Live Updates: Bill Cosby Jurors Say They Weren't Influenced By #MeToo Or Outside Factors

Bill Cosby, who is charged with drugging and raping a woman in 2004 at his home in Pennsylvania, was retried after a judge was forced to declare a mistrial in the case last year. BuzzFeed News reporter Claudia Rosenbaum reported from the scene.

What We Know So Far

  • Bill Cosby, 80, was found guilty on all three counts of sexual assault for allegedly drugging and then raping Andrea Constand at his suburban home in Pennsylvania in 2004.
  • Cosby met Constand while she was running the women’s basketball program at the comedian’s alma mater, Temple University.
  • Cosby's defense team argued that the encounter was consensual, and that Constand made up the assault allegations in order to get a financial settlement in a previous civil case.
  • The first trial couldn’t reach a verdict last year, forcing the judge to declare a mistrial and setting the stage for this retrial.
  • Cosby settled with Constand in 2006 for nearly $3.4 million after she made similar allegations in a civil lawsuit, according to prosecutors.


Posted at

Jurors say they found Constand's testimony credible and compelling

Jurors in Bill Cosby's rape retrial said Monday that neither race nor the #MeToo movement factored into their guilty verdict.

In the lead up to and after Cosby's retrial, legal experts and other accusers hailed the guilty verdict as a watershed moment in the reckoning of powerful men accused of sexual misconduct. But in a statement published by The Philadelphia Inquirer on Monday, jurors said their decision "was not influenced in any way by factors other than what we heard and saw in the courtroom."

"Not once were race or the #metoo movement ever discussed, nor did either factor into our decision, as implied in various media outlets," the jury of seven men and five women wrote. "Simply put, we were asked to assess the credibility of Ms. Constand’s account of what happened to her, and each one of us found her account credible and compelling."

Read more here.

Posted at

Cosby's team: "Since when are all women honest?"

Bill Cosby’s team on Friday likened his rape conviction to the “public lynching” of an innocent man who fell victim to an unfair trial.

The decision by Judge Steven O'Neill to allow five additional accusers to testify undoubtedly played a major role in jury deliberations and is expected to be a key point when Cosby’s attorneys file for an appeal, as they have said they would.

“This became a public lynching,” Cosby’s spokesman, Andrew Wyatt, said on ABC’s Good Morning America.

His colleague, Ebonee Benson, also compared Cosby’s conviction of drugging and raping Andrea Constand, who is white, to Emmett Till, the black teenager who was kidnapped and killed in 1955 after he was accused of whistling at a white woman in Mississippi.

“Since when are all people honest? Since when are all women honest?” Benson told GMA’s George Stephanopolous when asked to explain the more than 60 Cosby accusers. “We can take a look at Emmett Till, for example. Not all people are honest.”

Wyatt also accused celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, who represents dozens of Cosby accusers, of helping some of the women fabricate their allegations.

Bill Cosby's publicist Ebonee Benson on @GMA this morning comparing his case to Emmett Till #disrespectful #disgraceful #embarrassing

Despite the verdict and jubilation among Cosby’s vast network of sexual assault accusers, Wyatt said the 80-year-old comedian — who faces up to 30 years in prison when he is sentenced in the next two to three months — remains confident.

“He maintains his innocence, and he is going to walk around as a man who's innocent because he didn't do anything wrong," Wyatt said.

Also on Friday, Constand personally spoke out for the first time since the verdict, thanking prosecutors on Twitter, and ending with, "Truth prevails."

A very profound and heartfelt thank you to the Commonwealth of PA, Montgomery County, for their service and sacrifices. Congratulations. Truth prevails.

—Jason Wells

Posted at

Cosby ordered to stay home and wear GPS tracking device

Bill Cosby was ordered Friday to stay within the confines of his multi-million-dollar estate and wear a GPS monitoring device.

The order is more restrictive than the one he was thought to have been left with on Thursday, which allowed him to move freely within Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, where his home is located.

Under the clarified order, Cosby is still allowed to travel outside his home to meet with his attorneys or get medical treatment, but he must get permission beforehand, the Associated Press reported.

Cosby was allowed to leave the courthouse Thursday under the objections of prosecutors who argued the comedian was a flight risk given his considerable assets. But the judge ruled that his current $1-million bail was sufficient.

—Jason Wells

Posted at

Cosby's alma mater revokes honorary degree

Citing his recent rape conviction, Bill Cosby's alma mater on Friday revoked his honorary degree.

Temple University said in a statement that the board of trustees had voted to accept a recommendation to revoke the degree, which was awarded to Cosby in 1991 for his career achievements.

Temple University is where Cosby met Andrea Constand, the woman he was found guilty of drugging and raping at his home in 2004. Constand said he took an interest in her while she was helping to manage the university's women's basketball team, but that one night at his home, he gave her pills that left her unable to resist as he sexually assaulted her.

Cosby, who had received a bachelor’s degree from Temple, had long been a commencement speaker and major fundraiser for the university.

—Jason Wells

Posted at

America's Dad faces 30 years in prison after being convicted in rape case

Bill Cosby was convicted Thursday of drugging and raping Andrea Constand at his Pennsylvania home in 2004, marking a new fall from grace for a comedian who built his reputation as America's Dad.

The jury for Cosby's first rape trial was unable to reach a verdict last year, however, this time, the jury of seven men and five women voted after about 14 hours of deliberation to convict the 80-year-old comedian on three counts of sexual assault after prosecutors were allowed to call five additional accusers to the stand.

