NORRISTOWN, Pennsylvania—Andrea Constand took the witness stand Friday morning for the second time in less than a year and accused Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting her.
When asked by Montgomery County co-prosecutor Kristen Feden why she came, Constand had a simple answer:
“For justice,” she told the jury.
Constand said she initially went to police a year after the alleged incident for one reason as well.
“I didn’t want it to happen to anyone else, what had happened to me,” she told the jury, who seemed to be engrossed in her story as they took notes throughout.
Constand began testifying on the fifth day of Cosby’s criminal trial after the jury spent three days hearing similar stories from five other accusers. Cosby, 80, is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting Constand at his Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, mansion in 2004. Cosby has denied Constand’s allegations as well as similar ones from more than 60 women.
Last June, Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill declared a mistrial after the jury could not reach a verdict. This time prosecutors took a more thorough approach with Constand, allowing her to fill in gaps that were left blank the first time and giving the jury a better glimpse of who she is and what she does now.
“I treat muscular-skeletal disorders,” Constand said. “I help people manage their stress. I treat athletes… I also treat cancer patients in all stages of survivorship and recovery.”
Prosecutors also did their best to defuse pending defense attacks on her credibility by having her address some of the most potentially damaging questions Cosby’s attorneys may have for her.
Defense attorney Tom Mesereau has made it clear he intends to portray Constand, 45, as a “con artist” who made up drugging and sexual assault allegations against Cosby to get money from him. Under questioning by Feden, Constand said she’d settled a civil suit against Cosby for $3 million but has no pending litigation against him.
One of Mesereau’s key witnesses is supposed to be Temple University employee Marguerite Jackson who claims Constand, a former Temple administrator, told her she planned to make up false sexual allegations against a “high profile person” when the two shared a hotel room together while traveling with the Temple women’s basketball team in 2004.
Asked if she knew Jackson, Constand said she’d heard of her but that she’d never shared a room with her while traveling with the team because she always had her own room.
Constand was calm and composed as she testified but got visibly sadder as she talked about the day in January 2005 when she finally told her mother what Cosby allegedly did to her.
“I’d been in massage therapy school at the time and we were learning a lot of different classes,” she said. “One was consent and boundaries. I think in my consciousness I was starting to learn a lot about consent. But on one January morning I woke up crying. I’d had a really bad dream. And I called my mother and I told her what had happened to me.”
As she did last year, Constand described how her relationship with Cosby evolved after she met him through her job at Temple, where he was on the board of trustees and a revered alumnus of the university. She said over time she came to view him as a mentor, which is why she still went to his house alone in January 2004 even after he made two sexual advances on her at different times.
“I thought it was a little bit absurd given that Mr. Cosby was just a little bit younger than my grandfather,” she said. “He was a married man and I absolutely never showed any interest in him whatsoever for him to do that. But I wasn’t threatened and I didn’t judge him.”
Constand said she went over to Cosby’s house that night because she’d designed to resign from Temple and pursue a career in massage therapy and was nervous about how to tell her boss.
She and Cosby had discussed many times how she was into homeopathic medicine and didn’t take prescription drugs or even an Advil if she could avoid it. So when he offered her three blue pills he said were herbal, she believed him.
“I trusted him,” she said.
Within minutes she was groggy and dizzy and he had to lead her over to a couch where he laid her down while she couldn’t speak or move, Constand said.
“I was kind of jolted awake and felt Mr. Cosby on the couch beside me, behind me and my vagina was being penetrated quite forcefully,” she said. “I felt my breasts being touched and he took my hand and placed my hand on his penis and masturbated himself with my hand.
“I couldn’t fight him off,” she said.
Constand said she tried to confront him a couple of months later at his home, to find out what he gave her and why he assaulted her, but gave up in frustration after he said to her, “You had an orgasm.”
She said over the next year she wasn’t herself.
When she finally confided in her mother a year later, they both spoke to Cosby on the phone after Constand called the police.
“I really wanted to know what Mr. Cosby gave me and why he did that to me,” she said. “I just wasn’t myself.”
And Constand said she was petrified he would retaliate against her and her family for reporting him to police, she said, so she called some attorneys to get some legal advice.
“I was really scared and I wanted to protect myself,” she said. “I didn’t know where to turn. I had a lot of questions. And then I thought that Mr. Cosby would retaliate against me, that he would try to hurt my family… he’s a powerful man.”
Mesereau spent more than two hours Friday afternoon trying to trip up Constand on inconsistencies in the accounts she gave various police departments and her own deposition in her civil suit against the entertainer.
Constand stayed calm, trying her best to answer his questions and explain why some details were different in each of the police reports.
“I was just trying to recall an enormous amount of information and I was very nervous and I was trying to piece it together,” she said. “It was just confusion on my part.”
He then grilled her about whether she thought Cosby was physically or sexually attracted to her back then.
“No,” she answered.
“Not when he touched your thigh?” Mesereau asked, referring to an incident at Cosby’s home where Cosby placed his hand on her thigh then removed it.
“No,” she replied. “He never said that. He was a married man. I didn’t think he’d be attracted to me.”
He will resume his cross-examination of her Monday morning.