Entertainment

Cosby's lurid decade-old testimony about Canadian accuser read to jury

The jury at Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial heard from the comedian without him actually taking the stand Thursday as prosecutors read into the record his decade-old testimony.

Graphic warning: This story contains details of a sexual nature that some may find upsetting

The 79-year-old Bill Cosby has said he will not testify in his current sexual assault trial, giving his deposition from Andrea Constand's earlier civil lawsuit and a prior police interview added weight as jurors consider charges that could put him in prison for the rest of his life. (Matt Rourke/Associated Press)

The jury at Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial heard from the comedian without him actually taking the stand Thursday as prosecutors read into the record his lurid, decade-old testimony about giving pills to Canadian Andrea Constand and then reaching into her pants.

Jurors sat riveted and took notes as they heard the TV star say that as he touched her body at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004, "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," he said.

Cosby testified as part of a lawsuit brought against him by Toronto's Constand in 2005. It was settled under confidential terms. The comedian's lawyers had fought to keep jurors from hearing the testimony, but a judge ruled that prosecutors could introduce it.

A portion of the deposition was read by a detective Thursday afternoon, with more expected to come Friday, including Cosby talking about giving quaaludes and alcohol to women he wanted to have sex with.

Constand denied romantic relationship

Cosby, 79, could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted of drugging and molesting Constand, a former employee of Temple University's women's basketball program. He has said the 2004 sexual encounter was consensual.

Constand, 44, testified this week that Cosby penetrated her with his fingers against her will after giving her pills that left her so limp that she was unable to push him away or tell him to stop.

Andrea Constand, seen arriving for court on Wednesday, testified this week she rejected Cosby's advances and would have fought him off again had the pills not left her paralyzed and semi-conscious. (Mark Makela/Associated Press)

She denied they had a romantic relationship and said she had rebuffed his previous sexual advances. Cosby said in a recent interview that he did not intend to testify at his trial.

In the deposition, Cosby said he gave her three half-tablets of Benadryl before initiating a consensual "petting" session.

In 2015, a judge unsealed portions of the deposition in response to a request from The Associated Press. That immediately spurred Pennsylvania prosecutors to reopen their Cosby investigation and unleashed a barrage of similar allegations from dozens of other women that all but destroyed Cosby's nice-guy image as America's Dad.

Cosby acknowledged fondling Constand

Earlier Thursday, a detective testified that the district attorney who decided more than a decade ago not to bring charges against Cosby shut the investigation down while police were still working the case.

District Attorney Bruce Castor abruptly closed the probe in 2005 hours after police met to review their next steps, Cheltenham police Sgt. Richard Schaffer told jurors in testimony that could blunt efforts by Cosby's lawyers to argue that Castor, long out of office, saw no case. Castor is on the list of potential witnesses at the trial.

Bill Cosby once again arrived with celebrity supporters on Thursday, seen with (from left) Joe Torry and Lewis Dix for his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa. (Matt Rourke/Associated Press)

"We had been discussing investigative leads and where they were going," Schaffer, a witness for the prosecution, said on day four of Cosby's trial.

Cosby acknowledged in a 2005 police interview that he fondled Constand after giving her what he said were cold-and-allergy pills to help her relax, according to a statement also introduced in court on Thursday.

But he said that they had a romantic relationship and that she did not object to his advances.

60 women have come forward

Castor ended the investigation after four weeks, announcing that Cosby would not be charged because the evidence had shown both parties "could be held in less than a flattering light." He said he was concerned that Constand had stayed in touch with Cosby and waited a year to call police.

It was new set of prosecutors that brought charges against Cosby in 2015.

Cosby's lawyers have argued all along the charges should never have been brought because of Castor's initial decision not to prosecute the TV star.

Some 60 women have come forward to say Cosby sexually violated them, but the statute of limitations for prosecution had run out in nearly every case. Constand's case is the only one in which Cosby has been charged.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.

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