Bill Cosby accuser rejects claim of romantic relationship

Andrea Constand brushes off notion pair enjoyed a romance before 2004 sexual encounter

Bill Cosby at the Montgomery County Courthouse on the third day of his sexual assault trial, June 7th, 2017 in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Photograph: Mark Makela/AFP/Getty Images

Bill Cosby at the Montgomery County Courthouse on the third day of his sexual assault trial, June 7th, 2017 in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Photograph: Mark Makela/AFP/Getty Images

 

The woman who has accused Bill Cosby of drugging and violating her more than a decade ago said she told the comedian she was not interested in him romantically, his sex crimes trial has heard.

Andrea Constand brushed off suggestions she and Cosby had a romantic relationship before the 2004 encounter at his suburban Philadelphia home.

She explained away the numerous phone calls they had afterwards by saying she was merely returning Cosby’s messages about the women’s basketball squad at Temple University, where he was a powerful member of the board of trustees and she was director of team operations.

Ms Constand (44), left the witness stand after seven hours of testimony over two days, during which she told the jury that Cosby gave her three blue pills and then assaulted her as she lay paralysed on a couch, unable to tell him to stop.

Her long-awaited showdown with the 79-year-old comedian’s lawyers became bogged down on Wednesday in an examination of her phone records and police statements - but the defence could not budge her off her account of molestation.

Romantic dinner

During one exchange, Cosby lawyer Angela Agrusa suggested that Ms Constand once enjoyed a romantic dinner at Cosby’s home before the alleged assault.

“You were sitting by the fire. The room was dark. There was a nice mood ...” Ms Agrusa began, paraphrasing Ms Constand’s 2005 statement to police.

“I don’t know what that means,” Ms Constand said.

“The lights were dim and the fire was going,” the lawyer continued.

“I don’t really remember how dim the lights were, but I did have to eat my dinner,” Ms Constand said.

Ms Agrusa contended that the advances Cosby made on Ms Constand on two occasions - touching her thigh one time, and attempting to unbutton her pants and pull down her zip another - signalled his romantic interest.

Ms Constand said she told Cosby she was not interested.

“So you knew - you were alone at his home - that Mr Cosby was interested in you romantically?” Ms Agrusa asked.

“No, ma’am, he never said a word to me,” Ms Constand said.

Aggravated indecent assault

Cosby is charged with aggravated indecent assault. The comedian, once dubbed America’s Dad, could get 10 years in prison if convicted.

Cosby’s lawyers have argued the sexual encounter was consensual and have cited phone records showing she called the TV star 53 times afterwards, including one call several weeks after the alleged assault that lasted 20 minutes.

But Ms Constand, who has waived her right to anonymity, said she was merely returning his messages and the calls pertained to Temple women’s basketball, and stopped once she left the school.

Some 60 women have come forward to allege that Cosby sexually violated them, but the statute of limitations for prosecution had run out in nearly every case.

Ms Constand’s case is the only one in which Cosby has been charged.

AP