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PHILADELPHIA — Bill Cosby is due in court Tuesday so a judge can decide whether there’s enough evidence to send 12-year-old sex-assault accusations to trial in suburban Philadelphia.
Prosecutors this past year reopened Andrea Constand’s complaint that Cosby drugged and molested her after his deposition in her related lawsuit surfaced and dozens of other accusers came forward.
In his testimony, Cosby describes giving drugs and alcohol to women before sex; making secret payments to ex-lovers; and hosting Constand at his home in 2004. Cosby had become a friend and mentor after meeting Constand at Temple University, where he was a trustee and she managed the women’s basketball team.
The following exchanges between Cosby and Constand lawyer Dolores Troiani took place in 2005 and 2006. They are excerpted for brevity and to delete legal squabbling and repetition.
Q. When did you first develop a romantic interest in Andrea?
A. Probably the first time I saw her (at Temple’s arena).
On the night in question:
Q: Can you tell me … what you recall of the night in which you gave the pills to Andrea?
A: Andrea came to the house. I called her. … We talked about Temple University. We talked about her position. And then I went upstairs and I got three pills. I brought them down. They are the equivalent of one and a half. The reason why I gave them and offered them to Andrea, which she took after examining them, was because she was talking about stress.
Cosby describes a several-minute sexual encounter that followed.
Q: So, you’re not telling us that you verbally asked her for permission?
A: I didn’t say it verbally, I said. The action is my hand on her midriff, which is skin. I’m not lifting any clothing up. This is, I don’t remember fully what it is, but it’s there and I can feel. I got her skin and it’s just above the hand and it’s just above where you can go under the pants.
Q: Then what happens?
A: I don’t hear her say anything. And I don’t feel her say anything. And so I continue and I go into the area that is somewhere between permission and rejection. I am not stopped.
Troiani asks Cosby about a phone call a year later between Cosby and Constand’s mother, Gianni Constand, who told him something was wrong with her daughter, who was also on the line.
Q: What was the thing that you did not want to talk about?
A: I didn’t want to talk about, “What did you give her?”
A: Because we’re over the telephone and I’m not sending anything (the pill bottle) over the mail and I’m not giving away anything.
Q: Why didn’t you simply tell her … that you had given her daughter an over-the-counter drug called Benadryl?
A: I’m not going to argue with somebody’s mother who is accusing me of something. And then when I apologize she says to me, “That’s all I wanted to know, Bill.” … And I’m apologizing because I’m thinking this is a dirty old man with a young girl. I apologized. I said to the mother it was digital penetration.
Q: When she sat here and cried (Constand, during her deposition), how did you feel?
A: I think Andrea is a liar and I know she’s a liar because I was there.
Cosby testified that he had gotten quaaludes from his doctor in Los Angeles in the 1970s. He said he was given seven prescriptions for the now-banned sedative, ostensibly for a sore back.
Q: Why didn’t you ever take the quaaludes?
A: Because I used them.
Q: For what?
A: The same as a person would say, “Have a drink.”
Q: You gave them to other people?
Q: Did you believe at that time that it was illegal for you to dispense those drugs?
Q: How did (the doctor) know that you didn’t plan to use (them)?
A: What was happening at that time was that, that was, quaaludes happen to be the drug that kids, young people were using to party with and there were times when I wanted to have them just in case.
Q: When you got the quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?
Cosby acknowledges having a sexual relationship with accuser Therese (Picking) Serignese starting around 1976, when she was 19. Serignese, who has gone public with her accusations, has said the first time she met Cosby at a Las Vegas hotel in 1976, he gave her quaaludes and a glass of water before they had sex.
Q: Did you give her quaaludes?
Q: What effect did the quaaludes have on her?
A: She became in those days what was called high.
Q: She said that she believes she was not in the position to consent to intercourse after you gave her the drug. Do you believe that is correct?
A: I don’t know. … How many years ago are we talking about? 197(6)? … I meet Ms. Picking in Las Vegas. She meets me backstage. I give her quaaludes. We then have sex.
Q: Why didn’t you ever take them yourself?
A: I get sleepy.
Q: How would you know that if you never took them?
