NORRISTOWN, Pa.—Bill Cosby, at one point one of the most powerful entertainers in the United States, said that there was an area “somewhere between permission and rejection” with women in a long, lurid deposition given more than a decade ago, according to pieces of that deposition read into the record in court today. Cosby, who stands accused of three counts of aggravated indecent assault, described going forward with fondling Andrea Constand because “she did not stop me and, and I wanted to go.” He offered a bizarre version of what happened the night Constand says he drugged and sexually assaulted her—saying that he gave Constand one and a half Benadryls (the well-known side effects of which include sleepiness) and claiming that after taking them, she suddenly wanted to have sex with him. Cosby, though, didn’t consider what they did sex, even though he believed he might have given her an orgasm. He called what they did “petting” or “necking.”
These were only some of the at times disgusting and at times just illogical statements made by Cosby during the series of depositions taken back in 2005 and 2006 as part of Constand’s civil lawsuit against him. These documents were under seal but came out, briefly, after related court records were made public, before swiftly being put under a seal by Cosby’s legal team. They then became evidence in this week’s criminal case.
Although three different outlets have obtained full copies of the depositions and published stories about what they say, none have published the full documents. This means that huge chunks of their narratives are still mysteries. Today, district attorney Kevin Steele read several pages into the official record and in front of jurors. Steele read while playing the part of the attorney asking questions; a law-enforcement officer answered as Cosby. Sitting right below one of the projection screens was the entertainer himself. And as he has all trial, as his own words from all those years ago were read aloud, he simply sat there.
The first section involved Cosby talking about how he interacted with women. First, he had to gain their trust, which he did with Constand. He said “no” when asked if he ever, in that first week, he had expressed his desire to have a romantic relationship with her. Later in the deposition, he explained what a romantic situation is this way: “Romance in terms of steps that would lead to some kind of permission or no permission or getting to about where you are going to wind up.”
A few passages described how Cosby earned Constand’s trust and would invite her over to his home sometimes. The next sections were all Cosby answering questions about how he recalled some of Constand’s visits there. Constand has said, consistently, that she never had a sexual relationship with Cosby until the night when, she says, he drugged and then sexually assaulted her.
In Cosby’s version of events, he had “sexual contact” several times with Constand. He said he had already touched Constand’s butt several times, but that did not count those as sexual contact because “she wanted to tighten up her butt and get a better butt etc. etc. We were able to talk about exercises and things like that.” One time, when Constand came over, he said, the “action” was when he put his hand on her exposed midriff, “just above” where you can go under the pants.
“I don’t hear her say anything, and I don’t feel her say anything,” he said in the deposition, “so I continue and I go into the area somewhere between permission and rejection.”
Soon after, he added, “There is a certain area with a woman where if, she doesn’t want, she will stop you there and that is right around the hair line, the pubic line, and I am moving my fingers gently.”
The lawyer in the deposition then asked Cosby if he ever asked for permission.
“She did not stop me,” he said, “and I wanted to go.” He then proceeded, he said, to put his hands in her vagina, and Constand was fine with it. This time, he also tried to touch her breasts, but she said no, and he stopped.
That he didn’t hear a no during all these sexual encounters was a point Cosby made over and over again in his deposition. These are sexual encounters that Contand has said, repeatedly, never happened.
The deposition then went into the night Constand says she was assaulted. Cosby said they talked about Constand’s stress over possibly leaving her job at Temple University, and then went upstairs and got three pills. He emphasized that the pills were to “relax” Constand, because she said she was stressed and he wanted her to be comfortable and to be able to go to sleep after their “necking sessions.” So, Cosby, said, he gave her one-and-a-half Benadryl tablets, broken into three pieces, and told Constand, “I have three friends for you to make you relax.” He said he broke them into pieces “because they’re long.” She took them. (Constand has said, consistently, that she only took them because Cosby told her they were herbal and she trusted him.)
And then, to hear Cosby tell it—after Constand had come over stressed out and then taken medication to make her fall asleep—they started making out. Read aloud and with Cosby sounding like he spoke very freely, it was hard to tell how long after Constand took the pills that Cosby claims all this happened. At times, he portrayed Constand as the aggressor, saying she at one point was on top of him. He also said that when he put his hand inside her pants, she pushed it further down, eventually having what he thought was an orgasm.
Cosby took time to brag about what he had done in the deposition. He claimed Constand had “a glow about her sexual moment.” And even though, he said, they didn’t have sexual intercourse, they somehow still exchanged “some sexual feelings.” In an interview with police investigators, also read in court today, Cosby said that he had hoped the orgasm “might help her a bit” due to all the stress. But now, he felt differently about it, he said in the deposition.
“Looking back on it, I realize that words and actions can be misinterpreted by another person,” he said.
The deposition also included Cosby discussing three pills he gave police when they came to interview him during the first criminal investigation. The included one blood-pressure pill, one Benadryl, and one pill that described as homeopathic.
He said that he didn’t know what exactly was in the homeopathic pill, but it was something that made him sleepy.