Using Bill Cosby's own words, prosecutors near end of their case against comedy icon

Bill Cosby
Bill Cosby departs the Montgomery County Courhouse after the sixth day of testimony in his sexual assault retrial on Monday, April 16, 2018.

Prosecutors barreled toward the conclusion of their case against Bill Cosby on Tuesday, presenting testimony from a series of investigators and the 80-year-old entertainer’s own words about his 2004 sexual encounter with Andrea Constand.

Cosby’s statements – from a 2005 interview he gave to police and a deposition later that year – weren’t new to followers of his first sexual assault trial, which ended with a hung jury in June.

But for jurors, the transcripts read aloud by detectives late Tuesday were likely the only chance they will have to hear from the defendant before they are charged with deciding his fate. Cosby is not expected to testify as part of his defense.

“I don’t hear her say anything. And I don’t feel her say anything,” Montgomery County Detective James Reape said in clinical tones, reading from the witness stand Cosby’s sworn deposition testimony about a liaison he said he had with Constand prior to her alleged assault. “And so, I continue to go into that area that is somewhere between permission and rejection. I am not stopped.”

The deposition, from a lawsuit Cosby settled with Constand in 2006 for nearly $3.4 million, was introduced at the trial as prosecutors came close to concluding the case they have presented over seven days – a case that Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele said he intends to wrap up Wednesday.

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“We’re almost finished here,” he told Judge Steven T. O’Neill on Tuesday morning while ticking off the names of the few remaining government witnesses.

That list included book publisher and author Judith Regan and a forensic drug expert to discuss the three blue pills Cosby gave Constand the night she says he drugged and digitally penetrated her at his Cheltenham home.

Regan’s testimony is expected to center on a claim from Cosby accuser and supermodel Janice Dickinson, whose memoir Regan helped to publish in 2002.

Although Dickinson testified last week that Cosby knocked her out with a pill and then raped her in 1982, defense lawyers challenged that claim, pointing out that when writing about her encounter with the entertainer in her book, the model did not mention any sexual contact.

Dickinson maintained that she told the ghostwriter who penned the memoir about her assault but was forced to remove the allegations from her book because Regan feared that Cosby might sue.

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In his 2005 police statement, read for jurors Tuesday by Cheltenham Police Sgt. Richard Schaffer, the entertainer said that women had come forward making up lies about him in the past.

Schaffer led the investigation of Constand’s claims when she came forward in 2005. Although that probe did not result in criminal charges against Cosby, the case was reopened in 2015, leading to the trial currently playing out in Norristown.

The detective testified Tuesday that he believed Constand’s story more than a decade ago, just as he believes her now. Of Cosby’s denial that he drugged and assaulted Constand, Schaffer expressed doubts.

When Cosby spoke to police in 2005, his description of his sexual encounter with the former Temple University employee dovetailed with hers in nearly every way but one: He said she consented and seemed to enjoy it; she said she felt paralyzed and unable to resist.

“I never intended to have sexual intercourse, like naked bodies, with Andrea,” Cosby told investigators, according to the 2005 statement read to jurors. “I enjoyed it. And then I stopped and went to bed.”

Later in the interview, detectives again asked whether he had ever had sex with Constand.

Cosby offered an emphatic reply: “Never asleep or awake.”