Cosby, who was on the edge of his seat as the verdict was read aloud to gasps in the courtroom, now faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life behind bars if he is given the maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

Read more here.

—Claudia Rosenbaum

Posted at

Prosecutors paint Cosby as a dangerous predator in final comments to jury

Bill Cosby was not the America’s Dad fans came to love, but a predator who regularly plotted to drug and sexually assault women, prosecutors said at his rape trial Tuesday.

Cosby, who is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home in 2004, faces 30 years in prison if the jury in Norristown, Pennsylvania, convicts him.

“He is nothing like the image he played on TV,” Assistant District Attorney Kristen Feden said. “He is nothing like America’s Dad.”

Instead, prosecutors said during their closing arguments that Cosby carefully selected and groomed his alleged victims, shown in testimony given by five other women who said they too were drugged by the comedian, and in four cases, sexually assaulted. Constand was working at Cosby’s alma mater, Temple University, when she said he took a keen interest in her and her career.

“She sincerely thought of him as her trusted mentor…he ingratiated himself with her family,” Feden told jurors.

She also asked the jury to consider why the five other women testified. Earlier in the day, defense attorneys attacked their motivation for coming forward, arguing it had more to do with them seeking fame in the spotlight of the #MeToo movement. But Feden said it was telling the defense glossed over their testimony in closing arguments, and clearly showed a pattern.

“It’s the same con, it’s just a different victim,” Feden said.

The jury is expected to receive their instructions tomorrow before starting deliberations.

—Claudia Rosenbaum

Posted at

Cosby’s defense rests its case after attacking the credibility of his accuser

Bill Cosby’s attorneys settled their case Tuesday, calling his chief sexual assault accuser “a pathological liar” who fabricated rape claims in order to extract a multimillion-dollar payout.

Andrea Constand, who alleges Cosby drugged and raped her at his Pennsylvania home in 2004, settled with the comedian a year later in a civil lawsuit she filed for nearly $3.4 million.

“I call that settlement agreement one of the biggest highway robberies of all time,” defense attorney Thomas Mesereau said.

The case reemerged a decade later after a judge unsealed the transcripts in the case, making Cosby’s testimony — in which he admits to giving women sedatives before sex — public, sparking calls for criminal charges.

“He thought he was paying for peace,” Mesereau said. “He didn’t get the peace he thought he was getting.”

The defense also assailed the group of accusers who testified that they too were drugged and sexually assaulted by Cosby. The women, Cosby’s attorneys argued, were simply using the case to pile on with false allegations in search of fame and money.

Defense attorney Kathleen Bliss also took aim at what critics said could prove to be challenging to Cosby’s case in the deliberation room: the #MeToo movement and the reckoning of men in power that has transpired since the comedian’s mistrial.

“Mob rule is not due process,” Bliss said. “Witch hunts, lynching, McCarthyism — when you join a movement based on anger, then you don’t change a damn thing, which is why each case must be examined on its merits.”

For his second trial, Cosby’s defense attacked Constand’s credibility with much more vigor by using their star witness, Marguerite Jackson, a former Temple University employee who testified that Constand told her during a basketball team trip that she might frame a high-profile person in order to file a lawsuit.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this case was over with Ms. Jackson’s testimony,” Bliss said.

Constand, they argued, used her relationship with Cosby for financial gain, noting her repeated calls to his home, even after the alleged assault.

“I guess the question we have to ask is: Who’s pursuing who?” Mesereau said. “This woman will say anything. She is a pathological liar. You are dealing with a pathological liar, you are.”

—Claudia Rosenbaum

Posted at

Toxicologist says Benadryl or now-banned sedatives could have caused Cosby accuser to feel woozy

A toxicologist testified Thursday that the reaction Bill Cosby’s chief accuser described feeling after taking pills given to her at his home could have been caused by cold and allergy medicine or the now-banned sedative quaaludes.

Andrea Constand alleges she became incapacitated after taking pills given to her by Cosby before he raped her at his home in 2004. However, Cosby has said in previous testimony that sexual contact was consensual and that the pills were just Benadryl to help her sleep that night.

Testifying for the prosecution, forensic toxicologist Timothy Rohrig told jurors Constand could have felt woozy and other similar symptoms from Benadryl or another depressant drug. He also said the effects of quaaludes can be felt in 20 to 30 minutes and can last for two to three hours. And if taken with alcohol, as Constand alleges happened, the effects would be more severe, he added.

However, under cross-examination, Rohrig said taking three Benadryl pills would not cause paralysis, which is the condition Constand described feeling before she was allegedly assaulted.

The defense also noted there is no physical evidence — neither blood or hair sample nor actual pills — to prove Constand’s claim, and called their own expert witness who said he isn’t aware of any drug in a blue tablet form that would cause paralysis, dry mouth, inability to talk, and loss of memory.

Also on Thursday, the judge rejected another defense motion to acquit Cosby after prosecutors rested their case. Cosby’s attorneys will now present their case as the trial heads into its third week.

—Claudia Rosenbaum

Posted at

Key defense witness is challenged over inconsistencies

A woman who says Bill Cosby’s chief accuser told her that nothing actually happened between the two was grilled by prosecutors over inconsistencies between her testimony and prior statements given to attorneys.

