Bill Cosby retrial: Accuser's mom testifies, describing lurid phone call with comedian

Andrea Constand's mother Gianna Constand was on the witness stand Monday, testifying about a phone conversation she said she had with Bill Cosby about a year after the alleged assault in which he described in graphic detail a sexual encounter he'd had with her daughter.

Gianna Constand said Cosby described in a phone call how he touched her daughter's breasts and vagina

Gianna Constand, left, shown in 2017 file photo with her daughter Andrea Constand, right, testified Monday about a phone call she had with Bill Cosby about a year after he allegedly assaulted Andrea Constand at his home in 2004. (David Maialetti/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

Bill Cosby's chief accuser at his sex-assault trial Monday denied framing him and said she doesn't know a key witness who plans to testify she spoke of leveling false accusations against a celebrity.

Andrea Constand told jurors she doesn't "recall ever having a conversation with" Marguerite Jackson. Both women worked at Temple University around the time Constand says Cosby drugged and molested her at the comedian's suburban Philadelphia home in January 2004.

The defence plans to call Jackson as a witness and says she will testify that before Constand lodged her allegations against Cosby in 2005, Constand, who now lives in Toronto, had mused to her about setting up a "high-profile person" and filing suit. Jackson has said that she and Constand worked closely together, had been friends and had shared hotel rooms several times.

A judge blocked Jackson from testifying at last year's trial, which ended in a hung jury, after Constand took the stand and denied knowing her. At the time, Judge Steven O'Neill ruled Jackson's testimony would be hearsay. Since then, prosecutors have told Cosby's lawyers that Constand had modified her statement to acknowledge she "recalls a Margo."

The judge has ruled that Jackson can take the stand at the retrial but indicated he could revisit the issue after Constand was finished testifying.

Jackson's availability as a witness for Cosby could be crucial to a defence plan to attack Constand's credibility and get jurors to believe she set Cosby up.

Cosby lawyer Tom Mesereau, who has described Constand as a "con artist" who framed Cosby and then collected a $3.4-million US settlement, asked her about Jackson during cross-examination Monday. She once again denied knowing her.

Cosby, an actor and comedian, returns to the courtroom at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa. Cosby's defence team has tried to argue that other accusations Cosby has faced are irrelevant to the case at hand. (Dominick Reuter/Pool via Reuters)

The defence lawyer then asked, "Did you ever fabricate a scheme to falsely accuse him for money?"

"No sir," Constand replied.

Constand, 45, left the witness stand Monday after testifying for seven hours over two days.

She told jurors last week that Cosby knocked her out with pills and then sexually assaulted her. Cosby, 80, says Constand consented to a sexual encounter.

Graphic details

Constand's mother followed her on the witness stand and bolstered her account, testifying about a phone conversation she said she had with the comedian about a year after the alleged assault in which he described in graphic detail their sexual encounter, and then apologized.

Gianna Constand told jurors that she was concerned because her daughter hadn't been the same since leaving her job at Temple in March 2004 and moving back to Canada, screaming in her sleep and waking up in a sweat.

She said she was "very combative" with Cosby, demanding he tell her the medication he'd given her daughter and what he'd done to her.

Gianna Constand said Cosby told her he'd given Andrea Constand a prescription drug — not the cold and allergy medicine Benadryl, as he has claimed — but didn't provide the name. She said he described how he'd touched Andrea Constand's breasts and vagina and guided her hand to his penis.

"He said to me, 'Don't worry, Mom, there was no penile penetration,"' Gianna Constand testified.

If convicted, Cosby could get up to 10 years in prison on each of three charges of aggravated indecent assault.

On Monday the defence also tried to cast Constand as an unrequited lover who acted inappropriately by showing interest in the long-married Cosby. She has testified that she saw the former TV star as a mentor and had no romantic interest in him.

Defence brings up contacts after alleged assault

The defence said she spent late nights at the comedian's home, drove four hours to see him at a casino and called him twice on Valentine's Day, about a month after the alleged assault.

Constand said her phone calls to Cosby were about basketball and had nothing to do with romance.

Phone records show Constand, the former director of women's basketball operations at Temple University in Philadelphia, made brief calls to Cosby around the time of a Temple home game on Feb. 14, 2004, the month after the alleged assault.

"You think you called Mr. Cosby to talk about basketball?" Mesereau asked her.

Constand testified that she felt a duty to answer Cosby's inquiries since he was a powerful alumnus and trustee.

Constand arrives to resume her testimony at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., on Monday. Constand testified she maintained contact after the alleged assault because Cosby was a powerful alumnus of her employer, Temple University. (Dominick Reuter/Pool Photo via AP)

Picking up where he left off Friday, Mesereau questioned Constand about inconsistencies in her police statements and prior testimony.

Mesereau said Constand told police in 2005 that she called Cosby from her university-issued cellphone just before she arrived at his house on the night of the alleged assault to ensure the gate would be open. But Constand's phone records show she did not make any calls to Cosby's mansion that month.

Constand explained that she may have been mistaken, that there were times Cosby told her in advance that the gate would be open and that she often reached him at another number.

Prosecutors have called five other women to the stand who said Cosby drugged and assaulted them too. The defence has called the other accusers irrelevant to the case.

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