'I wasn't able to fight him away,' Constand says of her onetime mentor
An emotional Andrea Constand took the stand Tuesday afternoon and testified that Bill Cosby, her onetime mentor, allegedly drugged and sexually assaulted her at his Pennsylvania mansion in January 2004.
Constand, then the director of operations for the Temple University women’s basketball team, alleged the comedian gave her three pills he said were herbal pills to help her relax before sexually assaulting her when the pills incapacitated her.
“I wanted it to stop,” she said, blinking back tears. “In my head I was trying to get my hands to move or my legs to move but I was frozen and those messages didn’t get there. And I was very limp. And so I wasn’t able to fight him away.”
She alleged that when she confronted him about what happened days later and asked him what he gave her, he was evasive.
“Mr. Cosby looked at me and said, ‘I thought you had an orgasm, didn’t you?’ I said, ‘I did not. I just want to know what you gave me,” Constand testified.
He still refused to say, Constand alleged, so she left his home.
Constand finally told her mother about her allegations in January 2005 after she had a nightmare about Cosby, she said.
“I woke up crying in my sleep,” she testified. “It was on my mind. I had a bad dream and I woke up crying.”
When her mother called to ask him what he gave her, with Constand on the phone, Cosby once again evaded her question but apologized, Constand testified.
Constand was the sixth witness in the trial, which is expected to last two weeks.
Cosby, 79, faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting Constand, now 44, at his Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, mansion.
Cosby has pleaded not guilty to the charges, insisting their sexual contact was consensual, and has denied similar allegations from more than 60 women.
Constand, who is gay, says the sexual contact was not consensual.
Defense attorney Angela Agrusa did not begin cross-examining Constand until late in the day but immediately began to try to poke holes in her credibility. First, she pointed out that Constand called attorneys before she went to police in 2005, and she also focused on alleged inconsistencies in what Constand told various police authorities.
“I was having to recall a lot of facts,” Constand said. “And it was very very overwhelming.” Constand added, “There was a lot of confusion trying to put a lot of the dates together.”
Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Kristen Feden tried to head off many of those lines of attack by asking Constand about these issues first — like about why she consulted attorneys before going to the police.
“I was really scared,” Constand said. “I wanted guidance and I wanted to protect myself because I felt that if I went to the police that Mr. Cosby would retaliate and try to hurt me.”
Constand, who wore a light blue blazer, white T-shirt, and khakis, was on the stand for four hours Tuesday afternoon. Jurors seemed to be paying close attention, taking copious notes while she spoke.
Constand appeared nervous when she took the stand but her voice was clear and strong. When she discussed the night of the alleged assault, her voice got softer, she began biting her lip and she visibly struggled to keep from crying.
Cosby appeared to listen intently, leaning forward in his seat with his head cocked to the side and pointed toward Constand. At one point, Constand was asked to describe what Cosby was wearing and when she said the color of his tie, which was brown, he looked down at it.
Cosby smiled at some of the more emotional points of her testimony, like when she spoke of she and her mother calling to confront him. Brian McMonagle, one of Cosby’s defense attorneys, shook his head and mouthed the word ‘Wow’ when she spoke of one of the times Cosby allegedly came onto her and she rebuffed him.
Constand said she first met Cosby in late 2002 at a women’s basketball game at Temple University in Philadelphia. Cosby is one of Temple’s most famous alumni and a big supporter of the team. A donor introduced the two of them.
Cosby followed up with a phone call with questions about the team and slowly, she testified in court yesterday, he became her mentor and her friend. He had her to his home a couple of times and, when he seemed to allegedly make a sexual advance on her, she politely rebuffed him and he stopped, she said.
So she still kept accepting social invitations from him, she testified.
“I trusted him,” she said. “I wasn’t scared if something became a pass at me or became an advance at me.”
Not long after she arrived at his home on the night in question in January 2004 to discuss a career crisis, she alleged that he offered her three pills he said were herbal medication, she said.
Within 20 to 30 minutes she began to slur her words and had trouble seeing, she testified.
“I told Mr. Cosby that I could see two of him,” she said. “My mouth was very cottony…. Mr. Cosby grabbed me, helped me by the by arm and he assisted me over to a couch and said, ‘Just lay down here and relax.’ “
Constand continued: “Mr. Cosby … laid me down. … I was laying on my left side and placed some pillow under my neck. I don’t really remember passing out. I have no recollection until at some point later I was jolted awake… and I felt Mr. Cosby’s hand groping my breasts under my shirt. I also felt his hand inside my vagina moving in and out. And I felt him take my hand and place it on his penis and move it back and forth.”
She was unable to speak or move to make him stop, she alleged.
“The next thing I recall is putting my two feet on the ground and feeling my brassiere up higher around my neck and I looked at my watch,” she said, wiping a tear away from her left eye. “And it was sometime between 4 and 5 [a.m.] and I needed to get home because I had to go to work.”
She said she walked toward the kitchen and Cosby was there and offered her tea and a muffin.
“I was very confused, and disoriented,” she said.
She said she took two sips of the tea, nibbled the top of the muffin and left.
Even after the incident, she kept seeing him due to her job at Temple, she said.
“He was calling about Temple matters,” she testified. “I did not want to not call Mr. Cosby back if he was calling about business purposes because I thought it would look negative on me.”
Constand left Philadelphia and Temple in late March of 2004 to return home to Canada, where she planned to go to massage school. She could not bear to tell her parents what happened at first so when he told them he was going to be in Toronto for a show in August, she agreed to go with them.
“He telephoned he’d be coming to the greater Toronto area for a show and would my family like to come,” she testified. “My father had been mentioning the show for some time and I did not want to let my family down, so he left these four tickets for myself and my family.”
After Constand’s testimony Wednesday, Dolores Troiani, an attorney for Constand, told PEOPLE, “I think Andrea was very, very composed, very brave. We are just very, very proud of her.”
Constand’s testimony will continue Wednesday.