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Jury to hear Bill Cosby's testimony about giving women quaaludes before sex

Prosecutors are expected to read a transcript of his 2005 testimony as early as today.

Bill Cosby leaving after his sexual assault trial yesterday
Bill Cosby leaving after his sexual assault trial yesterday
Image: Matt Slocum via AP

JURORS IN THE US could soon hear Bill Cosby’s explosive testimony about giving quaaludes to women before sex — an old admission that’s taken on new significance at the comedian’s sexual assault retrial after a half-dozen women testified that he drugged and violated them.

Prosecutors are expected to read a transcript of the 2005 testimony as early as today, saving for the very end of their case Cosby’s own words about using the 1970s party drug “the same as a person would say, ‘Have a drink’”.

“Quaaludes happen to be the drug that kids, young people were using to party with, and there were times when I wanted to have them just in case,” Cosby testified in the deposition, given as part of a lawsuit chief accuser Andrea Constand filed against him.

Cosby settled the lawsuit in 2006 for nearly $3.4 million (€3.9 million).

Cosby, now 80, said in the deposition that he obtained seven prescriptions for quaaludes from his doctor in Los Angeles in the 1970s, ostensibly for a sore back.

The drug was banned in the US in 1982, the same year one of the women who testified, Janice Baker-Kinney, alleges Cosby knocked her out with pills she suspected to be quaaludes and then raped her.

Yesterday’s ruling

Judge Steven O’Neill waited until yesterday to rule that prosecutors could have the Cosby Show star’s deposition testimony read into the record, handing the prosecution a key victory in its effort to portray the comedian as a serial predator.

Prosecutors unleashed other passages from Cosby’s graphic deposition, including his accounts of sexual encounters with Constand and how he apologised to her mother a year later for being “a dirty old man with a young girl”.

They used another of Cosby’s statements, one he gave to police in 2005, to show how he described the encounter for which he is facing aggravated indecent assault charges that could send him to prison for years.

Cosby said he gave Constand a tablet and a half of the cold and allergy medicine Benadryl to help her relax, then fondled her breasts and genitals, according to the police transcript, which also was read to the jury yesterday.

Cosby said Constand never told him to stop and has maintained that the encounter was consensual.

“We are petting. I enjoyed it,” the TV star said, according to the transcript.

“And then I stopped, and I went up to bed. We stopped, and then we talked.”

Constand said Cosby knocked her out with the pills and then sexually assaulted her, penetrating her with his fingers and guiding her hand to his penis. Cosby told police he didn’t remember whether Constand touched his genitals.

Other witnesses

Prosecutors also have several more witnesses to call. They include Judith Regan, who published Cosby accuser Janice Dickinson’s memoir, Constand’s lawyer Bebe Kivitz and a pharmacology expert.

Jurors got a sense of Cosby’s view of consent when the comedian described in the deposition testimony reaching an area “somewhere between permission and rejection” during what he claims was a prior sexual encounter with Constand.

“I’m giving Andrea time to say yes or no about an area that is right there in the question zone,” Cosby testified.

The unsealing of the deposition, at the request of The Associated Press, led prosecutors to reopen Cosby’s criminal case and shredded his good-guy persona as America’s Dad.

Prosecutors won the right to introduce it at his retrial on charges he drugged and molested her at his suburban Philadelphia home. The deposition also was included at Cosby’s first trial, which ended with a hung jury last year.

Montgomery County Detective James Reape, who has been working on the Cosby investigation since it was reopened in 2015, told jurors he wasn’t concerned about inconsistencies the defence played up in Constand’s story – such as her early uncertainty over the date of the alleged assault – because Cosby’s testimony had filled in many of the blanks.

“The defendant said it happened. The defendant said it happened in 2004. The defendant said he was present. The defendant admitted to the contact that she said happened,” Reape told jurors.

“When I look at who, what, when, where, why in 2015, I’m able to see the answers.”

The Associated Press doesn’t typically identify people who say they’re victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.

Comments are closed as legal proceedings are ongoing. 

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Associated Press

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