Andrea Constand remembers the first time Bill Cosby touched her leg.
“It was the first time he put his hand on me. It was the first time he touched me,” she testified Tuesday at the comedian’s trial for sexual assault. “So it stuck with me."
The former director of operations for Temple University women’s basketball spent more than two hours detailing how she met Cosby, how they became friends and occasional dinner mates and eventually how she was allegedly drugged and sexually assaulted at Cosby’s Elkins Park home. Attorneys for Cosby are expected to continue their cross-examination of her Wednesday.
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Over the course of roughly 16 months in 2003 and 2004, Constand and Cosby spent several evenings together -- a mix of dinner parties with small groups and meet ups at places like Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut.
Flashing a nervous smile, she testified about all of her meetings with the now 79-year-old Cosby. Eventually, Constand detailed the alleged encounter that led to the charge of sexual assault.
The nervous smile disappeared. In January 2004, Constand went to Cosby’s house to talk about her career, and about a decision she had been weighing to leave Temple to pursue massage therapy.
Constand is a native of Canada now living in Toronto. She spent a little more than three years at Temple, where Cosby was a trustee and patron of the school’s basketball program. She is now a self-employed massage therapist.
Constand was the sixth witness to take the stand in the trial, and is the woman at the center of the Montgomery County District Attorney’s case against Cosby.
On the night of the alleged assault, the two spent a while talking, then Cosby offered her three blue pills. Constand asked if they were herbal supplements -- the two had occasionally discussed natural supplements. Cosby nodded, Constand testified.
After ingesting the pills, she testified, the night took a dark turn.
“After several more minutes of talking, I began to slur my words and I also told Mr. Cosby I had trouble seeing him. I saw two of him,” she testified. “I stood up. My legs were not strong. I began to panic a little bit. Mr. Cosby assisted me over to a couch and said, ‘Just relax.’”
Constand said she soon lost consciousness but was eventually awakened by disturbing feelings.
“I have no recollection of passing out until some point later, I was jolted conscious, jolted awake,” Constand testified. “And I felt Mr. Cosby groping my breasts, his hand under my shirt and I felt his fingers in my vagina.”
“I felt him place my hand on his penis and move it back and forth.”
A decade ago, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office first mulled a charge of sexual assault against Cosby after hearing Constand’s story. But the DA at the time, Bruce Castor Jr., declined to press charges.
Cosby settled a civil lawsuit by Constand by paying her an unspecified sum of money.
The case was thought to be over, until in 2014, new attention to long-simmering allegations of Cosby’s use of quaaludes during encounters with women dating back to the 1960s re-emerged.
A different district attorney for Montgomery County, Risa Ferman, decided in 2015 to charge Cosby.
Before Constand took the stand, two Canadian police detectives, a former attorney for a Los Angeles talent agency, and the mother of a woman who also has accused Bill Cosby of drugging her in the early 1990s all testified Tuesday morning. The prior day, prosecutors and defense attorneys for Cosby gave opening statements and one witness, a woman named Kelly Johnson, testified. Johnson accused Cosby of drugging her during a lunch date at the Bel Air Hotel in the early 1990s.
One of the Canadian police officers testified that he interviewed Constand when she first reported the alleged sex assault.
“Her legs were feeling like jelly,” Dave Mason, the detective who took Andrea Constand’s initial police report in 2005, testified while recalling what Constand said at the time. Mason works in Durham, Ontario, where Constand’s mother lives and where Constand filed the report.
The trial, which is expected to last two to three weeks, got bogged down at times during the morning session when Joseph Miller, a former attorney for Los Angeles talent agency William Morris, was on the stand.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele, who is trying the case, and Cosby’s lead attorney, Brian McMonagle, tussled over the validity of Miller’s testimony, which revolved around a deposition that Johnson gave in 1996.
Johnson, whose mother testified at the beginning of the proceedings Tuesday, tearfully recounted her experiences with Cosby. She worked for his agent at William Morris.
The trial, regarded as the most prominent in Montgomery County history, is taking place in Norristown. Two days into the trial, everyone involved, including the judge, seemed to still grapple with the confluence of celebrity and seriousness of the charges.
“Nobody can ever find a case that’s in the same ballpark as this,” Common Pleas Judge Steven O’Neill said during a motion for a mistrial made by McMonagle just after the lunch break.
Requests for a mistrial are not uncommon during intricate weeks long trials.