NORRISTOWN, Pennsylvania—Bill Cosby’s statements about using quaaludes with women he wanted to have sex with can be used at his criminal trial, Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill ruled Tuesday morning.
O’Neill allowed the statements to be used at Cosby’s first trial, which ended with him declaring a mistrial last June after the jury deadlocked. At pretrial motions hearings last month O’Neill said he would reserve ruling on the issue until this trial was underway and he heard what the testimony was.
O’Neill made the decision after hearing arguments from both sides before court proceedings got underway Tuesday morning.
Cosby, 80, is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, now 45, at his Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, home in January 2004. Cosby denies Andrea’s allegations as well as similar ones from more than 60 women.
After O’Neill’s ruling, the prosecution began presenting the last of its case Tuesday with testimony from various law enforcement officers involved in the case but didn’t get to the quaalude testimony before court adjourned for the day. Cosby made the comments during his deposition for the civil suit Constand filed against him in March 2005. He settled it with her for $3 million in late 2006.
Cheltenham Police Det. Sgt. Richard Schaffer spent three hours on the stand Tuesday going through the statements Constand made to him as well as her and Cosby’s phone records.
While the defense has made much of two Valentine’s Day 2004 phone calls to Cosby, Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Stewart Ryan introduced evidence showing that there was a Temple women’s basketball game that evening that started just after the first call and ended right before the second call. Ryan then took Schaffer through Constand’s and Cosby’s phone records showing that often Constand’s calls to Cosby were followed by her checking her voice mail.
Lead defense attorney Tom Mesereau and Schaffer butted heads during Mesereau’s 45-minute cross-examination on everything from the amount of phone calls Constand made to Cosby, especially after the alleged sexual assault, to inconsistencies in Constand’s various statements to police.
“If Miss Constand calls Mr. Cosby 10 times and doesn’t reach him do you consider that significant?” Mesereau asked him.
“Do you have 10 calls in a row, sir?” Schaffer asked. “I can say there are no 10 phone calls, 20 phone calls in a row from my review.”
Mesereau then rattled off a series of late-night calls Constand made to Cosby in March 2004.
“She is employed by Temple University at this time,” Schaffer replied. “This is one of the most powerful men on the Temple campus. If he calls, she’s answering his calls… She is compelled to call him back.”
And what about Constand’s inconsistent statements about prior sexual contact? “You’ll have to be more specific,” Schaffer replied.
“I guess it’s in the eye of the beholder. If it was talking about touching someone’s leg I don’t see that as sexual.”
Then Mesereau asked him about Constand saying in one statement she sat on the corner of Cosby’s bed in his hotel room at Foxwoods Casino in November 2003 while in another she said she laid down on the bed.
“Were you in the room with Miss Constand and Mr. Cosby?” a frustrated Mesereau finally asked.
“Things would have gotten weird if that was going on,” Schaffer said as the courtroom erupted in laughter.
Montgomery County Detective James Reape was the last witness of the day. He took the stand at 3 p.m. and read Cosby’s statement to police in January 2005 and excerpts from his deposition in Constand’s civil suit against him.
The jury seemed to be paying close attention, reading along as Reape and Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele read the excerpts, with Reape playing Cosby.
The excerpts were basically the same as the first trial but this time Steele included ones questioning Cosby about his relationship with Jo Farrell of Denver, who owned JF Images, a modeling agency where accuser Heidi Thomas said she worked in the early 1980s. She testified she learned Cosby wanted to mentor her from her agent, Farrell’s business partner. Cosby denied that Farrell was funneling models to him.
He and defense attorney Kathleen Bliss tangled when Bliss began her cross-examination at 5:30 p.m.
“You have a lot at stake here, don’t you?” Bliss asked. “You’ve spent a lot of time and effort on this case, haven’t you?”
Reape replied: “I have strong beliefs that he drugged and sexually assaulted Andrea Constand. I have nothing at stake. The defendant has a lot at stake.”
Steele said famed book publisher Judith Regan would be testifying Wednesday. She is expected to corroborate model Janice Dickinson, who testified she included Cosby’s 1982 alleged drugging and sexual assault of her in her 2002 memoir but Regan made her take it out after pressure from Cosby’s attorneys.
While Cosby did not present any defense witnesses at his first trial, his new set of attorneys has indicated they will do so this time.