Sunday 25 February 2018

Cosby told mother of his 'victim' he was sorry

Bill Cosby arrives on the fifth day of his sexual assault trial. Photo: Reuters/Tom Mihalek
Bill Cosby arrives on the fifth day of his sexual assault trial. Photo: Reuters/Tom Mihalek

Maryclaire Dale Pennsylvania

Bill Cosby said he apologised to the family of the woman he is accused of drugging and assaulting only because her mother thought he was "a dirty old man", according to testimony read to the jury.

Mr Cosby's explanation was contained in a deposition he gave over a decade ago as part of a lawsuit filed by Andrea Constand, the woman whose allegations resulted in the only criminal charges brought against the TV star.

Portions of the deposition became public nearly two years ago. For the jury at his sexual assault trial, this is likely to be the closest it comes to hearing from Mr Cosby himself, since he has said he does not intend to take the stand.

In the deposition, he recounted a telephone conversation he had with Ms Constand's mother.

"I apologised to this woman. But my apology was, my God, I'm in trouble with these people because this is an old man and their young daughter and the mother sees this," he said in the 2005 deposition.

Ms Constand (44) testified this week that Mr Cosby penetrated her with his fingers against her will in 2004 after giving her pills that left her paralysed, unable to tell him to stop. Mr Cosby maintains the encounter at his Philadelphia home was consensual. The 79-year-old could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted.

During the deposition, Mr Cosby told lawyers he knew his finances could suffer if the public was told he had drugged and assaulted someone. "Do you think there would be a financial consequence to you if the public believed that you gave Andrea a drug that took away her ability to consent and then had sexual contact with her?" Cosby was asked. "Yes," he said.

According to the deposition, Ms Constand's mother repeatedly asked Mr Cosby over the phone about the pills he had given her daughter, but he refused to tell her what they were and said he would send them in the post, which he never did.

"I didn't want to talk about what did you give her. We're over the telephone and I'm not sending anything over the mail and I'm not giving away anything," Mr Cosby testified.

Mr Cosby also described calling Ms Constand's family and offering her money for graduate school. Ms Constand refused the offer and reported Mr Cosby to police, filing suit after prosecutors failed to file charges. Mr Cosby eventually settled with Ms Constand for an undisclosed sum, and his deposition was sealed for years, until a judge released parts of it in 2015. The criminal case was reopened when Mr Cosby's deposition became public.

Some 60 women have come forward to say Mr 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 Mr Cosby has been charged.

Irish Independent

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