Marguerite Jackson said Wednesday that she helped run the women’s basketball program at Temple University with Andrea Constand and roomed with her several times during away games. It was during one of those nights in 2004 — the same year Constand alleges Cosby drugged and raped her at his home — that Jackson says Constand told her she had been drugged and raped by a “high-profile person.”

“And I was like, ‘Really? Who? When?’ … I said, ‘Did you report it?’ And she said, ‘No, couldn’t prove it.’”

Jackson said she continued to press Constand for more information, but that she would only say he was “a high-profile person.”

“I asked her a third time: Did it really happen? And she said, ‘No, it didn’t, but I could say it did. I could quit my job and go back to school and start my business,’” Jackson testified.

Cosby’s defense team has changed tactics for his retrial. Last year, defense attorneys, who were blocked from calling Jackson as a witness, argued that the two were actually in a consensual romantic relationship. But jurors deadlocked and a mistrial was declared. This time around, the defense team is trying to portray Constand as a con artist who exploited her friendship with the comedian to set the stage for a multimillion-dollar settlement in a civil lawsuit that was based on bogus claims.

Jackson said Wednesday she had planned on testifying in the last trial and didn’t come forward sooner because Cosby had never before been criminally prosecuted.

But during cross-examination, Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Stewart Ryan asked Jackson why there were inconsistencies between her 2016 statement and her current testimony for Cosby’s defense team, including the number of times she roomed with Constand and the fact that she originally did not recall being told anything about setting up a celebrity.

Jackson responded that Cosby’s current attorneys asked her more probing questions this time and insisted that she didn’t change her statement.

“She said what she said,” Jackson said of Constand.

—Claudia Rosenbaum

Posted at

Publisher says Janice Dickinson was not allowed to include Cosby rape allegation in book for legal reasons

Janice Dickinson’s publisher testified Wednesday that the former supermodel told her Bill Cosby raped her and was upset that she would not be allowed to include the allegation in her book.

Judith Regan told jurors at Cosby’s rape retrial that Dickinson revealed her allegation during the process of preparing to write her autobiography, No Lifeguard on Duty, in 2002.

“I remember at one point during the preparation of the book she told me that she had been raped by Mr. Cosby, drugged and raped, and at the time I told her we would be unable to do that,” she said.

Regan told jurors Dickinson didn’t have the corroboration needed for the legal department to sign off on including the allegation in the book, which made her “very angry.”

“We told her if she wanted to do the story, she had to do it in a different way,” Regan said.

Dickinson was the fourth woman to testify at Cosby’s retrial that she was drugged and raped by the comedian. A fifth woman testified that she was drugged but can’t fully remember what happened. Her allegations that she was drugged and raped while on a trip to visit Cosby in Lake Tahoe in 1982 is what set off a tidal wave of backlash that destroyed the comedian’s career.

In her book, however, she tells a highly glossed-over version in which she believes she was drugged but that no sex act took place. Pressed to explain the inconsistency on the stand last week, Dickinson said she was told by her editors that the rape allegation would never make it in the book and she needed the money.

When asked if the inconsistency was actually Dickinson’s doing, Regan replied: “The story that Janice told me was that Mr. Cosby had drugged and raped her.”

—Claudia Rosenbaum

Posted at

Jury hears 2005 testimony in which Cosby admits to sexual contact with Constand

Bill Cosby admitted in a 2005 police interview to having sexual contact with his chief assault accuser, Andrea Constand, but insisted it was consensual.

Jurors on Tuesday were read the transcript of the interview, which was conducted in Manhattan roughly two weeks after Constand told police that Cosby had drugged and raped her at his suburban home in Pennsylvania in 2004.

Cheltenham Township Police Sgt. Richard Schaffer testified in Norristown, Pennsylvania, that during that deposition, Cosby told the police his friendship with Constand had become romantic, and that on the night of the alleged assault, she was at his house discussing her inability to sleep. Cosby said he then went upstairs and returned with one and a half tablets of over-the-counter Benadryl. After she took them, Cosby said they moved to his couch.

“We began to pet, touching and kissing with clothes on,” Cosby told the police.

He added that Constand never told him to stop when he started touching her, and that he never unzipped his pants.

“I enjoyed it and I stopped and then I went up to bed,” Cosby said.

Constand alleges that the pills he gave her were actually quaaludes, a now-banned sedative, which rendered her incapacitated before he sexually assaulted her.

When asked by Cosby's defense to weigh on what they said was Constand's inconsistencies, Montgomery County Detective James Reape, who read portions of the transcript aloud in court, said he was inclined to believe her.

"I have strong beliefs that he drugged and sexually assaulted Andrea Constand," Reape said.

The judge in the case also ruled Tuesday that jurors can hear testimony Cosby gave for a deposition related to Constand's lawsuit in which he acknowledges acquiring quaaludes from his doctor in the 1970s for a sore back, but also giving them to women before having sex. Defense attorneys argued the testimony should be blocked because there’s no evidence he gave the sedatives to Constand.

—Claudia Rosenbaum

Posted at

Andrea Constand's mother recalls confronting Cosby over allegations

The mother of Andrea Constand told jurors Monday that Bill Cosby admitted to drugging and sexually assaulting her daughter in a phone conversation.

“'Don’t worry, mom, there was no penile penetration,'” Gianna Constand says Cosby told her in a three-way call with her and her daughter.

She added that she was concerned the sedatives would have long-term health effects, noting that something in her daughter had changed.

