Cosby suspected his call was recorded, prosecutors say

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Bill Cosby and Andrea Costand. She alleges that Cosby drugged and assaulted her in 2004 during a visit to his Cheltenham mansion; he has denied the allegations.

Bill Cosby suspected he was being recorded when he called Andrea Constand's mother in 2005 with an offer to cover her graduate-school tuition, prosecutors say.

So when asked about the night that he allegedly drugged and sexually assaulted Constand, he quickly brushed off the question.

"No, no, no, no, no," Cosby replied when Constand's mother repeated a question she previously asked him about what pills the entertainer had given her daughter. "We can talk about what you asked for later."

Cosby didn't answer that question because, after hearing a beeping sound on the call, he believed it was being recorded, he acknowledged in a deposition a year later.

It was.

A transcript from the call was disclosed for the first time Thursday, in a motion Montgomery County prosecutors filed to argue that the recording should be permitted as evidence at any trial.

Cosby's lawyers argued in a suppression motion last month that jurors should not be allowed to hear the call because, they say, it was illegally obtained. They contend Cosby did not know that he was being taped by Gianna Constand, and that she violated Pennsylvania wiretap law that requires consent of both parties in a conversation.

District Attorney Kevin R. Steele argued in Thursday's filing that the recording was legal because Constand's mother was in Canada, which requires consent from only one party in a recording.

Cosby also "knew, or at a minimum reasonably expected, that he was being recorded" but chose to keep talking, Steele wrote.

Prosecutors cited the transcript to back up that claim.

"Do you have a beeping going on in your phone?" Cosby asked Gianna Constand near the beginning of the call.

"No, no, not at all. I have a parrot," she replied.

"I know this is a beep," Cosby said.

"No, no - I have a parrot," she said a second time. "I mean I don't have a - no, I don't have. ..."

"A parrot?" Cosby asked.

"No, if somebody tried to call me, you know," she said, "It'll just beep to let me know that somebody is calling."

Cosby then changed the subject back to paying for Constand's education.

Later in the call, Gianna Constand referenced the pills he gave her daughter the night of the alleged attack, saying Cosby had previously told her that he would write down the name on a piece of paper and send it to her.

"Are you really going to send me on that piece of paper the name of that stuff or not?" she asked. "Or were you joking?"

At that point, Cosby shut down the line of questions, telling her they would discuss it at another time.

"Let's get with the other thing, OK?" he said.

Cosby later told police the pills were Benadryl. Prosecutors have argued that the content of the pills is unknown and that Cosby has been evasive about them.

They say he told Constand they were herbal, but later declined to tell her mother what they were, and also has admitted that he has obtained Quaaludes with the intention of giving them to women he wanted to sleep with.

In a 2006 deposition after Constand sued Cosby for the alleged assault, Cosby described his suspicion of the call.

"I don't trust anybody," he said in the deposition, according to an excerpt cited by prosecutors.

When asked why he did not discuss the pills, Cosby replied with two words: "The parrot."

"Because you believe you were being taped; is that what you're saying?" asked Constand's lawyer Dolores Troiani.

"Yes," Cosby said.

Cosby's lawyers have also asked a judge to exclude his deposition from evidence at trial. They argued in court filings that Cosby gave the deposition because he believed at the time that he would never be prosecuted, due to a promise from then- District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr.

Steele responded to that motion Friday, arguing that no such agreement was made and calling Castor's testimony about it at a February hearing "confused and baseless."

Cosby, 79, is charged with aggravated indecent assault for the encounter with Constand at his Cheltenham home in 2004. He has pleaded not guilty, and is next scheduled to appear in court in Norristown on Tuesday for a pretrial scheduling hearing.

It was unclear Friday if Judge Steven T. O'Neill will hear arguments on the admissibility of the recording or the deposition at next week's hearing.

The Constands gave the recording of the phone call - taken after they first contacted Canadian police about the alleged assault - to police in Cheltenham in 2005.

Castor testified in February that he declined to charge Cosby in 2005 in part because he believed the recording was illegally obtained.

Cosby lawyer Brian J. McMonagle has argued that both the call and its contents should be excluded from trial. In the call, Cosby does not talk about the alleged assault.

"I don't want to talk about anything except a mutual feeling for a friendship," he said, according to an excerpt of the transcript. He then asked about Constand's interest in graduate school.

"Geez, Bill, you would have to ask her that," Gianna Constand replied.

"I would be willing to ... meet with you guys ... to figure out, lay out, what I think is the best. Pay for the schooling and whatever," Cosby said. "As long as she maintains a 3.0 average, she'll be fine."

The call appeared to have ended on good terms, with Cosby promising he would have a representative call the Constands.

"You will get the call tomorrow," he said.

"OK, thanks for calling," Gianna Constand replied.

"And thank you," Cosby said. "Bye-bye."

lmccrystal@phillynews.com

610-313-8116 @Lmccrystal