Katharine Hart, a former detective for the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, testified at a preliminary hearing in the criminal case against Cosby in court on Tuesday. A judge ruled that the sexual assault case against Cosby will move forward. If convicted, the 78-year-old comedian could face as much as 10 years in prison.
Constand claims that Cosby sexually assaulted her inside his Philadelphia home in January 2004. A year later, she was interviewed by Hart where she laid out what she said happened between her and Cosby. (Hart read mostly from a transcript in court that Constand reviewed and edited following the interview.)
After testifying for the prosecution, Hart was cross-examined by Cosby’s attorney, Brian McMonagle. His strategy is simple: discredit Constand by questioning her behavior after the alleged rape.
“Is it the case that [Constand] told you she brought her family to his show, and brought him a present, a sweater?” McMonagle asked Hart as he directed her to that portion of Constand’s transcript.
“Yes,” Hart replied.
McMonagle then moved to undercut Constand by contrasting her account of what happened immediately prior to the alleged assault that she first gave to police in Canada before she spoke to American authorities.
Constand, who was living in Toronto when she first reported Cosby to police in January 2005, told them that Cosby had “taken her out to dinner and out in [Philadelphia’s] Chinatown,” according to a police report read in court. Constand later told Hart, according to the transcript, that she had driven herself to Cosby’s home.
The prosecution objected to McMonagle’s questions as being irrelevant to whether or not Constand was assaulted.
No matter how they got to his home, Constand recalled telling Cosby she did not feel well soon after they arrived. Constand said that’s when Cosby briefly left the room they were in and returned with blue pills, which he said were “herbal” and would “make you feel good, make you relax.”
“I said to him that I trust him,” Constand said, according to Hart, and she swallowed the pills. Cosby insisted she try the wine he’d poured for her, Constand said, though she’d declined because she said had not eaten.
“OK, you can drink it or you can nurse it,” Cosby told her, according to the interview transcript.
Constand told detectives that she began to feel dizzy and afraid soon after ingesting the pills.
“I said to him ‘I can’t even see, Mr. Cosby,” Hart recounted Constand as saying.
“I’m going to lay you down on the couch and let you relax,” Cosby said, according to the interview.
Constand told Hart she lay on the couch, unable to move or open her eyes.
“I wasn’t aware of any sounds. I don’t know where Mr. Cosby went,” Hart said Constand recalled.
Then Constand said she was very much aware of Cosby when he put his hands on her breasts and his fingers inside her vagina. Constand told Hart that Cosby lay behind her on the couch and reached into her pants from behind. Constand said Cosby took her right hand and placed on his penis, which was erect.
Constand says she fell asleep and found her shirt pulled up and her bra backwards when she woke up at 4 a.m.
“The snap was in the front not the back — I couldn’t have done that myself if I wanted to,” Constand said, according to Hart. Cosby then gave Constand her a mixed-berry muffin and tea before she left, she recalled.
McMonagle said he objected to Hart’s testimony in its entirety, arguing it was hearsay and that the accuser herself, Constand, should be required to appear before the court and “answer questions like: ‘Why did you wait so long to report?’”
Judge Elizabeth A. McHugh agreed with the prosecution that she could not consider questions of credibility during the preliminary hearing and dismissed McMonagle’s attempt to compel Constand to take the stand on Tuesday morning.
Constand met Cosby at Temple University, where she was the director of the women’s basketball team and he was a prominent booster for the university.
Following Constand’s report to authorities in 2005, Montgomery County D.A. Bruce Castor said he found insufficient evidence to corroborate her story and indict Cosby. Ten years later, however, D.A. Kevin Steele reopened the case and indicted Cosby thanks in part to his deposition in a civil trial brought by Constand.
In the deposition, Cosby admitted giving other women quaaludes before sex. (Cosby said this sex was consensual; several dozen women have said it was not.) A judge unsealed the transcript said last year because Cosby had “voluntarily narrowed the zone of privacy” he was entitled by by donning “the mantle of public moralist,” the judge wrote. Constand and Cosby settled out of court for an undisclosed sum of money.