and render her unable to fight back when he began to grope and penetrate her.
After having dinner at Cosby's house outside the city in January 2004, Constand (right) testified, the former sitcom star known as "America's Dad" handed her three blue pills. Constand asked what they were, if they were herbal or natural.
"He said, ‘Put them down [your throat]. They’re your friends. They’ll take the edge off,' " she said on the stand.
Soon after, Constand continued, she felt woozy, that she was seeing double and began slurring her speech. She explained that Cosby led her to the couch, where she fell unconscious, only to wake up and find herself unable to move while Cosby stood over her. Constand's words on the stand about what happened next were chilling:
I felt Mr. Cosby’s hands groping my breasts under my shirt. I also felt his hand inside my vagina moving in and out. I felt him take my hand and place it on his penis and move it back and forth. ...
In my head I was trying to get my hands to move or my legs to move, but I was frozen and those messages didn’t get there.
Cosby has admitted, in a previous deposition that was unsealed in 2015, that he had acquired quaaludes, a powerful sedative, in the past to give to women before having sex with them.
When Cosby's attorney, Angela C. Agrusa, cross-examined Constand, she attempted to poke holes in her story, pointing out inconsistencies in an attempt to discredit her. "You changed your story," she claimed of Constand, which Constand denied, saying any errors were the result of simple mistakes.
On Wednesday, Agrusa continued questioning Constand, who by most accounts stood her ground. Agrusa's defense of Cosby centers around the idea while he admits there was a sexual encounter, that it was consensual, and that for a long time after the events of that night at Cosby's house, he and Constand remained friendly and in touch.
Cosby (his 2015 mug shot, right, courtesy of the Montgomery County district attorney's office) has largely remained stoic and non-responsive in court, but outside the building he has behaved quite differently.
On the first day of the trial, he arrived with his former Cosby Show co-star, Keshia Knight Pulliam, who played his daughter Rudy on the show. After Constand's testimony on Tuesday, Cosby shouted his famous Fat Albert catchphrase "Hey, hey, hey" to bystanders. And on Wednesday, he was escorted inside by another former on-screen partner, Sheila Frazier, who was in 1977's California Suite. (Notably, Cosby's wife, Camille, has not appeared with him.)
Taken together, it could be a strategy to win public support in an attempt to sway members of the jury to his side. That may or may not work, but so far, what has transpired inside the courtroom has been devastating.
Cosby faces three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault, which could come with a maximum sentence of 10 years each. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
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