Bill Cosby, the comedian once known as “America’s Dad,” arrived at a Norristown, Pennsylvania courthouse Monday (June 5) as a defendant in a sexual-assault case. Cosby, 79, is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault against one of his many accusers.
Cosby told Michael Smerconish in an interview on Sirius XM radio that he will not testify during this trial, the only allegation to have resulted in criminal charges. Still, the prosecution will be able to use his own words as evidence against him.
At least 60 women have come forward alleging he had unwelcome sexual encounters with them over several decades. Some of his accusers have sued him in civil court, and his own words in a deposition in one of these cases could lead to his ultimate downfall.
His accuser in the Pennsylvania criminal case—filed in December 2015, just days before the statute of limitations expired—is Canadian Andrea Constand, a former basketball official at Temple University, Cosby’s alma mater. She will also be the key witness.
The two first met in 2002 at a basketball game at Temple. Cosby became her mentor, and in 2004 he invited her to visit his home in the Philadelphia suburbs. Constand, then 29, said the actor gave her three pills that left her “paralyzed.” Afterwards, she said the sitcom star proceeded to assault her, including penetrating her with his fingers. Constant sued Cosby in 2005, and as part of that case, Cosby gave a damning deposition in which he admitted seducing young women and pushing them to engage in sexual acts, including by giving them powerful drugs.
In 2015, the Associated Press requested records in the civil suit be unsealed, and a judge agreed, saying that because Cosby “has donned the mantle of public moralist and mounted the proverbial electronic or print soap box to volunteer his views on, among other things, childrearing, family life, education and crime” he “has voluntarily narrowed the zone of privacy that he is entitled to claim.” That same month, The New York Times obtained Cosby’s full deposition.
According to his attorneys, Cosby answered questions in the deposition because the district attorney for Montgomery County at the time pledged he would not pursue criminal charges against him in the Constand case. But the current prosecutor, Kevin Steele, said that there was no formal agreement between Cosby and his office. A judge agreed, allowing the deposition to be used criminally.
Here are highlights of what Cosby admitted in the 2005-2006 Constand case deposition, via the Times and the AP:
Can you tell me…what you recall of the night in which you gave the pills to Andrea?
Andrea came to the house. I called her…We talked about Temple University. We talked about her position. And then I went upstairs and I got three pills. I brought them down. They are the equivalent of one and a half. The reason why I gave them and offered them to Andrea, which she took after examining them, was because she was talking about stress.
Cosby described the sexual encounter, saying that he went “inside her pants,” and that at first it was “awkward” but that “she then took her hand and put it on top of my hand to push it in further.”
So, you’re not telling us that you verbally asked her for permission?
I didn’t say it verbally, I said. The action is my hand on her midriff, which is skin. I’m not lifting any clothing up. This is, I don’t remember fully what it is, but it’s there and I can feel. I got her skin and it’s just above the hand and it’s just above where you can go under the pants.
Then what happens?
I don’t hear her say anything. And I don’t feel her say anything. And so I continue and I go into the area that is somewhere between permission and rejection. I am not stopped.
Did you tell her they were Benadryl?
Just didn’t think about it.
Now, what effect did they have on her?
Well, obviously not the effect I wanted.
What effect did you want?
I wanted her to be comfortable enough to relax and go to sleep after we had had our necking session.
What effect did they have on her?
She didn’t go to sleep.
Cosby said he got seven prescriptions for qualuudes, a sedative that is now banned, from a doctor in the 1970s.
Why didn’t you ever take the quaaludes?
Because I used them.
The same as a person would say, “Have a drink.”
You gave them to other people?
Did you believe at that time that it was illegal for you to dispense those drugs?
How did (the doctor) know that you didn’t plan to use [them]?
What was happening at that time was that, that was, 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.
When you got the quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?
When he was asked whether the he gave the women quaaludes without their knowledge, Cosby’s attorney advised him not to answer the question.
Cosby said he wanted to pay Constand for educational expenses, but from his personal funds, not a foundation he set up explicitly for those purposes. He also said he sent $5,000 to Therese Serignese, who says she had been drugged and assaulted in 1976, through his agency, which he afterward reimbursed.
And did that come from your personal account or from the business?
That’s from my personal account.
So, was the purpose of that to disguise—
I have to finish my question. Was to disguise that you were paying the money to Therese?
And the reason you were doing—who were you preventing from knowing that?