Despite heated arguments by his attorneys attacking the credibility of his accuser who didn’t appear in court, Bill Cosby saw all sex assault charges against him upheld after a preliminary hearing.
A massive media circus followed as Cosby returned to Montgomery County court Tuesday in his legal battle to get the Pennsylvania criminal case tossed.
Accuser Andrea Constand told law enforcement she is willing to testify at the trial of disgraced entertainer Bill Cosby, according to a county detective who spoke to her on May 22.
But she didn’t appear for this hearing. Instead, Detective Katherine Hart read a transcript of her 2005 interview with Constand, as a courtroom packed with more than 100 members of the media and attorneys listened.
Cosby, who is legally blind and walked into court holding the arm of an aide, listened attentively as Hart read the interview.
His frown deepened and he looked around, eyes widening, as he heard Hart read Constand’s description of what he allegedly did to her.
Cosby’s defense attorney Brian McMonagle objected to the hearing going forward without Constand present.
“Andrea Constand, like every other citizen who makes an accusation, ought to be able to come into this courtroom, put her hand on the Bible, look him in the eyes and answer questions,” McMonagle argued.
“In my 30 years I have never once had a sexual assault case where the prosecution has attempted to rely on hearsay testimony to establish a prima facie case.”
Constand’s interview, as read in court Tuesday, described the infamous encounter in Cosby’s Elkins Park mansion on a January 2004 night where he offered her three blue pills, which Constand accepted and consumed with some red wine. Cosby has claimed the pills were Benadryl, approximately one-and-a-half tablets.
According to Constand, she was “paralyzed” shortly after taking the pills — describing feeling nauseous, rubbery and spacy.
“I said, I can’t even talk, Mr. Cosby. I started to panic,” Constand said in 2005, according to Hart. “He told me to lay down.”
Cosby walked Constand over and lay her down on a sofa, according to the statement.
“I got scared. I thought I was having a bad reaction to something …everything was blurry,” Constand said in the transcript read in court. “I felt nauseous. I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I had no thought to call 911.”
Constand described the alleged contact that constitutes the indecent sexual assault for which Cosby is charged:
“I was aware that his hands were on my breasts. I was aware that his handswere in my pants and his fingers were in my vagina. He was moving his fingers in my vagina,”Constand told detectives. “He took my right hand and put it on his penis. … His penis was erect.”
“I was unable to move my body. I was pretty much frozen. I was like paralyzed,” Constand said. “I can recall coming to. … My bra was undone. … My bra was up over my breasts around my neck.”
But in that same interview, Constand acknowledged other physical contacts with Cosby. During her first visit to his mansion for dinner, after she had dinner in front of his fireplace, Constand tried some cognac. Cosby touched her pants, inner thigh, her clothes and waistband.
McMonagle seized on Constand’s other admissions in her interview with police involving encounters with Cosby in York, Pa., in New York City for a blues concert, and again at his mansion.
When they went to Foxwoods Casino in 2003, she told detectives, they lay on the bed in his room together with their legs touching. Constand then crossed that line out and replaced “lay on the bed” with “relaxed close to one another.”
McMonagle read the crossed out lines as well as their corrections, over the objections of prosecutors.
“She’s telling you she lies on the bed next to this man … ‘Our legs were touching, but nothing sexual’ … She crossed that whole line out,” McMonagle said.
McMonagle questioned Detective Hart repeatedly about parts of Constand’s interview she did not observe. Hart had left the interview due to a snowstorm at the time before Constand crossed out some lines in her interview and corrected them under the supervision of another detective.
He also asked if she was aware of McMonagle’s account of events to Canadian police of the alleged sexual assault, which according to McMonagle, is slightly different. He described her telling Canadian police how she and Cosby had dinner at a restaurant in Philly’s Chinatown before going back to the mansion, whilet she told Montgomery County detectives in 2005 that she drove from her home to Cosby’s mansion.
McMonagle also pointed out that Constand told detectives she had not attempted to reach Cosby after the incident — which was later proven untrue by phone records showing she spoke to him multiple times. Additionally, after the assault, Constand contacted Cosby to get tickets to one of his shows in Canada, which she brought her family to, according to McMonagle.
“He’s conflating consent with credibility,” prosecutor Stewart Ryan said, arguing against McMonagle’s line of questioning during an objection.
McMonagle disagreed: “I should be able to ask her [Hart] what was told to her that day. If not, this is a travesty of justice.”
Judge Elizabeth McHugh, who presided over Cosby’s arraignment on Dec. 30, cautioned McMonagle during his questioning.
Another witness, Cheltenham police chief John Norris read Cosby’s interview with detectives about the assault given in New York in 2005.
Cosby admitted giving Constand pills, which he said was the same over-the-counter Benadryl he took to help himself sleep, and admitted the sexual encounter on the couch with Constand, saying “I enjoyed it.”
But there were some key differences: Cosby described kissing Constand, and said they talked afterwards.
“I never intended to have sexual intercourse. We were fully clothed. I enjoyed it. We stopped, and then we talked,” Cosby said in the interview, according to Norris.
McMonagle made intensely heated arguments to drop the charges, his voice rising to a shout as he told McHugh “Stop this! Stop this! It should have been stopped years ago!”
But McHugh apparently sided with Montgomery County DA Kevin Steele.
“We get to the point where she’s not capable of consenting,” Steele said of Constand’s drugged state on the night in question. “He puts her in that position. He takes advantage of that for his own gratification because he likes it. That’s why he’s charged.”
McHugh held Cosby for court on all three charges of indecent sexual assault and scheduled a formal criminal arraignment for July 20.
Cosby does not have to appear at that hearing.
Cosby rose one hand and waved to fans outside court cheering “We love you Bill!” before he rode off in a black Suburban with a Temple University bumper sticker visible in the window.