NORRISTOWN, Pennsylvania—Famed book publisher Judith Regan took the stand at Bill Cosby’s criminal trial Wednesday morning to confirm that she told model Janice Dickinson she couldn’t include her account of being drugged and raped by Cosby in her memoir due to potential legal issues.
“I remember at one point she told me she’d been raped by Mr. Cosby, drugged and raped, and she wanted to include that in the book,” Regan told the jury. “And at that time I told her… after conversations with the legal department, without corroboration those sorts of stories would be impossible to publish because of potential legal problems.”
And by corroboration, Reagan said she meant “a witness.” She also said she believed Dickinson, calling her account “credible because of the way she told it, with great emotion.”
Dickinson was not happy with the decision and was “insistent and angry” about including it, Regan said.
“Whenever she discussed the subject she was upset,” she said. “She was very angry. She continued to be very angry we could not include it in the book.”
In the end, the 2002 memoir No Lifeguard on Duty was published with just a small mention of Cosby, with Dickinson saying she went to his hotel room in Tahoe that night in 1982 but did not go in.
Regan’s testimony occurred on the eighth day of Cosby’s criminal trial. Cosby, 80, is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his Pennsylvania home 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 a jury deadlocked and couldn’t reach a verdict.
This time O’Neill allowed five other accusers to testify about allegedly being drugged and sexually assaulted by Cosby.
Dickinson was one of them, saying in 1982 Cosby offered to mentor her and invited her to Lake Tahoe. At dinner she said she complained of menstrual cramps so he gave her a pill to help. She said they went up to his room not long afterward and she became dizzy and couldn’t move or speak while he raped her.
Defense attorney Tom Mesereau grilled Dickinson about many of the anecdotes in her book about doing drugs and drinking, which she said were not accurate, citing “poetic license” as the reason.
So Mesereau tried without success to get Regan to admit she knowingly published a book with falsehoods in it, especially since she admitted Dickinson’s account of what happened with Cosby in the book is not what she initially told her.
“When I publish a person’s memoir… it is their duty to provide a manuscript that is, to their knowledge, truthful,” Regan said. “In the case of Janice Dickinson she wanted to include the story of Bill Cosby drugging and raping her, which is how she described it to me. Because of our vetting process, and this is not uncommon in memoirs, we told her she could not include that.”
So did you publish the true story, Mesereau asked?
“Again it is a complex situation when you’re publishing memoirs because people are entitled to interpret the events in their life the way they see fit,” she said. “She was, in my estimation, telling me a story that she wanted to include that we refused to include. And we told her she wanted to address the story she had to do it in a different way.”
After Regan was done, Montgomery County Det. James Reape was back to read excerpts of Cosby’s deposition in Constand’s civil suit against him where he admitted to offering quaaludes to women he wanted to have sex with.
The prosecution has one more witness to testify who isn’t available until Thursday. The defense will next began presenting its case with witnesses, which it didn’t do in the first trial.
O’Neill asked Cosby several questions to make sure he understood he did not have to put up a defense and Cosby responded that he understood.
The defense began presenting its case around noon Wednesday with their star witness taking the stand around 2 p.m.
Temple University employee Marguerite “Margo” Jackson testified about a conversation she said she had with Constand in February 2004 when they shared a room while traveling with the women’s basketball team in Rhode Island
“We were watching the news and they were talking about a high-profile celebrity essentially sexually assaulting a woman,” Jackson testified. “She said something similar happened to her… I said, ‘Did you report it?’ She said ‘No.’ I said, ‘Why?’ And she said, ‘Because I couldn’t prove it.’”
Jackson said she told her she would report if it happened to her.
“I said, ‘I wouldn’t care who it was. I would report it,’” she testified. “Andrea said, ‘Because it’s a high-profile figure. I can’t fight that.’ Then I asked if it really happened and she said, ‘No it didn’t. I could say it did and quit my job and go back to school.’”
Added Jackson: “This is about money.”
Cosby defense attorney Kathleen Bliss provided no travel records to show Constand and Jackson had roomed together. Constand testified that she always had her own room while traveling with the Temple women’s basketball team and she never had that conversation with Jackson.
However, Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Stewart Ryan showed Jackson her expense report records and noted she had no expenses associated with traveling with the women’s basketball team in 2004, when she said the incident occurred, while she had submitted expenses twice in 2003.
John Conrad St. Marthe, Cosby’s personal chef from 1990 to May 2003 at his Elkins Park home, was the third witness. He testified about Constand coming to dinner four or five times there, sometimes alone and sometimes with other guests.
He described Cosby and Constand’s relationship as “friendly. Two people who seemed to have a good friendship… I never witnessed any intimate contact between Miss Constand and Mr. Cosby.”
Constand said he called her to find out her dietary preferences on one occasion but St. Marthe said he had “no recollection” of doing that.