NORRISTOWN, Pa. — Bill Cosby's chief accuser took the witness stand Friday at his sexual assault retrial, declaring for a second jury that he knocked her out her with three blue pills and then sexually assaulted her at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.
"I was weak. I was limp, and I just could not fight him off," said Andrea Constand, once again confronting the 80-year-old comedian in court after his first trial ended with a hung jury.
Her harrowing account of sexual molestation was remarkably similar to the one she gave at last year's trial, and jurors watched intently and scribbled notes as she described how Cosby — the good-guy celebrity she viewed as a mentor and friend — had betrayed her trust.
Cosby's lawyer, who has blasted Constand as a "con artist" who leveled false accusations against the star as part of a scheme to get money from him, began what was expected to be a blistering cross-examination.
Under questioning by prosecutors, Constand, who worked as a women's basketball administrator at Temple University, said Cosby offered her pills and a sip of wine after she said she was "stressed" about telling the Temple coach of her plans to leave to study massage therapy in her native Canada. She said Cosby, a Temple alum and powerful trustee, called the pills "your friends" and told her they would "help take the edge off."
Instead, Constand said, the pills instead made her black out. She awoke to find the actor known as "America's Dad" penetrating her with his fingers, touching her breast and putting her hand on his penis.
She said she wanted Cosby to stop but couldn't say anything. She tried moving her arms and legs but couldn't do that either.
Constand said she awoke between 4 and 5 a.m. to find her bra up around her neck and her pants half unzipped. She said Cosby stopped her as she went to leave: "All he said was there's a muffin and tea on the table and then, 'All right' and then I left."
Afterward, Constand said, "I was really humiliated. I was in shock. And I was really confused."
Cosby has said he gave Constand the cold medicine Benadryl and that she consented to a sexual encounter.
Cosby lawyer Tom Mesereau told jurors in an opening statement on Tuesday that Constand was a pauper who stiffed roommates on bills, racked up big credit card debt and once ran a Ponzi scheme until she "hit the jackpot" in 2006, when Cosby paid her $3.4 million to settle the civil lawsuit Constand filed after the district attorney at the time dropped the case.
On the stand, Constand told jurors she has nothing to gain financially now by wanting Cosby locked up.
"Ms. Constand, why are you here?" prosecutor Kristen Feden asked.
"For justice," Constand said.
Constand said she decided to go to police in January 2005, about a year after the encounter, jarred to action by a nightmare and an increasing awareness of consent issues from her ongoing massage therapy training.
"I didn't want it to happen to anybody else, what had happened to me," she said.
She said she was "very scared" about going to police because "he was a Temple trustee. A very powerful man. An entertainer. A very famous person."
Constand testified that Cosby had made previous sexual advances, but she wasn't concerned about him. As a physically fit former professional basketball player, she was confident she could handle him.
If You Go
What: Sonoma Harvest Music Festival
When: 11 a.m.-6: 15 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 22-23
Where: B.R. Cohn Winery, 15000 Sonoma Highway, Glen Ellen
Admission: Sold out; tickets may be available through online ticket resale sites
Saturday — The Avett Brothers, Lake Street Dive, Shovels & Rope, The Suffers, Royal Jelly Jive
Sunday — The Head and the Heart, Rodrigo y Gabriella, ZZ Ward, Rayland Baxter, Con Brio