'I could not fight him off,' accuser tells Cosby retrial
Norristown (United States) (AFP)
The Canadian massage therapist Bill Cosby is accused of drugging and molesting 14 years ago testified Friday that she went "limp and could not fight him off."
The now frail and isolated 80-year-old entertainer could spend the rest of his life behind bars if convicted of drugging and molesting 45-year-old Andrea Constand when she was a Temple University employee in January 2004.
Cosby's first trial in Norristown, a Philadelphia suburb, ended in a hung jury in June, with a sequestered panel hopelessly deadlocked after six days of testimony and 52 hours of deliberations.
The case has trashed the legacy of the actor once adored by millions as "America's Dad" for his role as lovable father and obstetrician Cliff Huxtable on the hit 1984-92 television series "The Cosby Show."
Wearing a white blazer and coral top, the former basketball player who now lives in Toronto sat erect in the witness box, calmly testifying on the fifth day of the trial in Norristown, Pennsylvania.
"For justice," Constand said when asked why she was there, confirming that she settled a $3.38 million civil lawsuit with Cosby 12 years ago.
The once pioneering African American entertainer, dressed smartly in a dark navy suit, tie and white shirt, looked variously toward Constand and down at the table as she spoke.
Constand was on the stand for an hour and four minutes, before the prosecution steered her toward the night in question, when she went to Cosby's house to discuss her impending resignation.
She testified that the actor offered her three blue pills, calling them "your friends" to "help take the edge off" and saying she took them believing they were a natural remedy.
"I trusted him," Constand said. But when she developed double vision and started slurring her words, Cosby lay her down on a sofa.
"I was very scared. I didn't know what was happening," she said. "I knew something was wrong and I started to panic."
- 'I was limp' -
When she came too, she said Cosby was behind her on the couch.
"My vagina was being penetrated quite forcefully," she said.
"I felt my breasts being touched and he took my hand and placed my hand on his penis and masturbated himself with my hand.
"I wanted it to stop... I was limp and I could not fight him off," she said. "I was really humiliated. I was in shock."
Constand testified after five other women also alleged at the retrial they were drugged and assaulted by Cosby, a man they looked up to as a mentor and who often befriended their families to win trust.
Judge Steven O'Neill's decision to allow them to testify, compared to just one additional accuser the first time around, is thought to present one of the toughest challenges to the defense.
Cosby's celebrity lawyer Tom Mesereau has attacked Constand as a lying, money-grabbing "con artist" who falsely accused the star to bag a $3.38 million civil settlement in 2006 in a bid to escape debt.
Cosby claims that he gave the Canadian an over-the-counter antihistamine to relieve stress and that relations were consensual.
Sixty women have publicly accused Cosby of being a serial predator, alleging that he drugged and assaulted them over a span of 40 years.
But the three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Constand is the only criminal case to stick, as most of the alleged abuse happened too long ago to prosecute.
Constand said the actor twice made potential overtures but complied respectfully when she resisted. Asked why she had nonetheless continued the mentor-friendship, Constand called it slightly "absurd."
Cosby, she said, was "just a little bit younger than my grandfather. He was a married man and I absolutely never showed an interest... I wasn't threatened and I didn't judge him."
© 2018 AFP