UPDATED 3:45 p.m.: NORRISTOWN, Pa. – The woman at the center of the sexual assault retrial of Bill Cosby wrapped up her testimony on Monday – and then her mother testified that the entertainer admitted having had sexual contact with her daughter and feeling like a “dirty old perverted man.”
Testifying at the start of the second week of the retrial, key prosecution witness Andrea Constand spent the morning under cross-examination by defense lawyer Thomas Mesereau, who challenged her contention that Cosby had drugged and molested her at his home outside Philadelphia in early 2005.
His questions were painstaking and careful. Though Constand did not stray from the central points of her accusation against Cosby, she did acknowledge some differences. “I believe I have been consistent, but mistaken in some areas,” she told Mesereau.
It will, of course, be up to the jury of seven men and five women to assess Constand’s credibility. Last June, another jury deadlocked after more than 50 hours of deliberations, prompting the ongoing retrial.
Cosby, now 80, is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault. He has pleaded not guilty and maintains the sexual encounter with Constand was consensual.
Constand testified that she had gotten to know Cosby when she was operations manager for the women’s basketball team at Temple University, where Cosby was a proud alum and major booster.
She said when she went to his home in suburban Philadelphia in early 2004, he offered her three small blue pills to help her relax. She said she believed they were some kind of an herbal remedy to help with stress, so she took them because she trusted Cosby, and soon became incapacitated. Then, she said, she felt his fingers inside of her.
Later on Monday, her mother, Gianna Constand, who lives in Toronto, testified that when her daughter moved home to Canada in March 2004, she noticed a difference in her — that she seemed depressed and would sometimes scream in her sleep.
So she told the jury that after Andrea finally told her in early 2005 what happened, she reached out to Cosby and he returned her call.
“I was very combative, very angry,” said the mother, who said she was especially intent on finding out what type of pills he had given her daughter.
She testified that Cosby admitted having digitally penetrated her daughter and she quoted him as having said, “I felt like I was a dirty old perverted man.” Cosby, she went on, “admitted that he was a sick man.”
She said she recorded a conversation with the entertainer that was played to the jury. In that conversation from January 2005, Cosby could be heard offering to help pay graduate school expenses if her daughter decided to go to school to become a broadcaster.
The mother became combative during cross-examination by defense attorney Kathleen Bliss.
“Don’t talk to me like that, please,” said the elder Constand when Bliss suggested that perhaps she did not know everything about her daughter’s relationship with Cosby.
At one point, Bliss asked Judge Steven T. O’Neill to strike from the record the “gratuitous attacks,” and the judge said he was “not going to referee” the lawyer and the witness.
Even so, the elder Constand remained caustic. “Are you trying to trick me?” she asked Bliss at one point, and the lawyer complained that the comment was not responsive.
Later, District Attorney Kevin Steele asked the mother if Bliss had asked “a single question about the admissions the defendant made to you?”
“No,” replied Gianna Constand.
“Do you know what he did to your daughter?” Steele then asked.
“Yes,” she said. “Because he told me.”
Andrea Constand is one of dozens of women who have accused Cosby 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.