NORRISTOWN, Pa. – Andrea Constand remained calm and composed Tuesday as she testified that her friendship with actor Bill Cosby took a dark turn when he persuaded her to take three blue pills and then sexually assaulted her at his home outside Philadelphia in early 2004.
Constand, 44, a massage therapist now living in Toronto, dabbed her eyes only once as she gave the damning testimony about the legendary entertainer.
Testifying on the second day of Cosby’s criminal trial here, Constand seemed to look anywhere but in the direction of her one-time mentor, but Cosby appeared to be paying close attention and watching her intently during her afternoon on the witness stand in suburban Philadelphia.
Constand told the jury that she got to know Cosby when she was operations manager for the Temple University women’s basketball team – and Cosby, a major booster of the university and member of the board of trustees, came to one of their basketball games.
They became friends, she said, and Cosby began to offer her career advice. It was for that purpose, she told the jury, that she went to the star’s home in Elkins Park, just outside of Philadelphia, in January 2004. It was there, she said, where he offered her the three pills, which she accepted because she trusted him.
But she testified that she began to panic as she became woozy from the pills, which she said she believed were some kind of herbal supplement, and soon felt like she was losing consciousness. But then, she said, she was” jolted” when Cosby began groping her breasts on a couch.
“I also felt his hand inside my vagina … and I felt him take my hand and place it on his penis,” she testified.
Cosby, 79, is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault. He has pleaded not guilty and said the incident with Constand was consensual. If convicted, Cosby could face up to 10 years in prison.
Constand is one of some 60 women who have accused the iconic comedian of drugging and then assaulting them — but she is the only one whose allegation became the focus of a criminal charge. The charges were filed just days before Pennsylvania’s 12-year statute of limitations was due to expire.
Though he was known as “America’s Dad” from his years on “The Cosby Show,” which aired from 1984 to 1992, his image crashed in 2014 as the women went public with their claims. Reruns of the popular show were pulled from the air.
The alleged assault that sparked the charges took place in early 2004 after Cosby invited Constand to his home.
Constand is scheduled to return to the witness stand on Wednesday.
During cross-examination, defense lawyer Angela Agrusa tried to challenge Constand’s credibility. She highlighted the fact that Constand did not report the incident to any law enforcement authorities until the following year and also focused on the more than 70 phone calls Constand had with Cosby after the alleged sexual assault.
On Monday, a Southern California woman who worked for Cosby’s agent at the William Morris Agency testified that Cosby persuaded her to take a large white pill and then assaulted her back in 1996 at the Bel Air Hotel, where Cosby had been staying.
Patrice Sewell, the mother of the alleged California victim, testified earlier Tuesday that her daughter told her the entertainer had given her a pill and then watched to ensure that she swallowed it.
“She said that she woke up and she was in bed and he was in the bed, and her clothes were disheveled,” Sewell told the jury, which was selected last month in Pittsburgh and is being sequestered during what is expected to be a two-week trial.
The prosecution was permitted to call the California accuser to the witness stand to show a pattern of similar conduct by Cosby.
During questioning by prosecutor Kristen Feder, Constand testified that she eventually told her mother what had happened after she had a nightmare and woke up crying from the stress of the assault.
She said she and her mother soon had a phone conversation with Cosby during which she said she confronted him about what had happened and asked him to tell her what kind of pills he had given her.
“Mr. Cosby eventually apologized to me and my mother,” said Constand, who said he also said he would “have to go and look at the prescription bottle” to tell her what kind of pills he had given her. She said he also said during that phone call that he believed she had an orgasm during their encounter that night.
Defense lawyer Brian McMonagle said during his opening address on Monday that the relationship between Constand and Cosby was consensual, and that Cosby had been attracted to her from the moment they met. He said that Constand had changed her version of what happened so often that the previous district attorney of Montgomery County decided not to bring charges against Cosby.
“She was never incapacitated,” said McMonagle.
But Constand insisted yesterday that she was.
“I was frozen,” she told the jury. “I wanted it to stop.”