A: Quaaludes happen to be a depressant. I have had surgery and while being given pills that block the nervous system, in particular the areas of muscle, the back, I found that I get sleepy and I want to stay awake.
Q: Is that why you don’t drink alcohol?
ON OTHER ACCUSERS:
Cosby says that while he was filming one of his sitcoms, an agency would send “five or six” models to his studio each week. He says he would give the struggling, young actresses “a very, very good meal.” He describes a sexual encounter he had with one of them in 2000.
Q: She says that just days after … she told you that she did not drink, you told her to come over to (your townhouse) and served her amaretto. Do you recall serving her amaretto?
Q: That you told her to sit next to you on the couch and that you put your arm around her and began massaging her shoulder and arms suggestively. Did that occur? … This occurred sometime after you met her parents.
A: I need clarification on time.
Q: She’s 17 and I believe throughout the time she knows you she becomes 18 or 19.
Q: On a later occasion you had her masturbate you with lotion. Did that ever happen?
Q: (She) used the lotion to rub your penis and make you ejaculate?
Cosby is also asked about a young actress who filed a complaint with New York police that never led to charges. (She is named in the deposition but has not gone public with her account and has not returned messages left with family members over the past year. The AP does not identify sexual-assault accusers without their consent.):
Q: Do you recall saying that you had threatened to sue the National Enquirer for printing (her) story?
Q: Do you remember how old she was when she worked on the television show?
A: About 19.
Q: Did you ever develop a romantic interest in (her)?
A: Yes. …. I called her, talked to her.
Q: What did you talk about?
A: I believe, this has been a long time, her twin sister, her brother, their education.
Q: What did you tell her was the reason why you were inviting her into the house?
A: Her career.
On the 19-year-old’s second visit:
A: I fed her dinner, gave her three drinks. We went then to the living room. We went through acting, elementary moves. We then went to the sofa. We laid down together. I was behind her.
Q: Was she lying down or sitting up?
A: No, she was down.
Q: Did she fall asleep?
Q: What did you do when she fell asleep?
A: I got up.
Q: Did you engage in any type of sexual contact with her while you were on the couch?
Q. Are you aware that the woman’s statement was that on the night of the dinner at your New York townhouse, “At some point Cosby and the woman were sitting on a sofa and Cosby was massaging her back?”
Q: “Cosby then lowered his pants in an effort to receive oral sex?”
A: “In an effort to receive oral sex,” that did not happen.
Q: “The woman rebuffed Cosby’s advances and was immediately sent home, driven by Cosby’s driver?”
A: And that is not true.
ON SECRETS, TABLOIDS, TRUSTS and “MRS. COSBY”:
Cosby is asked about educational trusts he offered Constand and others, through his foundation or otherwise.
Q: How would (the money to Constand) come?
A: It would come through our writing a check.
Q: And our being who?
A: The family.
Q: Would your wife know about that?
A: My wife would not know it was because Andrea and I had had sex and that Andrea was now very, very upset and that she decided that she would like to go to school or whatever.
Q: How would you explain to your wife that you were giving this personally as opposed to using the foundation?
A: I would say to her that there is a person I would like to help.
In paying Therese Serignese, Cosby acknowledges the money would flow through his representatives at the William Morris agency.
Q: So, was the purpose of that to disguise —
Q: I have to finish my question. Was to disguise that you were paying money to Therese?
Q: Who were you preventing from knowing that?
A: Mrs. Cosby.
Cosby was asked by Constand’s lawyer about granting an exclusive interview to the National Enquirer in 2005 in exchange for the tabloid agreeing not to publish a story about accuser Beth Ferrier, who has gone public as another accuser attached to Constand’s lawsuit:
Q: What is your understanding of the agreement that you had with the National Enquirer?
A: I would give them an exclusive story, my words.
Q: What would they give you in return?
A: They would not print … Beth’s story.
Q: Did you ever think that if Beth Ferrier’s story was printed in the National Enquirer that would make the public believe that maybe Andrea (Constand) was also telling the truth?
Q: So that you knew when (your) article was printed … that you had to make the public believe that Andrea was not telling the truth?