The sometimes cringe-inducing transcript came from a deposition taken in a lawsuit Constand filed against Cosby more than a decade ago. It represents a high point in the presentation of documentary evidence by prosecutors who have kept a courtroom audience here rapt over three and a half days of frequently gripping testimony from live witnesses.
A police officer, assuming the role of Cosby, read from the transcript in which the legendary comedian often sounds cavalier or crude. At one point, his questioner — an attorney for Constand — confronts him about his comments regarding her backside.
“Andrea said she wanted a tight butt,” Cosby said.
“So, you interpret that to mean you were allowed to touch her butt?” said the attorney, Dolores Troiani.
“You’re darn right,” Cosby responded.
For much of the 50 minutes that the transcript was being read to jurors, Cosby sat leaning back in the swivel chair he has occupied at the head of the defense table. But when the officer got to a portion of the transcript in which he described Constand allegedly stroking his penis, Cosby nodded several times.
The transcript stems from a civil lawsuit Constand eventually settled with Cosby in 2006. A federal judge, at the request of the Associated Press, unsealed portions of the deposition in 2015. Detailed reports about the full deposition were later published in the media, first by the New York Times and shortly thereafter by The Washington Post.
In the transcript, Cosby describes two sexual encounters with Constand at his suburban Philadelphia estate and talks of how he gave her one and a half Benadryl tablets. She fell asleep on Cosby’s sofa that night.
He also boasts of his ability to gauge a woman’s reactions to sexual advances.
“I’m a pretty good reader of people and their emotions in these romantic and sexual things,” he said.
On Friday, prosecutors are expected to continue showing the deposition transcript to jurors, presumably including passages in which he admits to acquiring quaaludes to give to women with whom he wants to have sex.
Jurors also listened Thursday to a police detective read Cosby’s testimony in a lengthy 2005 police interview report. During that interview, Cosby explained that he uses Benadryl as a sleep aid, and said the medication is sufficiently potent that he becomes drowsy and drifts off immediately after taking them.
“I would not take this and go out and perform,” Cosby told police.
Cosby’s disclosure to police in January 2005 that he gave Constand Benadryl could be used by prosecutors to assert that the comedian tried to make his alleged victim lose consciousness. Cosby, who was interviewed in New York with two attorneys by his side, told police how he’d met Constand at Temple University, where he was on the Board of Trustees and she worked as an operations director for the women’s basketball team.
Prosecutors have attempted to suggest that Constand felt pressure to maintain contact with Cosby — even after the alleged assault — because the comedian held an important position with Temple, her employer.
Cheltenham, Pa., Police Sgt. Richard Schaffer testified Thursday that during his investigation a woman he attempted to interview at Constand’s condo building refused to speak to him because “Temple University told her not to talk to police.”
Ultimately, the investigation foundered. Bruce Castor, then the Montgomery County district attorney, decided not to charge Cosby. In 2015, another district attorney decided to reopen the case and Cosby was charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault shortly before the expiration of Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations for that crime. Kevin Steele, the Montgomery County district attorney prosecuting Cosby, made the previous decision not to charge Cosby a key talking point in his 2015 election campaign against Castor, who was trying to regain his old job.
Schaffer, one of the officers who conducted the 2005 police interview shown to jurors, is the ninth witness prosecutors have called in four days of often riveting and emotional testimony. The case is progressing so quickly that Steven T. O’Neill, the Montgomery County judge overseeing the trial, has said it’s likely the trial will wrap up sooner than his previous two- to three-week estimate.
Speaking in a monotone, Schaffer read Cosby’s responses to police questions, including his graphic account of the night of the alleged assault. Cosby, who is a month shy of his 80th birthday, seemed to follow along closely from his perch at the end of the defense table a few feet away.
In the police interview, Cosby said he did not tell Constand what type of pill he’d given her, and that she did not appear incapacitated. That contradicts sharply with Constand’s account. She testified Tuesday that she felt “frozen,” could not move her arms and wanted Cosby to stop touching her breasts and vagina.
Cosby, however, recounted for police what he described as a consensual sexual encounter.
“There was petting and touching of private parts,” Cosby said in the interview.
Asked whether he and Constand had sexual intercourse, Cosby said: “I didn’t feel like it. I like the petting the touching,”
Cosby also told the investigators that the only time he got an erection was when Constand told him, “No.”
At the end of the interview, Schaffer said, Cosby summoned his driver to bring up a bag. Schaffer hadn’t asked him to do so, but nonetheless, Cosby wanted him to see something.
Inside were several pills, Schaffer said: one and a half that were pink and oblong, another that was round and green, and a small white pill. Jurors were shown pictures of the pills, encased in an evidence bag.
Later in the afternoon, jurors learned what Cosby says was inside the bag: a homeopathic pain reliever called Arnica Montana, a blood pressure pill and Benadryl.