NORRISTOWN, Pa. – The prosecution’s case closed on Friday at the Montgomery County Courthouse in the criminal trial for former university trustee Bill Cosby, who is accused of assaulting a former Temple employee.
Proceedings ended the day before with the prosecution introducing the sworn testimonies Cosby gave in September 2005 and March 2006, after former District Attorney Bruce Castor Jr. ruled there was not enough evidence to continue pursuing a criminal trial. The case was reopened in late 2015 — before the 12-year statute of limitations expired.
James Reape, a detective of the Montgomery County Detective Bureau’s major crimes unit who took the stand late Thursday afternoon, returned to testify twice on Friday. He read the depositions, in which Cosby admitted to using Quaaludes — a sedative that can induce sleep — to have sex with women.
Cosby said he obtained seven prescriptions for the drug, a central-nervous-system-depressant that became illegal in the United States in 1984, from a Los Angeles doctor in the 1970s.
The depositions centers around an incident in the 1970s in Las Vegas, where former model Theresa Serignese alleged Cosby gave her pills before having sex with her. He said he told the doctor he wanted the drug for his back, but said he never used them himself.
“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 said.
Reape also read part of the deposition in which Cosby is asked to recall his 2005 phone conversation with Gianna Constand, the mother of alleged survivor Andrea Constand.
Gianna wanted Cosby to tell her what pills he gave to her daughter. In the document, Cosby said he feared he was being recorded and didn’t want to mail the name of the drug on a piece of paper or send the pills in the mail to Canada, where Andrea lived.
Cosby offered to pay for Andrea’s graduate school and apologized during the call because he felt Gianna saw him as a “dirty old man with a young girl.”
On Jan. 16, 2005, Cosby said he still had the blue Benadryl pills he gave to Andrea on the night in question. When Cosby met with law enforcement in Manhattan 10 days later, he had his driver voluntarily give officials a bag of pills, including two pink pills, one of which was broken in half. An analysis of the pills conducted by National Medical Services in August 2015 determined the pink pills to be Benadryl.
During his testimony, Reape asked why Cosby would give pink Benadryl to authorities if he claimed to still have the blue pills. Reape didn’t work on this case until 2015, when previously sealed testimony was released by a federal judge in July.
“I found that to be odd,” he said.
Defense attorney Brian McMonagle said no one asked Cosby to bring the pills to the 2005 interview, he voluntarily provided pills and that he had no obligation to talk to anyone.
“He could have just said, ‘No thank you,’” McMonagle said.
Dr. Veronique Valliere, president of Valliere Counseling & Associates, Inc. in Allentown, Pennsylvania, also testified Friday as an expert witness in sexual assault, survivor response to sexual assault and survivor and offender dynamics.
Valliere said survivors initially resist verbally and then their response is usually shock, especially if the perpetrator is someone they know. She added the less survivors knows the perpetrator, the more likely they are to resist. She also said a survivor might not remember every detail of an assault, like how long it lasted or the date, but can remember parts of it like “how someone’s tongue felt in their mouth,” for example.
She said feelings of self-blame and confusion are exacerbated if intoxicants are involved. The defense has questioned Constand’s continued contact with Cosby after the alleged assault and conflicting reports of when the incident occurred.
“You have to label yourself as assaulted, but you also have to label the other person as an abuser, which is a hard leap, too,” Valliere said.
McMonagle objected when assistant District Attorney Kristen Feden asked Valliere how survivor behavior is affected when the perpetrator has authority over the survivor in employment, specifically if the person serves on the Board of Trustees of a university. Cosby served as a trustee at Temple, where Constand was employed as the director of operations for the women’s basketball team.
Judge Steven T. O’Neill sustained the objection. Valliere’s testimony was to be limited to responding to general questions about survivor responses and behaviors. McMonagle objected at least four times during Valliere’s testimony.
McMonagle challenged Valliere’s impartiality by introducing the fact she commented “Victory! The case goes on,” under a Washington Post story about Cosby’s trial on Facebook. She said she has neither bias against or toward Cosby.
Dr. Tim Rohrig, the director and chief toxicologist of Regional Forensic Science Center in Kansas, served as an expert witness in forensic toxicology, the study of the adverse effects of drugs on people.
Rohrig said diphenhydramine, the principal drug in Benadryl, and methaqualone, the main drug in Quaaludes are both central nervous system depressants. He said the effects Constand described in her testimony “could be consistent with ingestion” of Benadryl.
He added most people think of Benadryl as an antihistamine, but it can also be an over-the-counter sleep aid and classified as a sedative. He said the suggested dosage of diphenhydramine for adults is one 25-milligram tablet.
Varying testimonies suggest Constand had between one and a half and three pills, which would range from 37.5 to 75 milligrams. Rohrig, who serves on a national committee involved with drug-facilitated crime research, said the drug has been used to facilitate sexual assault.
During the lunch break, Andrew Wyatt — a spokesman for Cosby — told reporters the comedian’s wife hasn’t appeared in court this week because he wants to keep her away from the “media circus.”
O’Neill said on Friday the goal is to prepare the case for the jury by early next week.
Evan Easterling can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Evan_Easterling. Follow The Temple News on Twitter @TheTempleNews.