NORRISTOWN, Pa. (Reuters) – The woman at the center of a sexual assault case against Bill Cosby testified on Friday he gave her three blue pills at his home near Philadelphia in 2004 that rendered her incapable of fending off an attack by the man once known as “America’s Dad.”
Cosby, 80, who played the loveable patriarch on “The Cosby Show,” is on trial in Norristown, Pennsylvania for a second time on a charge of aggravated indecent assault against former friend and colleague Andrea Constand, 45.
In all, some 50 women have accused Cosby of molestation going back decades. All but Constand’s case were too old to be prosecuted, and Cosby’s first trial ended in a mistrial in June due to a deadlocked jury.
Five of his accusers testified in the days before Constand took the witness stand. Cosby has denied any wrongdoing, saying any sexual contact was consensual.
His lawyers have portrayed Constand as a gold-digging con artist.
Constand testified she met Cosby through her position as director of operations for the women’s basketball team at Temple University in Philadelphia, his alma mater. The relationship progressed from Constand giving him sports scores to the entertainer giving her advice on a career in broadcasting, she said.
“He was a well-respected Temple advocate and trustee, also an alumni, also a community leader,” Constand said. “That made him a well-respected person at Temple. I was very grateful for any help he gave me.”
Cosby made a couple of flirtatious passes at her during dinners at his house outside Philadelphia, including putting his hand on her leg. But she stopped them and dismissed them as the foolishness of a man nearly as old as her grandfather.
“I had no question about my ability to fend off a person hitting on me or making a sexual advance,” Constand said.
Everything changed when she decided early in 2004 to leave Temple and become a massage therapist. She wanted to work with cancer patients and planned to enroll in a school in her native Canada.
When Cosby found out, he invited her to another dinner to discuss her decision to abandon sports broadcasting, which he wanted her to pursue. She told Cosby she was stressed.
He went upstairs and returned with three small blue pills, she testified.
“He said, ‘Put them down. They’ll relax you, take the edge off,’” Constand said.
Constand said she preferred homeopathic and alternative treatments and did not like swallowing any medicine, even over-the-counter remedies. But she trusted Cosby and swallowed the pills, she said.
Soon afterwards, she began to have double vision and her legs felt rubbery. Cosby guided her to a sofa and laid her down.
“The next thing I recall, I was kind of jolted awake,” Constand said. “My vagina was being penetrated quite forcefully. I felt my breasts being touched. He put my hand on his penis and masturbated himself with my hand. I was not able to do a thing.”
She made her way home. Her contact with Cosby continued, she said, because it was part of her Temple job and consisted mainly of giving him sports scores during the March Madness college basketball tournament.
But she did finally confront Cosby after a dinner with about 10 other people at a Chinese restaurant. She demanded to talk to him. He agreed but only at his house, she said.
“It was a very, very short visit. I said, ‘What did you give me? Why?’” she testified. “He was very evasive. He said, ‘I thought you had orgasm.’ I said, ‘I did not.’ He would not answer my questions, so I lost my courage and I left.”
Constand was scheduled to continue testifying after a break in the proceedings.
Reporting by David DeKok; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Cynthia Osterman