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Cheltenham police officer testifies in fourth day of Bill Cosby trial

The former university trustee faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

NORRISTOWN, Pa. – The fourth day of court proceedings in the trial against former university trustee and comedian Bill Cosby focused on the testimony of a key investigator in the case, Sgt. Richard Schaffer of the Cheltenham Township Police Department.

On Thursday, Schaffer testified he was assigned to alleged victim and former Temple employee Andrea Constand’s case on Jan. 18, 2005. He said he interviewed both Cosby and Constand about Cosby allegedly sexually assaulting and drugging Constand.

Cosby, flanked by lawyers, was interviewed in New York City by Schaffer and other law enforcement officials on Jan. 26, 2005, Schaffer added. Each had the opportunity to add and subtract from their statements, as is typically granted, Schaffer said.

Constand alleges Cosby gave her three pills that made her unable to move or speak before Cosby sexually assaulted her on his couch. “In my head, I was trying to get my hands to move or my legs to move, but I was frozen,” Constand said on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. “I wasn’t able to fight in any way.”

Depositions began near the end of day four of Cosby’s trial about his prior use of quaaludes on women, but no cross examination was able to be completed before the day’s recess.

Constand testified on Tuesday and Wednesday, facing hours of cross-examination as defense attorneys questioned her phone calls to Cosby after the alleged incident and more.

Cosby contends Constand gave consent and the pills were two tablets of Benadryl, an antihistamine. Cosby, in the 2005 police interview, said he took Benadryl frequently, and acknowledged giving Constand pills in his 2005 police statement.

Defense attorney Brian McMonagle, in his cross examination, continued attempting to diminish Constand’s credibility. He said Constand was 31 years old at the time of the alleged assault and decided to ingest the pills on her own. He added that blue Benadryl tablets were available at the time of the alleged assault.

Constand testified Cosby gave her three blue pills. Schaffer told jurors it was “under the guise she was taking herbal pills.”

At the end of the 2005 interview with police, Cosby voluntarily had his driver bring a bag containing pills, one and a half that were pink, a round green one and a small white one. Jurors saw pictures of the pills, which were submitted for testing, but results of those tests haven’t been revealed yet.

The prosecution on Wednesday called Constand’s mother Gianna, who confronted Cosby over the phone in 2005 to demand what pills he’d allegedly given her daughter. Cosby told law enforcement he feared extortion and blackmail by the Constands.

Before Schaffer’s testimony, the prosecution called Purna Rodman Conare who was Constand’s neighbor at the time of the assault.

He said Constand and him had become friends, “like an older brother or fatherly kind of relationship.” He said Constand became distant in the last two or three months they spent as neighbors and, “left in an abrupt way.”

Cosby is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault, each of which carries a sentence of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $25,000. Judge Steven T. O’Neill said the trial is proceeding more quickly than his original two-to-three-week estimate.

Cosby has received sexual assault allegations from about 60 women since 1965, but the statute of limitations has expired in most cases, preventing criminal trials. Kelly Johnson, who worked for one of Cosby’s agents at the William Morris Agency, testified earlier in the week as the prosecution tries to show a pattern to Cosby’s behavior. She alleges Cosby assaulted her in 1996 in Los Angeles.

In 2006, a civil suit alleging Cosby sexually assaulted Constand and 12 anonymous women was settled for an undisclosed sum.

Evan Easterling can be reached at evan.easterling@temple.edu or on Twitter @Evan_Easterling. Follow The Temple News @TheTempleNews.

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