June 24, 2017

What happened in Bill Cosby's sexual-assault trial

08 June 2017, 02:18 | Leonard Manning

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Andrea Constand's mother confronted Bill Cosby after learning that he had allegedly drugged and sexually assaulted her daughter, she testified in court on Wednesday afternoon.

Constand was direct and polite under cross-examination, even when Agrusa's questioning grew pointed and accusatory.

Constand's long-awaited showdown with Cosby's lawyers became bogged down in a painstaking examination of her phone records and police statements, and the defense couldn't budge her off her account of molestation and broken trust. The first two assertions are true; I can hardly imagine how things could be otherwise. I can barely remember driving down to Pennsylvania last Sunday.

Cosby and Constand met while Constand worked for the Temple University women's basketball team and Cosby, the school's most famous alumnus, was serving as a university trustee.

Her testimony is central to the case against the star of The Cosby Show, one of the most popular shows in the history of television.

These are inconsistencies worth noting, and worth thinking about.

"I wouldn't even worry about it", Cosby said. On both of those occasions, out of simple embarrassment and a sense that I had brought this upon myself, I had trouble telling my story straight.

Defense attorney Brian McMonagle said during opening statements that Constand had a romantic encounter with Cosby at his Foxwoods Resort Casino hotel room in CT before the alleged assault.

"I just wanted to ask you one quick question because I'm a little anxious", Gianna said to Cosby in the recording, which was played in court. Cosby said he had to look at a prescription bottle, but he couldn't read it.

And she explained away the numerous phone calls she made to him afterward by saying she was merely returning Cosby's messages about the women's basketball squad at Temple University, where he was a powerful member of the board of trustees and she was director of team operations. The countervailing idea-that Cosby identified women whose professional vulnerabilities could be used as an opening for sexual exploitation-has not yet been suggested inside the courtroom.

During this call, Cosby asked Gianna Constand to put Andrea on the phone; the three of them had a conversation during which, Gianna Constand says, Cosby tried to persuade Andrea to tell her mother that the "sexual encounter" between them had been consensual.

After briefly losing consciousness, she felt Cosby touching her private parts, she testified.

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"I was mistaken", she said, unflustered.

"'Mom, I think I have PTSD, ' " Gianna said of that conversation. At that, I thought about how every unpleasant relationship involves a skewed exchange of resources-and how normal it seems to me, wanting to extract something positive out of someone who has hurt you. "I just wanted to go home". It's much easier, in the short term, to pretend everything is fine.

The dramatic scene was more than a dozen years in the making.

Cosby maintains that he gave Ms Constand the antihistamine Benadryl to relieve stress, insists their sexual relations were consensual and accuses her of lying.

She told the court on Tuesday that she felt her continued friendship with Cosby after the alleged assault was important to the school's athletics department. Constand asked what they were, if they were herbal or natural. "Not what I would call sexual contact, ma'am", Constand replied.

"So you knew - you were alone at his home - that Mr. Cosby was interested in you romantically?"


It is the defense's job, of course, to make such arguments: these are the most effective ones available.

On Wednesday, Agrusa questioned Constand about a lit fireplace and dim lights.

" 'The lights were dim and the fire was going, ' the lawyer continued". Though her cross-examination was scattered and slow, and, all things considered, probably easier than it might have been, Constand has nonetheless been a remarkable example of what it takes to stand up to the essential difficulty of this dynamic, in which an alleged victim, after being forced to participate in a sexual encounter, is implicated by the fact that the sexual encounter occurred.

WHAT SHE SAID: Constand dismissed any suggestion she and Cosby shared a romantic relationship before the night she says he assaulted her.

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