News

Cosby told police his accuser didn't rebuff his advances

Written by Maryclaire Dale and Michael R. Sisak/The Associated Press | Jun 8, 2017 1:51 PM
bill_cosby_trial_day3.jpg

Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Wednesday, June 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(Norristown) -- Bill Cosby acknowledged to police more than a decade ago that he fondled Andrea Constand after giving her what he said were cold-and-allergy pills to help her relax, according to a statement introduced Thursday at the comedian's sexual-assault trial.

But Cosby also told police that Constand showed no ill effects from the 1 1/2 Benadryl tablets and never objected to his behavior. The TV star said they had been romantic before.

Cosby, 79, is charged with aggravated indecent assault and could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted. He has said the sexual encounter at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004 was consensual.

The January 2005 interview with police was conducted at his lawyer's offices in New York about a year after the alleged assault.

Asked by police if he ever had sex with Constand, Cosby replied: "Never asleep or awake."

"I never intended to have sexual intercourse, like naked bodies, with Andrea. We are fully clothed. We are petting. I enjoyed it. And then I stopped, and I went up to bed," he said, according to the statement read to the jury.

Prosecutors decided against charging Cosby at the time, shutting down a police investigation after four weeks.

A sergeant testified Thursday that then-District Attorney Bruce Castor closed the probe hours after police met to review their next steps.

"We had been discussing investigative leads and where they were going," Sgt. Richard Schaffer of the Cheltenham Police Department told the jury on Day 4 of the comedian's trial.

Castor announced in 2005 that Cosby would not be charged because the evidence had shown both parties "could be held in less than a flattering light." He said he was concerned that Constand had stayed in touch with Cosby and waited a year to call police.

A new set of prosecutors brought charges against Cosby a decade later, after a judge unsealed the comic's testimony from a lawsuit brought against him by Constand. In his deposition, he talked about giving pills and alcohol to women he wanted to have sex with.

Constand, 44, of Toronto, directed the women's basketball team at Cosby's alma mater, Temple University, where he was a powerful trustee.

She testified this week that Cosby penetrated her with his fingers against her will after giving her pills that left her so limp that she was unable to push him away or tell him to stop. She denied they had a previous romantic relationship and said she had rebuffed his previous sexual advances.

On Thursday, a former neighbor, Purna Rodman Conare, testified that Constand became distant and withdrawn in the months after she said the entertainer drugged and violated her. Conare said Constand's open, easygoing personality changed drastically in early 2004.

Cosby's lawyers also seized on a pair of phone calls she made to him on Valentine's Day, weeks after the alleged assault, as the defense continued its effort to show Constand maintained contact with Cosby afterward and was in a romantic relationship with him.

Constand previously testified she was simply returning Cosby's messages about the women's basketball program at Temple. She said she felt compelled to do so because of Cosby's Temple connection.

Evidence presented Thursday showed that the team had a game on Feb. 14, 2004, and that Constand called the team's coach between calls to Cosby.

Some 60 women have come forward to say Cosby sexually violated them, but the statute of limitations for prosecution had run out in nearly every case. Constand's case is the only one in which Cosby has been charged.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.

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For more on Cosby, including trial updates, historical photos, videos and an audio series exploring the case, visit: http://www.apnews.com/tag/CosbyonTrial

An earlier story appears below.

(Norristown) -- Bill Cosby acknowledged to police more than a decade ago that he fondled Andrea Constand after giving her what he said were cold-and-allergy pills to help her relax, according to a statement introduced Thursday at the comedian's sexual-assault trial.

But Cosby also told police that Constand showed no ill effects from the 1 1/2 Benadryl tablets and never objected to his behavior. The TV star said they had been romantic before.

Cosby, 79, is charged with aggravated indecent assault and could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted. He has said the sexual encounter at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004 was consensual.

The January 2005 interview with police was conducted at his lawyer's offices in New York about a year after the alleged assault.

Asked by police if he ever had sex with Constand, Cosby replied: "Never asleep or awake."

"I never intended to have sexual intercourse, like naked bodies, with Andrea. We are fully clothed. We are petting. I enjoyed it. And then I stopped, and I went up to bed," he said, according to the statement read to the jury.

Prosecutors decided against charging Cosby at the time, shutting down a police investigation after four weeks.

