NORRISTOWN, Pa. >> Jurors today got a sense of Bill Cosby’s view of consent from graphic deposition testimony in which the comedian described reaching an area “somewhere between permission and rejection” during what he claims was a prior sexual encounter with his chief accuser.
Cosby, 80, testified a dozen years ago as part of a lawsuit that Andrea Constand filed against him, and prosecutors won the right to introduce it at his sexual assault retrial on charges he drugged and molested her at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.
In the deposition, Cosby described his attempt to obtain consent from Constand during a previous encounter.
“I’m giving Andrea time to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ about an area that is right there in the question zone,” Cosby testified.
He said he rubbed the skin above her trousers and “without talking I’m asking can I go farther.”
“I don’t hear her say anything. And I don’t feel her say anything,” Cosby said. “And so I continue and I go into the area that is somewhere between permission and rejection. I am not stopped.”
He then described the purported encounter in extremely graphic terms that had several jurors with their hands to their chins, some of them looking taken aback, pained or disgusted.
Constand has testified she rejected Cosby’s prior advances.
Jurors also were expected to hear Cosby’s description of the night Constand says he assaulted her as well as his explosive testimony about how he gave quaaludes to women before sex.
Judge Steven O’Neill ruled today that prosecutors could have the “Cosby Show” star’s deposition testimony read into the record, handing the prosecution a key victory in its effort to portray the comedian as a serial predator.
The deposition was also included at Cosby’s first trial, which ended with a hung jury last year.
Prosecutors used another of Cosby’s statements — this one he gave to police in 2005 — to show how he described the encounter for which he is facing aggravated indecent assault charges that could send him to prison for years.
Cosby said he gave Constand 1½ tablets of the cold and allergy medicine Benadryl to help her relax, then fondled her breasts and genitals, according to the transcript, which was read to the jury Tuesday morning.
Cosby said Constand never told him to stop.
“We are petting. I enjoyed it,” the TV star said, according to the transcript. “And then I stopped and I went up to bed. We stopped and then we talked.”
Constand says Cosby knocked her out with the pills and then sexually assaulted her, penetrating her with his fingers and guiding her hand to his penis. Cosby told police he didn’t remember whether Constand touched his genitals.
The jury was expected to hear later about Cosby’s acknowledged use of quaaludes, a popular party drug in the 1970s that was banned in the U.S. in 1982, to help get women to have sex with him.
Cosby said in his deposition that he had obtained several prescriptions for quaaludes from his doctor in Los Angeles in the 1970s, ostensibly for a sore back. The long-married comedian said he never took the drug, instead giving it to women he wanted to have sex with “the same as a person would say, ‘Have a drink.’”
“Quaaludes happen to be the drug that kids, young people were using to party with, and there were times when I wanted to have them just in case,” Cosby testified.
The comic ultimately settled Constand’s lawsuit for nearly $3.4 million.
Cosby’s lawyers argued the testimony is irrelevant to his retrial because there is no evidence he gave Constand the drug. Prosecutors have suggested otherwise.
The unsealing of the deposition, at the request of the Associated Press, led prosecutors to reopen Cosby’s criminal case in 2015.
A police sergeant who investigated Constand’s allegation a decade earlier testified today that the probe was abruptly shut down before police had finished their work.
Cheltenham Township Police Sgt. Richard Schaffer told jurors that then-District Attorney Bruce Castor announced he was closing the probe hours after investigators met to discuss leads that needed to be followed up — and just four weeks after Constand went to police. Castor has said the evidence showed both parties “could be held in less than a flattering light.”
On Monday, Constand rejected defense allegations that she concocted her story to score a big payday, and her mother testified that Cosby apologized in a phone call and called himself a “sick man.”
Andrea and Gianna Constand’s testimony followed that of five additional accusers who told jurors that Cosby had drugged and assaulted them two decades earlier.
As Cosby arrived at the courthouse today, his spokeswoman, Ebonee Benson, told reporters that Constands’ testimony “seemed to be more colorful and more embellished” than at the first trial.