“My daughter was not the same person as when she returned from Temple,” Gianna Constand said. “She was not the same person as she left.”

She told the jury that after her daughter gave her statement to Canadian police, she bought a voice recorder and when Cosby called back, she recorded the conversation. During that call, which was played for the jury, Cosby said he didn’t want to talk about anything “except a mutual feeling of a friendship” and offered to pay for Andrea to go to graduate school.

“We never asked for anything,” she said. “I only asked for an apology.”

In the recording, Gianna tries to get Cosby to tell her what kind of drugs he gave Andrea, but the comedian says he doesn’t want to discuss anything over the phone.

Cosby’s attorney, Kathleen Bliss, asked Gianna Constand during a heated back-and-forth if she knew her daughter was about to be fired from Temple University and was experiencing financial problems at the time.

“This isn’t about money, Ms. Bliss,” Gianna said.

She eventually broke down on the stand, telling the court she knew what Cosby did to her daughter “because he told me.”

—Claudia Rosenbaum

Posted at

Bill Cosby accuser denies knowing key defense witness

Bill Cosby’s chief accuser on Monday denied knowing the woman who plans to testify that the sexual assault allegations were all part of a set up to extract money from the comedian.

Andrea Constand told jurors she doesn't recall meeting or talking to Marguerite Jackson, who the defense team says will testify that Constand had told her about setting a high-profile person up.

Both women worked at Temple University, where Constand helped run the women’s basketball team.

Jackson was blocked from testifying at Cosby’s trial last year after Constand denied knowing her in court. However, since the mistrial, prosecutors have told Cosby's lawyers that Constand acknowledged she "recalls a Margo.” The judge ruled earlier that Jackson can take the stand this time around, but left open the possibility of changing his mind after Constand is done testifying.

Cosby is accused of drugging and raping Constand at his Pennsylvania home in 2004. The 80-year-old comedian maintains that the encounter was consensual.

His defense team has tried to paint Constand as a liar who schemed to make up the sex assault allegations in order to extract badly needed money in a civil settlement related to her lawsuit.

Cosby’s first trial ended in a mistrial after the jury deadlocked.

—Claudia Rosenbaum

Posted at

Chief accuser Andrea Constand faces Cosby for a second time

The woman at the center of Bill Cosby's rape trial took the stand Friday to reiterate allegations that the comedian drugged and raped her at his home in 2004.

Andrea Constand made the same allegations at Cosby's first rape trial last year, but the jury could not reach a verdict, forcing the judge to declare a mistrial and setting the stage for her to face the comedian once again on day five of his retrial.

Constand said she was introduced to Cosby in 2002 by a supporter of his alma mater, Temple University, where she helped run the women's basketball team. What started out as a friendship built around his interest in the team morphed into a mentorship over time, with dinners at his house and calls to her personal phone that were never sexual in nature, she testified.

At the time, Constand was in her thirties and Cosby was in the sixties — older than her father.

At one point, she met Cosby in New York, where he took an interest in her communications degree and set up a dinner with him and others in the entertainment industry, she said.

“He was starting to mentor me and wanting to help me explore this part that I had with film and television and try to set me up for me to consider a career in broadcasting,” Constand told the court. “It was more of a mentorship.”

Several months later, Constand said Cosby invited her to dinner at his house to discuss her interests in broadcasting, although a career in that field was not her priority.

“That night stands out in mind because when I finished dinner Mr. Cosby had a glass of wine," she said, adding that he offered her some brandy.

“At some point, he reached his hand over to try and unbutton the button on my pants. I could feel his finger trying to undo the zipper on the knob in my hands and actually undo my pants," she said. "I leaned forward and it stopped. And nothing was ever said about it again."

When asked if Cosby understood from her reaction that she was not interested, Constand replied, “He got the picture.”

However, Cosby kept calling Temple, Constand testified, and she later accepted an invitation to meet him at Foxwoods Casino. She said it was getting late when Cosby told her to come to his room because he had some baked goods for her. After she sat on the corner of the bed, Constand said Cosby came into the room and lay down.

“He just laid down and I thought something was wrong,” she said. “I thought he was feeling down.”

She said she sat at the base of the bed and watched him sleep for a few minutes before going back to her room. At that point, Constand said she considered Cosby to be a mentor and friend.

“He was a well-respected Temple advocate and alumni. He was also a trustee. He was also a community leader, and that made him a well-respected person at Temple and I was very grateful for everything he did," she said.

Regarding this alleged sexual advances, Constand said she thought "it was a little absurd given that Mr. Cosby was a little bit younger than my grandfather and he was a married man." But, she added, "I wasn’t threatened and I didn’t judge him."

Constand then told the jury what occurred in January 2004, when she had decided she wanted to leave Temple University and pursue a career in massage therapy and was thinking about how she would hand in her resignation. Cosby, she said, had invited her to his house to talk about her career, so she went to deliver the news.

When she arrived, Constand testified there was a glass of wine already poured for her.

“He wanted me to try it just to taste it,” she said.

After returning from the bathroom, Constand said Cosby had retrieved something to help with her stress.

“Mr. Cosby reached his hand out and there were three blue pills in his hand. He said, 'These are your friends — they will help you take the edge off,'" she testified.

She said he knew that she didn’t like to take even an Advil and preferred natural remedies.

“I trusted him and I took the pills,” she said.

Constand testified that she soon felt the effects and her words began to slur.

