NORRISTOWN, Pennsylvania — Andrea Constand, who claims Bill Cosby sexually assaulted her in 2004 took the stand for a second day on Wednesday, facing a contentious, hours-long cross examination by an attorney from Cosby’s defense team.
Dressed casually in a white blazer and black pants, Andrea Constand mostly retained her composure as she answered a barrage of questions from defense attorney Angela Agrusa, a high-powered Los Angeles lawyer whose clients include a number of Fortune 500 companies.
Breaking a more than decade-long silence on the alleged assault, Constand described in harrowing detail what she says happened the night she went to Cosby’s home to talk about her decision to become a massage therapist after being a women’s basketball coach.
Constand said she complained to him about feeling “stressed” about the career change.
“He opened his hand and he had three blue pills in his hand,” she testified. “He said ‘these will help you relax’. ‘I said what are they ... are they herbal?’ and he he nodded his head and he said ‘They’re your friends’.”
After ingesting the pills Cosby gave her, Constand testified that he assisted her to the couch and placed a pillow under her head.
“At some point later I was jolted awake and I felt Mr. Cosby’s hands [on] my breast and his hand inside my vagina moving inside and out, and my hand on his penis and moving it back and forth,” she said, starting to cry. “I wasn’t able to — in my head — I wasn’t able to move my hands and those messages didn’t get there. I wanted it to stop.” Constand said she spent the night on Cosby’s couch and left early the next morning after taking a few sips of tea he offered her.
“I felt really humiliated and confused,” Constand said. “I just wanted to go home.”
Over two days of questioning the defense sought to chip away at Constand’s credibility and her motive for going public with the assault a year after it allegedly occurred.
Agrusa questioned Constand at length about her decision to research lawyers who specialize in civil sex-assault cases before calling police in her hometown of Durham, Ontario, in January 2005. Agrusa produced detailed phone records that show Constand attempted to contact at least five attorneys before reporting the assault.
“You were looking for advice on how to file a sexual assault lawsuit,” Agrusa stated.
“I can’t remember,” Constand replied.
“It’s fair to say you were looking for a lawyer?” Agrusa asked.
“Yes,” Constand said.
Constand, 44, became acquainted with Cosby in the early 2000s while employed at Temple University, where Cosby maintained a frequent presence as a celebrity alumnus and trustee.
Cosby’s trial on three counts of aggravated indecent assault, which began on Monday, is the only criminal case to emerge from similar accusations made by more than 50 women since the 1970s.
At least two of Cosby’s accusers, former Playboy Playmate Victoria Valentino, and model Therese Serignese, have been attending the trial to lend emotional support to Constand. A third, Kelly Johnson, testified on Monday that in 1996 -- while working at a talent agency that represented Cosby -- the actor lured her to a hotel, gave her a pill that made her lose consciousness, and assaulted her in a similar manner to Constand’s account.
The prosecution’s decision to call Constand late in the afternoon of the second day of Cosby’s trial caught many people off-guard — including Judge Steven T. O'Neill, who scolded the prosecution for deviating from court norms by calling such an important witness so late in the day. He asked counsel to inform him in the future of such a decision.
On Wednesday, Agrusa hammered Constand for inconsistencies in her previous statements to police — including telling investigators in 2005 that Cosby assaulted her in March 2004, before later changing the date the January.
“March 16th is an important day because it went from the day you were assaulted to something different,” said Agrusa, pressing Constand to explain the discrepancies.
“I was mistaken,” Constand calmly said.
The defense also accused Constand of being evasive with police in 2005 by subtracting 10 months off the total time she had known Cosby (Constand originally said it was six months, but it was actually sixteen) and for withholding from investigators that she had met with Cosby alone on several occasions and that the two had a habit of exchanging gifts.
Agrusa questioned Constand’s description of her relationship with Cosby as primarily work related, reading from a prior deposition in which Constand said there had been “suggestive contact” between she and Cosby.
But Constand held her ground as Agrusa pressed her to describe the relationship as sexual.
“Did you have prior sexual contact with Mr. Cosby prior [to reported incident]?,”Agrusa asked.
“Yes, there was some suggestive contact.”The attorney tried to get Constand to admit that she felt touching her thigh was sexual contact, but Constant wouldn’t fall for it.“Suggestive contact,” she clarified.
“You allowed Mr.Cosby to touch your thigh,” Agrusa said.
“You said ‘allowed,’ Mr. Cosby did that of his own volition,” Constand replied.
The third day of Cosby’s trial ended with testimony from Constand’s mother, who was the first person Constand told about the alleged assault, and called Cosby to confront him.
Gianna Constand said that after two hours on the phone with Cosby, “he surrendered” by apologizing for what he did to Constand.