UPDATE: Bill Cosby‘s accuser in the sexual assault case against him entered the courtroom Tuesday (June 6) on Day 2 of the comedian’s trial, moving a step closer to telling her story publicly for the first time. Cosby, 79, is charged with drugging and molesting Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. The TV star dubbed America’s Dad could get 10 years in prison if convicted.
Constand, a 44-year-old former employee of the basketball program at Temple University, Cosby’s alma mater, has never spoken publicly about him under the terms of a confidential settlement they reached in 2006. Her deposition from that lawsuit remains sealed.
Some 60 women have come forward to say Cosby sexually violated them, all but destroying his nice-guy image on screen and off, but the statute of limitations for prosecution had run out in nearly every case. Constand’s case is the only one in which Cosby has been charged. The long-awaited courtroom confrontation drew near as prosecutors used the first day and a half of the trial to argue that Cosby made a habit of knocking women out with pills and then molesting them.
Kelly Johnson testified on Day 1 that Cosby drugged molested her at a Los Angeles hotel bungalow in 1996. She said she lost consciousness soon after Cosby pressured her to take a large white pill. She said that when she awoke, Cosby was naked and forced her to sexually gratify him with her hand.
On Tuesday, Johnson’s mother, Pattrice Sewell, told jurors that her daughter was distraught during a telephone call in 1996, fearing Cosby was trying to get her fired from her job working for the comedian’s agent. A few weeks later, Sewell said, Johnson disclosed that she had woken up next to Cosby in bed with her clothes askew.
The defense has attacked Johnson’s credibility over discrepancies in her accounts, including the year it occurred. Cosby grinned at the defense table as she struggled to explain them. Sewell, who prosecutors hoped would help corroborate Johnson’s story, said they didn’t go to police at the time because her husband, a Los Angeles detective, feared the ordeal that would ensue.
“Her father didn’t want her to be humiliated and feel shame and embarrassment as he had seen other women go through when they went to the police at that time. He didn’t want that,” Sewell said. Johnson told a similar story in 1996, when she gave sworn testimony in a deposition attached to a worker’s compensation claim.
Joseph Miller, a workers’ compensation lawyer, testified Tuesday he was taken aback when Johnson said she had been drugged and violated by Cosby. He said Johnson made the disclosure while pursuing a claim that she had developed debilitating stress from her secretarial job.
Miller said Johnson was tearful as she described waking up on a bed with her dress pulled down and her breast exposed — details that matched the story Johnson told on the stand. But Miller’s timeline differed somewhat from Johnson’s. He said she testified in 1996 about going to Cosby’s home after the alleged assault. Johnson said on Monday that that meeting happened beforehand.
Cosby’s lawyers have argued that deceased witnesses, lost evidence and fading memories make it nearly impossible for them to defend the comedian against the 12-year-old complaint. Prosecutors this week plan to call a toxicologist to discuss the effects of drugs like quaaludes, a powerful sedative, and the cold and allergy medicine Benadryl, both of which Cosby has acknowledged giving women before sexual encounters.
Cosby is charged with sexually assaulting Constand after giving her three unmarked blue pills.
The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are sexual assault victims unless they grant permission, which Constand and Johnson have done.