“I didn’t know what was going on but I knew something was wrong. I stood up and Mr. Cosby stood up and he got up to guide me. My legs were very rubbery. I didn’t have a lot of strength," she said.

Constand testified that Cosby guided her to the sofa, put a pillow behind her head, and told her to relax.

“I was very scared. I didn’t know what was happening with my body and why I was feeling that way…I knew something was wrong and I started to panic a little bit," she said.

Next, she recalled, “I was kind of jolted awake. I felt Mr. Cosby behind me and my vagina was being penetrated quite forcefully. And I could feel my breasts were being touched. And he took my hand and placed it on his penis and masturbated. And I was not able to do a thing.”

She said she was unable to speak or move her hand away.

“I wanted it to stop," she said. "I was limp and I could not fight him off."

Constand told the court she felt humiliated, shocked, and confused. She said her next memory was getting off the couch with her bra around her neck and her pants unzipped. She said she looked at her watch and it was 4 or 5 a.m.

“As I walked towards the door, Mr. Cosby was standing between the living room and dining room and was wearing a robe and he said there is a muffin and tea,” she said. The last thing Constand said she remembers is taking a few sips of tea and grabbing the top of the muffin and a putting it in the napkin and leaving.

She didn’t confront him because she was so confused, Constand added.

“I knew what he had done to me, but it didn’t sink in till I was driving home,” she said.

After returning to her native Canada, Constand said she eventually told her mother, who helped her filed a police report.

“I didn’t want it to happen to anyone else — what had happened to me,” she said. “And I was scared. ... He was a Temple trustee. A very famous person.”

Constand added that after her mother left a message for Cosby, he called back the next day, with her and her mother listening on separate phones.

“Mr. Cosby admitted everything that I had told and apologized,” Constand said.

Four of the five women who testified earlier this week also alleged that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them, often under the guise of offering to help them with their careers.

Prosecutors are seeking to establish a pattern of predatory behavior to paint Cosby as a serial sexual assaulter, with Constand just one of many victims to fall prey to the comedian over the decades.

But under cross-examination by defense attorney Thomas Mesereau, Constand acknowledged accepting gifts from Cosby, including a bottle of perfume and two cashmere sweaters, and calling him after the alleged assault, including twice on Valentine’s Day. She also said she went back to Cosby’s house alone after the alleged assault, but only to confront him and get answers.

Constand also told Mesereau she never saw Cosby’s wife during the six times she visited the house. Asked if she ever inquired about her whereabouts, Constand replied, "No, it was not my business."

Claudia Rosenbaum

Posted at

Fifth accuser says she wants Cosby to show "some remorse"

A fifth woman accused Bill Cosby in his rape trial of secretly giving her something that made her black out.

In her testimony Thursday, Lise Lotte-Lublin reiterated allegations she made public in 2015: that in 1989 the comedian secretly drugged her when she was a 23-year-old model. Lotte-Lublin said she then blacked out in his hotel suite and woke up at her home.

Lotte-Lublin had gone to Cosby’s room because offered to tutor her in acting improvisation, she said, but he insisted she drink some alcohol.

“I kind of trusted him because he is America’s Dad,” she said. “So I took the drink.”

Lotte-Lublin testified that Cosby then gave her a second drink, and added, “Within a few minutes, I got woozy and he asked me to come sit with him.”

She said Cosby asked her to sit between his legs, after which he began stroking her hair.

“It wasn’t appropriate. I didn’t know what to do,” she said. “I didn’t have the power to move or get up. I didn’t understand why he was touching me and I couldn’t do anything about it.”

Lotte-Lublin remembers walking in the suite’s hallway but nothing else from that night.

“When I woke up, I was at home,” she said.

Unlike the four other women who have so far testified in Cosby’s rape retrial, Lotte-Lublin did not recount any specific allegations of sexual assault, although she told jurors “something must have happened after I blacked out.”

“I believe there was a purpose for me to black out,” she testified.

When asked by the prosecution what she wanted from Cosby, she replied: “An apology. Take responsibility for his actions. Some remorse.”

Cosby’s chief accuser in his retrial, Andrea Constand, is slated to take the stand on Friday to testify to her allegations that the comedian drugged and raped her at his home in Pennsylvania in 2004.

—Claudia Rosenbaum

Posted at

Janice Dickson testifies that Cosby raped her: "I wanted to punch him in the face"

Former model Janice Dickinson took the stand at Bill Cosby’s rape trial on Thursday, telling jurors the comedian flew her to Lake Tahoe under the guise of furthering her acting career, only to drug and rape her in his hotel room.

“I wanted to hit him. I wanted to punch him in the face,” she said. “I remember feeling anger, humiliated, ashamed.”

Dickinson is the fourth woman to testify at Cosby’s retrial that she was drugged and raped by the comedian as prosecutors seek to paint him as a serial sexual assaulter and bolster allegations that he did the same thing to Andrea Constand in 2004 at his home in Pennsylvania.

Dickinson is also the highest-profile Cosby accuser, whose allegations early on set off a tidal wave of backlash that decimated the comedian’s career.

She told jurors Thursday that early in her modeling career, Cosby reached out to meet her and offer his help with her acting and singing ambitions. While working in Bali in 1982, Dickinson said he called her at her hotel and offered to fly her to Lake Tahoe where he was performing.

“I felt confident to accept this invitation because I thought it would be the next step to further my career,” she said.

In Lake Tahoe, Dickinson, who was 27 at the time, said she started to get menstrual cramps and Cosby gave her a blue pill that he said would help.

