By MICHAEL R. SISAK, Associated Press
NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Jurors on Wednesday began hearing Bill Cosby’s explosive testimony about giving quaaludes to women before sex — an old admission that’s taken on new significance at the comedian’s sexual assault retrial after a half-dozen women testified that he drugged and violated them.
A police detective started reading a transcript of the 2005 testimony as prosecutors saved for the very end of their case Cosby’s own words about using the 1970s party drug “the same as a person would say, ‘Have a drink.'”
“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,” Cosby testified in the deposition, given as part of a lawsuit chief accuser Andrea Constand filed against him.
Cosby settled the lawsuit in 2006 for nearly $3.4 million.
Cosby, now 80, is being retried on charges he drugged and molested Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. He says their encounter was consensual.
The deposition was also read at Cosby’s first trial, which ended with a hung jury last year.
In a transcript, Cosby said he obtained seven prescriptions for quaaludes from his doctor in Los Angeles in the 1970s, ostensibly for a sore back.
The drug was banned in the U.S. in 1982, the same year one of the women who testified, Janice Baker-Kinney, alleges Cosby knocked her out with pills she suspected to be quaaludes and then raped her.
Judge Steven O’Neill ruled Tuesday that prosecutors could have the “Cosby Show” star’s deposition testimony read into the record, handing them a key victory in their effort to portray the comedian as a serial predator.
Prosecutors have already unleashed other passages from Cosby’s graphic deposition, including his accounts of purported sexual encounters with Constand and how he apologized to her mother a year later for being “a dirty old man with a young girl.”
The unsealing of the deposition, at the request of The Associated Press, led prosecutors to reopen Cosby’s criminal case and shredded his good-guy persona as America’s Dad.
Prosecutors used another of Cosby’s statements, one he gave to police in 2005, to show how he described the encounter for which he is facing aggravated indecent assault charges that could send him to prison for years.
Cosby said he gave Constand 1½ tablets of the cold and allergy medicine Benadryl to help her relax, then fondled her breasts and genitals, according to a police transcript that jurors heard Tuesday.
Cosby said Constand never told him to stop and has maintained that the encounter was consensual.
“We are petting. I enjoyed it,” the TV star said, according to the transcript. “And then I stopped, and I went up to bed. We stopped, and then we talked.”
Constand says Cosby knocked her out with the pills and then sexually assaulted her, penetrating her with his fingers and guiding her hand to his penis. Cosby told police he didn’t remember whether Constand touched his genitals.
Before jurors began hearing Cosby’s testimony about quaaludes, prosecutors on Wednesday called to the witness stand Judith Regan, who published Cosby accuser Janice Dickinson’s memoir.
Regan testified the model told her she was drugged and raped by Cosby and was insistent that the story be included in her 2002 memoir, “No Lifeguard on Duty.” She told jurors that Dickinson was upset the company’s legal department wouldn’t let them print such an explosive story without a corroborating witness.
Dickinson testified last week that Cosby raped her at a Lake Tahoe, Nevada hotel in 1982 while she was immobilized after taking a blue pill he claimed would help her with menstrual cramps.
The book contained a highly sanitized version of the encounter, with no sex at all.
Regan testified that she believed Dickinson’s allegations were credible, but that her account was “modified to deal with this issue without any legal problems.”
Regan said in a sworn statement to prosecutors that she felt she had a duty to publish the truth. On the stand, she explained: “The truth in this case, with this particular incident, was something that we required her to remove from the book.”
On Tuesday, Montgomery County Detective James Reape, who has been working on the Cosby investigation since it was reopened in 2015, told jurors he wasn’t concerned about inconsistencies the defense played up in Constand’s story — such as her early uncertainty over the date of the alleged assault — because Cosby’s testimony had filled in many of the blanks.
“The defendant said it happened. The defendant said it happened in 2004. The defendant said he was present. The defendant admitted to the contact that she said happened,” Reape told jurors. “When I look at who, what, when, where, why in 2015, I’m able to see the answers.”
As the comedian arrived Wednesday morning, spokesman Andrew Wyatt blasted the testimony from Reape and a police sergeant Tuesday. He said that prosecutors were using “tools of incompetence to build monuments of nothingness.” Wyatt said Cosby’s defense thinks the case should be dismissed.
The Associated Press doesn’t typically identify people who say they’re victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.
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