Originally posted at Slate by Jeremy Stahl.
The first pretrial hearing for Bill Cosby’s aggravated indecent assault case in Pennsylvania included a flurry of new revelations about the incident, including an account from Cosby and one from his accuser Andrea Constand that were made public for the first time on Tuesday. At the conclusion of the hearing Judge Elizabeth McHugh decided that there was enough evidence for the trial to go ahead.
The details as described by both parties in interviews with detectives more than a decade ago show that Constand visited Cosby’s home in 2004, he offered her pills and wine which she took, he fondled her, and offered her a muffin in the morning as she left. Where the two parties differ is that Cosby claims the encounter was consensual and Constand said she was unable to consent because she was drugged.
“I had no strength in my legs. They felt rubbery and like jelly,” Constand told detectives in 2005 about her response to taking pills that Cosby has described as Benadryl. “I felt spacey. Everything was blurry or dizzy. I had no thought to call 911.”
“I told him, ‘I can’t even talk, Mr. Cosby.’ I started to panic,” she said at the time.
Cosby’s version of events were that it was a mutual romantic encounter.
“We began to pet—touching, kissing with clothes on,” he said in his own statement to investigators at the time. “I never intended to have sexual intercourse like naked bodies with Andrea. We were petting and I enjoyed it.”
When he was asked whether he had ever had intercourse with Constand, Cosby told detectives: “Never asleep or awake.” He also said that in a subsequent phone call with Constand’s mother, he offered to pay for her grad school if she maintained a 3.0 grade point average.
The case is going forward more than a decade after the incident because the original prosecutors had decided not to try it saying they didn’t think they could prove the charges at trial, but new prosecutors have decided that additional information that has come to light in the years since made the case prosecutable.
Nearly 60 women have come forward with allegations of sexual abuse by Cosby, many of them telling similar stories of assault after druggings. Last year, the Associated Press revealed details of depositions from Constand’s civil trial against Cosby, which was ultimately settled. Many of those details coincide with what was revealed in court on Tuesday.
On Sunday, the AP published some additional details from those depositions and republished others. As previously revealed, Cosby said in his deposition that he told Constand’s mother that “digital penetration” occurred during the incident in question.
As also previously reported, Cosby admitted to using the sedative drug Quaaludes “for young women” he “wanted to have sex with.” He also admitted in that deposition that he gave Constand three pills, which he again characterized as Benadryl.
Here’s more from Cosby’s deposition about the incident, which he described as occurring in “the area that is somewhere between permission and rejection”:
Q: So, you’re not telling us that you verbally asked her for permission?
A: 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.
The AP also revealed that he had given Quaaludes to 19-year-old Therese (Picking) Serignese in the 1970s before having sex with her and wasn’t sure whether the encounter was consensual or not:
Q: Did you give her quaaludes?
Q: What effect did the quaaludes have on her?
A: She became in those days what was called high.
Q: She said that she believes she was not in the position to consent to intercourse after you gave her the drug. Do you believe that is correct?
A: I don’t know. … How many years ago are we talking about? 197(6)? … I meet Ms. Picking in Las Vegas. She meets me backstage. I give her quaaludes. We then have sex.
Constand’s is the only accusation against Cosby that has actually resulted in criminal charges, with many of the accusations falling outside of statutes of limitations. The charges against Cosby carry the potential for five to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine if he’s convicted. He is currently out on $1 million bail.
Read more at Slate by Jeremy Stahl.
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