NORRISTOWN, Pa. – The mother of the woman who accused Bill Cosby of drugging and molesting her back in 2004 testified Wednesday that after she confronted the entertainer about what he had done, he apologized to her and to her daughter.
In some of the most riveting testimony so far in Cosby’s criminal trial, Gianna Constand told the jury that she had a two-hour phone conversation with Cosby after her daughter finally told her that she had been sexually assaulted, and that the entertainer assured her there had been no intercourse, only “digital penetration.”
“He was talking about it almost like he was … trying to make me believe it was consensual, that it was okay by her,” Constand testified in Montgomery County Court.
The elder Constand took the stand directly after her daughter wrapped up two days of testimony in the trial of the comedy icon, who is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault for allegedly sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, who had been director of operations for the Temple University women’s basketball team back in 2004.
The daughter testified that Cosby — a major booster of Temple and a member of the board of trustees – had become a friend and mentor – until one evening in January 2004.
But she said that during a visit to Cosby’s home in Elkins Park, just outside Philadelphia, he gave her three blue pills and that she swallowed them after he indicated they were just an herbal supplement – only to find herself woozy and incapacitated a short time later.
Cosby led her to a couch, she testified, and she felt him grope her breasts and penetrate her vagina with his finger, but felt frozen and unable to stop him.
She said she felt humiliated and embarrassed when she woke up the next morning on the couch, with her bra and clothing disheveled, and was confused about what to do. She acknowledged that it took her a year before finally telling her mother — and then contacting police.
The prosecution called Gianna Constand to corroborate details of her daughter’s testimony — and she did. She came across as loving mother who became distraught and angry when she learned what had happened, and decided to phone Cosby demanding to know what he had done to her daughter and what kind of pills he gave her.
The mother broke down in tears as she described how upset she had become. “I was obviously very distraught at the fact that he did that to her,” said the elder Constand. But even more so, she went on, she was upset by “the fact that he betrayed her.”
The testimony seemed to have an impact on Cosby, who looked down as the woman was sobbing.
Under questioning by District Attorney Kevin Steele, Mrs. Constand testified that when her daughter moved home to Canada in March 2004, she had nightmares, was nervous, and had developed a twitch.
But it wasn’t until the next January that her daughter finally told her what had happened to her.
Her mother told the jury that she immediately decided to contact Cosby. She said Cosby returned her call, and they had a more than two-hour wide-ranging discussion in which Andrea participated part of the time, including during the time that Cosby described what he had done to her. The entertainer, she said, also told her that Andrea “even had an orgasm.”
Her daughter, she said, hadn’t even provided details of what he had done so “I learned it more from the defendant than I did even hearing it from her.”
And she was not happy.
“I was fuming,” said Gianna Constand, who asked Cosby to apologize on the call.
“He said to me, ‘I apologize to Andrea and I apologize to you,'” the mother told the jury, adding that Cosby also offered to pay for any therapy her daughter needed.
Gianna Constand testified that she had only one regret — that she didn’t record the conversation. She said she went out and bought a recording device and had one more, much shorter phone conversation with Cosby.
Steele then played that recording, and during that 2005 phone call, Cosby could be heard offering to pay for graduate school for Andrea.
But Gianna Constand said she never got an answer to what kind of pills Cosby gave her daughter.
During their first conversation, she said, Cosby said he would have to check the “prescription bottle” and promised to send the information to her. But, she said, he never did.
Earlier in the day, Andrea Constand wrapped up two days of testimony, remaining calm on the witness stand as a lawyer for Cosby tried through painstaking cross-examination to poke holes in her allegations.
During a morning of questioning, lawyer Angela Agrusa focused on statements Constand gave to police more than a year after the alleged assault, and highlighted a number of phone calls the woman made to Cosby even after the alleged assault occurred.
The defense contends that there was a consensual romantic relationship between Cosby and Constand, and Agrusa noted that phone records showed that she had called him twice on Valentine’s Day – which would have been the month after she said the assault took place.
“You knew that Mr. Cosby was married, right?” asked Agrusa.”
“Yes,” replied Constand.
Constand acknowledged that she had initially told police that the incident had occurred in mid-March, while during her testimony Tuesday, she said it had happened sometime in January 2004.
“I was mistaken,” said Constand, 44, now a massage therapist in Toronto.
She also admitted that she returned to Cosby’s home after the alleged assault had taken place, even bringing him a gift of bath salts.
“So you were coming to meet the man who had assaulted you, and you were bringing him bath salts?” asked Agrusa.
“Yes,” replied Constand — though she said the bath salts were not from her but were from a friend who had asked her to bring Cosby the bath salts.
She testified that she did not want to offend Cosby while she still worked at Temple. She left her position there in March 2004 and returned to Canada to study massage therapy.