“Shortly after I took the pill, I started to feel dizzy, woozy, and slightly out of it,” Dickinson said. “Cosby said, ‘We will continue this conversation upstairs.’”

She said she was able to make it up to the room and take Polaroid pictures of Cosby in the hotel room. In one of the photos, which was shown to the jury, Cosby was on the phone and wearing a patchwork robe.

“Shortly after I took the pictures and he finished the phone call, he got on top of me,” she said. “His robe opened. I remembered he smelled of cigars, espresso. I couldn’t move. I was thinking, ‘What the f—, what the heck is he doing? I didn’t consent to this. What is he doing?’”

She added that before she passed out, “I felt vaginal pain. … It was gross.”

Dickinson told the court that she woke up the next day in her own room.

“I looked down and I noticed semen between my legs. I felt anal pain,” she said. “I took a mirror and looked at myself…I remember thinking, ‘I am disgusted. I am in shock and I am humiliated.’”

When asked why she did not file a report with police, Dickinson said she was afraid about how it would affect her burgeoning modeling career.

“I had finally made it as a model,” she said. “I had conservative clients — Vogue, Revlon, Maybelline… I had clients that would not appreciate the fact that I had been raped and gone to the police.”

She did, however, tell her best friend and others, including a ghostwriter, but was warned that she could not include it in her book.

“They told me, ‘This isn’t going to get past Cosby’s legal team,’” she said. “I knew he could ruin your career.”

Dickinson is currently suing Cosby for attempting to discredit her claims after she went public on Entertainment Tonight.

Asked by Cosby's attorney, Tom Mesereau, if she wanted the comedian convicted to help her win her civil case, Dickinson replied, "I want him to apologize to all the women."

Mesereau also asked Dickinson about discrepancies between her 2002 autobiography and her testimony in court. For example, in her book, she described going back to Cosby’s room after the alleged assault to look for a quaalude. However, on Thursday, Dickinson said she made it up under direction from her editors to take "poetic license," but also avoid a lawsuit.

"I wanted a paycheck," she said. "When I wanted to write the truth, I was denied."

—Claudia Rosenbaum

Posted at

Third accuser says she was mortified after being drugged and assaulted by Cosby

The third of what is expected to be five additional accusers testified Wednesday that she passed out after taking pills given to her by Bill Cosby when she 24, only to wake up naked in his bed in the morning with a “sticky wetness between my legs.”

“It felt like I had sex the night before… there was evidence between my legs that something had occurred there,” said Janice Baker-Kinney, who met Cosby in 1982 while working as a bartender at Harrah’s casino hotel in Reno, Nevada.

Baker-Kinney told jurors that one of the cocktail waitresses invited her to come with her to a pizza party at Cosby’s house, but when they arrived, no one else was there. She figured she’d just stay for a drink or two, and at some point, she said Cosby offered them both pills.

“Even though I didn’t know him, I trusted him,” she said.

They sat down to play backgammon, but Baker-Kinney said she soon felt dizzy and “face-planted into the board.”

Baker-Kinney told jurors she heard her friend leaving and then noticed that her blouse and pants were undone. Cosby then allegedly started groping her breast and moving his hands down to her pants. She said she was unable to walk but remembers Cosby helping her to his bedroom.

Her next memory is waking up the next morning in bed naked with Cosby, Baker-Kinney testified.

“I apologized to Mr. Cosby because I was so mortified I passed out,” she said, adding that when she left, Cosby told her “this is just between you and me.”

Baker-Kinney said she didn’t want anyone to know about the incident because she was mortified, and for years, carried a lot of shame and guilt about the alleged assault. She said she told her sister, best friend, and roommates about what happened.

“I know now that it was a stupid choice, that I didn’t do anything really wrong,” she said. “I pushed it away, but I will always have that doubt.”

But Cosby's attorney, Thomas Mesereau, questioned why Baker-Kinney kept a souvenir of a flyer for the comedian in her scrapbook, and delved into her past drug use. However, Baker-Kinney said she has been sober for 20 years and never did drugs while living in Reno.

Mesereau also asked her why she said in her statement that she didn’t think for 30 years that she was raped. Baker-Kinney replied it was because she didn’t want to admit it.

"I still don’t like to say the words 'I was raped.' I don’t want to think that while I was unconscious, someone thought it was OK to have sex with me," she said, adding: "I blamed myself. I thought it was my fault for 30 years. That is why I didn’t say it was rape."

—Claudia Rosenbaum

Posted at

Second accuser gives emotional testimony about alleged assault: "You remember, don’t you, Mr. Cosby?"

A second woman took the stand in Bill Cosby’s rape trial to accuse him of immobilizing her with drugs before sexually assaulting her more than 30 years ago in his hotel room.

As she struggled to keep her composure, Chelan Lasha at one point looked directly at Cosby and said: “You remember, don’t you, Mr. Cosby?”

The comedian’s defense team immediately moved for a mistrial. The judge denied their request but ordered her comment stricken from the record.

Lasha broke down in tears Wednesday as she told jurors how Cosby took an interest in her after meeting her as a high school senior through her father’s connection to the comedian’s production company. She was 17 and had recently graduated high school when Cosby called her family’s house and asked that she meet him at his Las Vegas hotel to discuss modeling, Lasha testified.

“I felt special,” she said. “He said he was going to help me with my modeling…and was talking about a new character that was going to be on The Cosby Show.”