A sergeant testified Thursday that then-District Attorney Bruce Castor closed the probe hours after police met to review their next steps.

"We had been discussing investigative leads and where they were going," Sgt. Richard Schaffer of the Cheltenham Police Department told the jury on Day 4 of the comedian's trial.

Castor issued a press release in early 2005, saying Cosby would not be charged because the evidence had shown both parties "could be held in less than a flattering light." He said he was concerned that Constand had stayed in touch with Cosby after the alleged assault and waited a year to call police.

A new set of prosecutors brought charges against Cosby a decade later, after a judge unsealed Cosby's sworn testimony from a lawsuit brought against him by Constand. In his deposition, he talked about giving pills and alcohol to women he wanted to have sex with.

Constand, 44, of Toronto, directed the women's basketball team at Cosby's alma mater, Temple University, where he was a powerful trustee.

She testified this week that Cosby penetrated her with his fingers against her will after giving her pills that left her so limp and foggy-headed that she was unable to push him away or tell him to stop.

She denied they had a previous romantic relationship and said she had rebuffed his previous sexual advances.

On Thursday, a former neighbor, Purna Rodman Conare, testified that Constand became distant and withdrawn in the months after she said the entertainer drugged and violated her. Conare said Constand's open, easygoing personality changed drastically in early 2004.

Some 60 women have come forward to say Cosby sexually violated them, but the statute of limitations for prosecution had run out in nearly every case. Constand's case is the only one in which Cosby has been charged.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.

An earlier story is below:

A jury that heard seven hours of testimony from a woman who says Bill Cosby drugged and assaulted her may soon hear from Cosby himself -- even if he doesn't take the stand.

Prosecutors are expected to show jurors an earlier deposition in which Cosby said that he routinely gave women pills and alcohol before sexual encounters and gave at least one of them quaaludes, a now-banned sedative.

The suburban Philadelphia jury on Wednesday heard trial accuser Andrea Constand offer her most direct denial yet that any of their earlier meetings were romantic.

"It wasn't a romantic time, no," Constand, 44, of Toronto, said of an earlier fireside dinner with Cosby, a trustee at Temple University, where she directed the women's basketball team.

The jury also heard Cosby's voice on a 2006 telephone call, offering Constand money for graduate school after her mother called to confront him about the encounter at his home a year earlier.

"She could go to school," he said. "If she wanted to do that, then I would be willing to ... pay for the schooling."

Cosby, now 79, acknowledges in the deposition from Constand's related lawsuit that he gave her three blue pills before fondling her breast and penetrating her with his fingers. The only question for the jury is how to interpret the encounter. Prosecutors say she was too impaired to give consent.

The defense lawyer sought to show that Constand changed her mind about the date of the alleged assault. But Constand perhaps blunted the attack by saying she got confused and initially thought the episode happened in March 2004.

"I was mistaken," she said, unflustered.

Gianna Constand, who followed her daughter to the stand, sounded alarmed at the thought Andrea had been drugged, and angry that they still don't know what type of pills Cosby gave her. Andrea Constand said the pills left her paralyzed and unable to stop Cosby from penetrating her with his finger and putting her hand on his genitals. She said she was still woozy when she woke up six hours later.

The defense spent hours on cross-examination trying to suggest the sexual encounter with Cosby was consensual, based on Constand's previous visits to his home and continued contact afterward.

Constand's case is expected to get to the jury sometime next week. Prosecutors, before then, plan to call an expert in the behavior of sexual assault victims to explain why some remain in contact with their abusers and wait before lodging a complaint.

The defense may call a memory expert to cast doubt on the accuracy of testimony about long-ago events. Cosby was arrested in 2015 after his deposition became public and prosecutors reopened an earlier 2005 investigation that ended with Cosby not being charged.

"She has said the same thing from Day One. She's always said he drugged her. She's always said she didn't consent. She's always said it was digital penetration," Constand lawyer Dolores Troiani told The Associated Press when Constand finished her testimony Wednesday afternoon.

Some 60 women have come forward to say Cosby sexually violated them, but the statute of limitations for prosecution had run out in nearly every case. Constand's case is the only one in which Cosby has been charged. The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.

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For more on Cosby, including trial updates, historical photos, videos and an audio series exploring the case, visit: http://www.apnews.com/tag/CosbyonTrial

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