ABOVE PHOTO: Bill Cosby (Randy Miramontez / shutterstock.com)
By Maryclaire Dale
A lawyer for Bill Cosby’s first accuser on Tuesday questioned his self-described ability to “read” people’s sexual cues given that her client is gay.
Andrea Constand, employed by the Temple University women’s basketball team when she met Cosby in the early 2000s, was dating a woman around that time, according to court filings unsealed this month. She considered Cosby to be a friend and mentor.
“Despite his talent for interpreting female reactions to him, he did not realize plaintiff was gay until the police told him,” lawyer Dolores Troiani wrote in a motion Tuesday involving the secrecy clause underpinning their 2006 settlement.
Constand’s lawsuit inspired a cascade of similar accusations that Cosby drugged and molested women throughout his 50-plus years as an entertainer and champion of family values.
The 78-year-old Cosby, in a deposition released this month, said he had romantic feelings for Constand the moment he spotted her at Temple, where he served on the board of trustees. Cosby’s lawyers didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday and haven’t returned repeated messages left this month.
The two sides have renewed their battle a decade after they settled Constand’s sexual-battery and defamation lawsuit. Each side accuses the other of breaking the confidentiality clause through public comments and court filings. Cosby wants a judge to impose sanctions. Constand has asked for the freedom to speak out.
Constand, then about 30, accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting her at his Philadelphia-area home in January 2004. Cosby said he considered their “spooning” on his couch consensual. He said the same of his “rendezvous” and affairs with other accusers.
“I think that I’m a pretty decent reader of people and their emotions in these romantic sexual things, whatever you want to call them,” Cosby said in his 2006 deposition, which was made public this month by a court reporting service.
According to the deposition, Constand said she went to Cosby’s home to discuss her next career move. He offered her pills for her reported stress. She thought she was taking an herbal medication. Cosby told police he had given her Benadryl, but Constand believed it was something stronger that left her semiconscious. She woke up on his couch at 4 a.m. feeling sore, with her clothes disheveled.
Cosby said he saw her before she left and did not sense anything amiss.
“I walk out. She does not look angry. She does not say to me, don’t ever do that again. She doesn’t walk out with an attitude of a huff,” he said.
Cosby also acknowledged that he had obtained quaaludes in the 1970s to give to women he hoped to seduce but said they took them knowingly. His lawyers this month said that he was “one of the many people who introduced quaaludes into their consensual sex life in the 1970s” and that that doesn’t make him a rapist.
Troiani said her client never took a quaalade or a similar drug.
She argued that Cosby has hired a team of lawyers and publicists to defend the various accusations, while Constand, now a physical therapist in the Canadian province of Ontario, has been forced to remain silent.
The latest addition to Cosby’s publicity team is Monique Pressley, a lawyer, ordained minister and motivational speaker who made a round of television appearances this month defending Cosby. She said his deposition shows no evidence he committed a crime.
Cosby’s lawyers, for their part, insist Constand broke the confidentiality clause with her brief comments to a Toronto newspaper and tweets July 6 – the day a judge unsealed excerpts of Cosby’s deposition – that said “Yes!” and “Sir!” She also tweeted this spring: “I won’t go away, there is a lot more I will say.”
Troiani said Cosby’s “narcissistic view of the world” led him to believe that Constand’s “every tweet must be about him.” She suggested the tweets were instead about gay marriage.