However, at the time, Lasha said, she felt sick, so Cosby gave her a little blue pill, which he told her was an antihistamine, along with a shot of amaretto.

Lasha testified through tears that she was immobilized and that Cosby “kept pinching my breast and humping my leg. And then I remember something wet hit my leg.”

She said she didn’t know how she made it out of the hotel but she told a guidance counselor and her older sister what had happened. But Lasha testified that Cosby later called her and said “people who talk too much can be quieted” before hanging up.

“I trusted that man,” she said, adding that she lost her job over the alleged incident.

Lasha is the second of five women, in addition to Andrea Constand, who are slated to tell jurors that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them as prosecutors attempt to establish a pattern of criminal behavior.

In testimony given for Constand’s civil case, Cosby acknowledged giving women sedatives before sex but insisted the encounters were consensual. His defense team has tried to paint his accusers as opportunistic and scheming for publicity and financial gain.

Lasha said she came forward publicly in the fall of 2014 when she saw a news report about Cosby that mentioned her by name. Lasha said she called the number that was on the screen and was told to call the police, after which she filed her report.

Cosby’s defense attorney, Kathleen Bliss, suggested Lasha lost her job because she heckled the comedian's television show on set two days after the alleged incident.

"I was acting out because he raped me," Lasha said.

She also broke down sobbing during the cross-examination when asked if she wanted Cosby prosecuted.

"Yes," she responded, "because I don't want this to happen to anyone else."

Cosby's defense team also scrutinized Lasha's police statement, noting that it lacked many of the details she gave in court.

—Claudia Rosenbaum

Posted at

The first of five additional accusers says Cosby forced her to give oral sex

The first of five additional Bill Cosby accusers took the stand at his rape trial Tuesday, telling jurors that the comedian forced her to perform oral sex on him in 1984 when she was 24.

Heidi Thomas, now a private music teacher in Colorado, was an aspiring actor when she said her agent told her that a “prominent icon in the entertainment world wanted to mentor promising young talent.”

“I didn’t know who it was,” Thomas said. “She simply wanted to know if I was available and I said, ‘Yeah.’”

Thomas added that she was told not to tell others about Cosby at the agency because they would be jealous that she was selected for the “one-on-one mentoring.” After Thomas was flown in to meet the actor in Reno, Nevada, she said Cosby answered the door of his home and told her to change into something more comfortable.

After Thomas delivered one monologue, she testified, Cosby gave her another script he wanted her to do: the part of an intoxicated woman. She said Cosby then brought her a glass of wine to help her get into the role, but after that, her memory goes blank.

The next thing she remembers after the reading is waking up in bed, clothed, and a naked Cosby forcing himself into her mouth, Thomas testified.

“I remember thinking, how did I get there,” she told jurors. “This isn’t what I’m here for.”

When she returned to Denver, Thomas said, she gave up acting. And it wasn’t until years later that Thomas said she told a psychiatrist and her husband about what happened.

In total, prosecutors plan to call five additional accusers to bolster Andrea Constand’s allegation that Cosby drugged and raped her at his Pennsylvania home in 2004. The judge only allowed one other accuser to testify at his first rape trial last year that ended in a mistrial.

—Claudia Rosenbaum

Posted at

Psychiatrist says Andrea Constand's delayed assault report is normal behavior

Prosecutors on Tuesday called on a psychiatrist to explain the behavior of the woman who alleges Bill Cosby drugged and raped her, particularly maintaining contact with the comedian and waiting more than a year to go to the police.

Cosby’s defense team is trying to paint Cosby’s accuser, Andrea Constand, as someone who took advantage of their relationship to fabricate the assault in order to extract a multimillion-dollar settlement in a civil case. Records of her repeatedly contacting Cosby after the alleged rape, the defense said, bolsters their argument that Cosby was played.

The alleged rape occurred in 2004, and two years later, she settled out of court for nearly $3.4 million after filing a civil lawsuit.

But the first witness for the prosecution on Tuesday, psychiatrist Barbara Ziv, told jurors that sexual assault is “one of the most misunderstood crimes” and that 85% of incidents are perpetrated by someone who is known to the victim.

The vast majority of sexual assault victims also do not report the crime, and if they do, the reporting is often delayed, Ziv said. It’s also not uncommon for victims to maintain contact with their abusers, she added.

—Claudia Rosenbaum

Posted at

Cosby's defense attorney says sexual assault accuser is a "con artist"

Bill Cosby's attorney on Tuesday sought to paint the woman he's accused of raping as greedy "con artist," and that at the end of the trial, jurors will "gladly" find the comedian not guilty.

"Finally, we welcome the opportunity for the truth to get out,” defense attorney Thomas Mesereau said. “Finally, Mr. Cosby has his day in court. It’s brutal for him. He is 80 years old and legally blind.”

Cosby is accused of drugging and raping Andrea Constand at his home in Pennsylvania in 2004. Constand, who ran the women’s basketball team at his alma mater, Temple University, settled with Cosby in a related civil lawsuit two years later for nearly $3.4 million in exchange for not discussing the matter. However, details of the lawsuit and Cosby’s testimony were made public about a decade later when the transcript of his deposition was unsealed.

In his opening statements Tuesday, Mesereau said Constand concocted false allegations of sexual assault knowing that his client would likely pay a hefty amount to make the case go away.

