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.
Bill Cosby: Career in pictures
Bill Cosby: Career in pictures
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Winner of his first Emmy for 'I Spy' is Bill Cosby being congratulated by his wife Camille held at Americana Hotel, 1966
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Bill Cosby in 'I Spy', 1960s
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Bill Cosby in July 1973 in Perth
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Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor in 'California Suite', 1978
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Bill Cosby and Elmo in Sesame Street, 1989
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Bill Cosby poses for a picture with Florence Griffith-Joyner in June 1989
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Comedian Bill Cosby back in 1992
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A scene from a 1992 episode of 'The Cosby Show'
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US Monica Seles breaks into laughter as she jokes with comedian Bill Cosby during a celebrity match in the stadium at the US Open for the Arthur Ashe AIDS Challenge on 27 August 1995
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Bill Cosby meets Toronto Blue Jays' All-Star Joe Carter after the Stars played the Stripes in the Celebrity All-Star game which preceded workouts for the 67th All-Star Game at Veterans Stadium on 8 July 1996 in Philadephia
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Co-hosts Oprah Winfrey and Bill Cosby joke with each other during the opening of the 2000 Essence Awards 14 April 2000 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City
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Bill Cosby jokes with baseball great Hank Aaron after they both received the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award from U.S. President George W. Bush during a ceremony on 9 July 2002 at the White House in Washington
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Bill Cosby poses backstage after winning the 'Bob Hope Humanitarian Award' during the 55th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on 21 September 2003 in Los Angeles
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'Tonight Show' host Jay Leno and comedian Bill Cosby laugh during a surprise visit by Cosby to sign a Harley-Davidson motorcycle that Leno is using to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina at NBC studios on 9 September 2005 in Burbank, California
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Bill Cosby speaks during a taping of 'Meet the Press' at the NBC studios on 14 October 2007 in Washington
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Bill Cosby at the 12th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the John F. Kennedy Center on 26 October 2009 in Washington
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Bill Cosby speaks at the National Action Network's 20th annual Keepers of the Dream Awards gala in New York on 6 April 2011
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Bill Cosby during the 100th anniversary celebration of the Beverly Hills Hotel & Bungalows supporting the Motion Picture & Television Fund and the American Comedy Fund, 2012
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Bill Cosby speaks onstage at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund 25th Awards Gala on 11 November 2013 in Washington
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Bill Cosby performs at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino on 26 September 2014 in Las Vegas
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.Reuse content