Cosby Trial Live Briefing: At Bill Cosby Trial, Andrea Constand Battles His Lawyers

Cosby Trial Live Briefing: At Bill Cosby Trial, Andrea Constand Battles His Lawyers

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Why, she asked, had Ms. Constand not told the Canadian police, to whom she first reported the incident, that she had earlier meetings alone with Mr. Cosby, or recounted all of her prior contacts with Mr. Cosby to the police in Pennsylvania?

“You changed your story,” Ms. Agrusa said.

Ms. Constand appeared calm and confident in her responses, often attributing any errors to simple mistakes. She suggested that the police report did not contain any mention of her earlier meetings alone with Mr. Cosby because “I was never asked.”

The defense has attempted to portray Ms. Constand, a Temple University staff member at the time, as a willing participant in a relationship with Mr. Cosby even though she knew he harbored romantic interests and kept seeing him. Ms. Agrusa spoke of how, she said, Ms. Constand had called a friend at home after her first meeting alone with Mr. Cosby and reported that he had made a pass at her.

Ms. Agrusa also asked about the visit Ms. Constand made to see Mr. Cosby at Foxwoods casino in Connecticut in November 2003, when she spent time alone with him in his hotel room, sitting on his bed. She accepted a $225 hair dryer from him as a gift, Ms. Agrusa recounted, suggesting that the conduct that prosecutors have portrayed as the grooming behavior of a predator was actually clear evidence of romantic intent.

“Mr. Cosby had already made clear that he had affection for you,” Ms. Agrusa said at one point.

Ms. Constand replied, “He had never disclosed to me that he had affection for me.”

Ms. Constand had testified Tuesday that, even when she came to understand that Mr. Cosby had intentions of that sort, she never felt the need to distance herself from him because he was an older man, a trustee of the school where she worked, and not someone she viewed as a threat.

Bill Cosby, arriving at the courthouse Wednesday with the actress Sheila Frazier, left, and her husband, John Atchison, right.

Credit
Matt Rourke/Associated Press

But Ms. Agrusa pressed forward with a line of questioning that tried to suggest some level of plotting by Ms. Constand, who later filed a civil suit against Mr. Cosby and won a financial settlement. Producing Ms. Constand’s phone records, Ms. Agrusa asked, Why had Ms. Constand called Temple University to get her cellphone records from a year earlier? Why had Ms. Constand’s mother, she asked, bought a recorder to record phone calls with Mr. Cosby?

Ms. Constand’s mother, Gianna, is expected to testify later in the trial. A relative of the family who is a police official had testified Tuesday that he had recommended that the family tape record conversations with Mr. Cosby so as to protect herself.

Angela C. Agrusa, a lawyer for Bill Cosby.

Credit
Dominick Reuter/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The defense spent a lot of time on the amount of contact they had after the night in question.

Mr. Cosby, who says the sexual encounter was consensual, has said he gave Ms. Constand nothing stronger than a few tabs of Benadryl, not to incapacitate her, but to calm her down because she was complaining of stress. The defense argued that she was not upset at the time and, in an effort to bolster that argument, went through Ms. Constand’s phone records from Temple University, showing that she placed repeated calls to him in January and February 2004 — around the time she said the alleged incident had occurred, often calling several times a day.

In one instance, Ms. Agrusa said, the records showed that Ms. Constand called him six times over several days, until Mr. Cosby appeared to call her back. “You were calling Mr. Cosby with a lot of frequency,” Ms. Agrusa said.

“I may have been returning phone calls,” Ms Constand said.

“He called from all over the place,” she added, suggesting that the records did not show Mr. Cosby’s calls from other numbers.

Similarly, Ms. Agrusa focused on Ms. Constand’s statement that she planned on taking Mr. Cosby a gift of bath salts when they met on March 16, 2004. “You were going to meet the man who assaulted you and you were bringing him bath salts?” Ms. Agrusa asked incredulously.

Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Kristen M. Feden walks to the courtroom during Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., on Tuesday.

Credit
Pool photo by Matt Rourke

“Yes,” Ms. Constand answered. She then clarified to say that the salts were not her gift, but that of a friend.

Later, on re-direct, Kristen M. Feden, an assistant district attorney, argued that Ms. Constand’s testimony had been consistent on all the major points of her account and she accused Ms. Agrusa of mischaracterizing Ms. Constand’s phone records and statements to the police.

The defense has said that Ms. Constand called Mr. Cosby 53 times in the first three months of 2004, characterizing that as strange behavior for someone who had been assaulted. But the prosecution argued that the number was deceiving, in part because it was only natural that Ms. Constand, a coordinator for Temple women’s basketball, would make an effort to call back a trustee, Mr. Cosby, of the university where she worked.

Ms. Constand said her calls Mr. Cosby were “regarding Temple women’s basketball.”

The courthouse in Norristown, Pa., where Mr. Cosby’s sexual assault trial is taking place.

Credit
Andrew Renneisen for The New York Times

Andrea Constand’s mother, Gianna, testified in the afternoon.

She held a hand over her face and cried, describing Mr. Cosby’s “betrayal.” She described him as a man who had emerged as her daughter’s mentor, a man older than Andrea’s own father. She said Mr. Cosby drugged and assaulted Andrea, leaving her with nightmares that made her scream. “I could hear her,” she said.

Mrs. Constand called Mr. Cosby after her daughter described what she said had happened. He apologized, she said, and tried to defend it as consensual. “He said to me, Mom, she even had an orgasm.”

She taped a second phone call with Mr. Cosby, she said, at her son-in-law’s suggestion, and he offered to pay for Ms. Constand’s schooling. The jurors heard the tape. “Would she feel comfortable going back to, applying to graduate school of her choice?” Mr. Cosby said to Mrs. Constand, in the recording played for the court.

At one point he asked about a beep he heard on the line. “I have a parrot,” Ms. Constand told him.

The judge gave a stern warning from his chair in court on Wednesday.

The judge, Steven T. O’Neill, warned journalists about trying to transmit from the courtroom and told them not to take photographs of the jurors, who are anonymous.

Court officials said one unidentified member of the news media had already been removed for violating the court’s decorum order, although they did not specify what the infraction was.

The judge also complained from the bench that someone had tried to contact a witness.

Kevin R. Steele, the Montgomery County district attorney.

Credit
Don Emmert/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Prosecutors have caused some surprise in the courtroom.

Few expected that three days into the trial, both Ms. Constand and Kelly Johnson, another woman who says Mr. Cosby assaulted her, would have already testified.

Now, Kevin R. Steele, the Montgomery County district attorney, will be weighing when to introduce Mr. Cosby’s deposition testimony from a 2005 civil suit, in which he admitted obtaining quaaludes to use in his pursuit of sex.

Other witnesses the prosecution is to call include a drugs expert who will likely explain the effects of quaaludes and other drugs on behavior; and an expert on the behavior of sexual assault victims who will probably be used to counter such defense questions as why Ms. Constand took nearly a year to come forward.

The courthouse was crowded again on Wednesday, with members of the public and journalists. But with proceedings moving briskly along, it’s unlikely that the trial will last a full two weeks, as originally forecast.

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