Bill Cosby trial: Accuser says she viewed him as a 'mentor' and felt 'frozen' during alleged sexual assault

'In my head I was trying to get my hands to move or my legs to move, but I was frozen,' Andrea Constand testifies 

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The Independent US

The only woman to secure a trial against Bill Cosby for sexual assault has taken the stand – breaking her silence of more than 10 years and telling a jury that the once-celebrated entertainer drugged and assaulted her in 2004.

“[He was] somebody I trusted as a mentor, and somewhat of an older figure to me,” Andrea Constand told the jurors assembled in the Montgomery County, Pennsylvania courtroom.

When Mr Cosby started inviting her over for dinner, Ms Constand said, she thought he was trying to help her fit in after her recent move. When he gave her pills to take one evening, she told him, “I trust you”, Ms Constand claimed.

Ms Constand says she later awoke from her drug-induced slumber to find his hands groping her breasts and his fingers penetrating her. He also placed her hands on his genitals.

"In my head I was trying to get my hands to move or my legs to move, but I was frozen,” she said.

When she awoke in the morning, Mr Cosby gave her tea and a muffin. They exchanged few words. She left.

Mr Cosby has pleaded not guilty to three charges of aggravated indecent assault.

Ms Constand’s words on the stand will be highly scrutinised, as they may be the only testimony that could land Mr Cosby behind bars. More than 50 women have publicly accused the iconic comedian of sexual assault, but only Ms Constand has secured a trial.

But the first days of this highly anticipated trial allowed one other of Mr Cosby’s accusers to take the stand: Kelly Johnson, a former employee of Mr Cosby’s agent.

Ms Johnson testified on Monday that the comedian had drugged and assaulted her when she worked for the William Morris Agency in 1996. 

Ms Johnson’s mother, Patrice Sewell, took the stand on Tuesday, testifying that her daughter had called her in 1996 to recount the assault.

“She said Mr Cosby asked her to meet her at the Bel-Air Hotel to talk about her career.…And when she went to the hotel she was directed to (a bungalow),” Ms Sewell said.

Later, Ms Sewell says the comedian forced her daughter to take a pill. She awoke in bed next to Mr Cosby, her clothes undone, it is claimed.

The testimony of Ms Sewell – and of Joseph Miller, who represented the William Morris Agency when Ms Johnson filed a workers compensation claim against them – largely supported Ms Johnson’s testimony.

Mr Miller said he was surprised when Ms Johnson mentioned Mr Cosby in her worker’s compensation deposition, and she she told him Mr Cosby “had taken out his penis … and wanted her to fondle him, and she didn’t want to do that”.

The defence, however, tried to poke holes in Ms Johnson’s story, asking why she had previously said under oath that the assault occurred in 1991, not 1996. Mr Miller testified that she told him the assault occurred in 1990.

Ms Johnson is the only other accuser who will be permitted to testify. The trial is expected to last two weeks.