The defense plans to call on a woman whom Constand traveled with during team games. Mesereau said she will testify that Constand confided in her that she planned to make up the assault allegation for money.

“She had a history of financial problems until she hits the jackpot with Bill Cosby,” Mesereau calmly told the jury.

He said Constand was close to defaulting on a loan and took advantage of a celebrity grieving the death of his son to set the stage for a fabricated story of sexual assault and, ultimately, a multimillion-dollar payout.

Mesereau also questioned the motivation behind Constand’s repeated visits to Cosby’s house.

“I wonder why?” he asked the jury. “I’ll tell you why: She is now a multimillionaire because she pulled it off.”

In his testimony at his civil trial, Cosby acknowledged giving women sedatives before sex, but insisted the encounters, including with Constand, were consensual.

“At the end, you will say Mr. Cosby is no criminal..he was foolish, he was ridiculous, but he didn’t commit a crime,” Mesereau said. “You will gladly find him not guilty.”

—Claudia Rosenbaum

Posted at

Cosby paid accuser nearly $3.4 million to keep quiet, prosecutor says

Bill Cosby paid Andrea Constand nearly $3.4 million in 2006 to settle claims that he had sexually assaulted her two years earlier at his home in Pennsylvania, a prosecutor said Monday.

The amount the comedian paid Constand as part of the settlement agreement had not been previously disclosed. However, on Monday, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele revealed the amount as part of his opening statement for Cosby’s criminal retrial in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

Constand alleges Cosby drugged and then raped her at his home while she was working for the Temple University women's basketball team. No criminal charges were filed at the time, but she did bring a civil lawsuit against him, which was resolved with a confidentiality agreement between both parties.

“This case is about trust,” Steele said in court as he outlined the prosecution’s case. “This case is about betrayal and that betrayal leading to the sexual assault of that woman Andrea Constand.”

Steele told the jury Cosby built up trust with Constand over time, but in 2004, that trust was betrayed.

“It was betrayed because he used those words to try to get her to take pills,” Steele said. “Then he used words to try to get her to drink something. Because of that trust, she did.”

Steele alleges Cosby told Constand about the pills, “These are your friends. I have three friends for you that will make you relax.” What happened instead, Steele alleges, is that Constand was incapacitated and raped.

—Claudia Rosenbaum

Posted at

Alleged sexual assault victim: "This is bigger than Cosby"

Bill Cosby's retrial for alleged sexual assault is for many who gathered here in Norristown another shot at justice — not just for Andrea Constand, but for others not included in the charges.

One of Cosby’s alleged victims, 75-year-old Victoria Valentino, told BuzzFeed News she believes the retrial will help change "rape culture."

Valentino was a Playboy bunny in the 1960s who alleges Cosby drugged and raped her at an apartment in the Hollywood Hills.

"This is bigger than Cosby," she said.

Valentino added that she is hopeful the outcome of the new trial will be different this time, given the additional witnesses and the effects of greater awareness around the issue of sexual assault.

"With the five witnesses, we think the jury would see a pattern of sexual predatory behavior," Valentino said. "We want to see justice prevail. Justice for Andrea is justice for us."

However, Caroline Heldman, a sexual assault victim’s advocate, said she is less hopeful that the #MeToo movement will have an impact, adding that the trial feels like "déjà vu all over again."

"I’m not really optimistic as many seem that the #MeToo movement will have an impact," she said. "I’m really happy with the social movement, but at the end of the day, it just takes one person to hang a jury."

—Claudia Rosenbaum

Posted at

Cosby sexual assault retrial starts with more accusers set to take the stand this time around

Bill Cosby arrived for the first day of his sexual assault retrial in Pennsylvania on Monday to protesters and a courtroom that will be under the glare of the #MeToo movement.

Cosby, who is charged with drugging and raping Andrea Constand at his home in 2004, avoided a guilty verdict last year when the jury failed to reach consensus, forcing the judge to declare a mistrial. But that trial on the same charges occurred before the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct scandal broke, prompting the #MeToo and Time's Up movements that have changed how allegations of sexual assault and harassment are treated.

“We are in a different place culturally than we were a year ago,” Maya Raghu, director of workplace equality and senior counsel at the National Women’s Law Center, told BuzzFeed News. “The effect of the national reckoning that we have been having for the last six months in particular has helped dispel a lot of stereotypes about victims. People are more willing to understand how things happen, why these things happen, not to blame the victim for them, and to not be so quick to judge.”

As with the last go-around, protesters gathered outside the Montgomery County courthouse in Norristown on Monday. A topless woman with the phrase "Women's Lives Matter" written in red ink across the front of her body was arrested after she ran in front of Cosby outside.

Constand said she came to know Cosby while running the women’s basketball program at the comedian’s alma mater, Temple University.

She testified that after she arrived at his home in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, to discuss her career plans in 2004, Cosby offered her three blue pills, which he allegedly said were herbal. Soon after taking the pills, Constand testified, her speech became slurred and she began to lose control of her body. She said she didn’t remember passing out until she was “jolted awake” with Cosby’s hand inside her vagina as he masturbated.

More than 50 women have also accused the 80-year-old comedian of drugging and sexually assaulting them. But last year, prosecutors were only allowed to call one other woman to bolster Constand's allegation with a similar accusation of being assaulted. This time, however, prosecutors will be able to call five women who say they were similarly assaulted by Cosby.

—Claudia Rosenbaum

Topics in this article

Skip to footer