7 Things Bill Cosby’s Accusers Said At His Retrial That Will Haunt You Forever
This week, prosecutors in Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial called three women to the stand in order to counter the defense's portrayal of accuser Andrea Constand. All three women had made sexual assault allegations against Cosby dating back multiple decades, and on Wednesday, they got their chance to confront Cosby at the Montgomery County Courthouse. According to CNN and TIME, Cosby's accusers — Heidi Thomas, Janice Baker-Kinney, and Chelan Lasha — gave emotional testimonies, and detailed their allegations against him.
Cosby, who is 80 years old, is charged with drugging and molesting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand back in 2004. Cosby has denied all of the allegations against him. As NBC reported last year, Cosby's first trial on these charges ended in a mistrial because the jury remained deadlocked, prompting the ongoing retrial that started on Monday.
Earlier this week, Cosby's defense attorney — Tom Mesereau — called Constand a "con artist," accusing of her of being interested only in "money, money and lots more money." To counter Mesereau's portrayal of Constand, prosecutors asked Thomas, Baker-Kinney, and Lasha to draw parallels between their allegations against Cosby and those made by Constand.
According to ThinkProgress, prosecutors initially hoped to put 19 of Cosby's accusers on the stand, but Judge Steven T. O’Neill ultimately ruled that only five such witnesses would be allowed to testify. But the retrial has already been full of haunting and emotional moments as Cosby's accusers come forward to address the court.
"You Remember, Don't You, Mr. Cosby?
Lasha alleged that Cosby invited her to his suite at the Las Vegas Hilton so that he could help her with her modeling career when she was 17 years old — back in 1986. According to The New York Times, Lasha alleged that she took what she thought was an antihistamine and almond liqueur from Cosby, and then said she could no longer move as he allegedly assaulted her.
After providing this account to the courtroom during Cosby's retrial, Lasha looked directly at Cosby and said to him, "You remember, don’t you, Mr. Cosby?” through her tears. Cosby's lawyers immediately called for a mistrial, which O'Neill denied.
"I Want To See A Serial Rapist Convicted"
Thomas was the first of Cosby's accusers to testify at his retrial. According to CBS, she was a 24-year-old aspiring actress when she met Cosby. In her testimony, she alleged that Cosby gave her a glass of wine and that one sip rendered her incapacitated. After that, she alleged that she fell in and out of consciousness, but says she vividly remembers a moment when Cosby inserted his penis into her mouth.
When defense lawyer Kathleen Bliss was cross-examining Thomas following her testimony, Bliss suggested that Thomas had "made it very clear that you want to help Andrea Constand, haven’t you?" Thomas rejected this suggestion, responding instead that she wants "to see a serial rapist convicted."
"I Thought It Was My Fault For 30 Years"
Baker-Kinney says she went to Cosby's home in Reno, where they expected to find a pizza party, NBC News reported. Instead, Baker-Kinney alleged that they found Cosby home alone, and that he offered her two Quaaludes and a beer. Then, she alleged that she woke up naked the next morning, feeling fluid between her legs.
During her cross-examination, Mesereau asked Baker-Kinney why it had taken her three decades to come forward.
"You never thought of it as rape?" Mesereau asked her. "For 30 years?"
"I blamed myself," Baker-Kinney responded. "I thought it was my fault for 30 years."
"It's Going To Be With Me Forever"
In addition to believing that Cosby's alleged assault had been her fault, Baker-Kinney told the courtroom it had a lasting impact on her — and that she still has a lot of difficulty talking about what happened.
“It pisses me off that that’s something I’m carrying forever,” Baker-Kinney said. “I don’t want to have that guilt and shame. I don’t want to think that something that happened to me is my fault. I push it away. I don’t think about it. But it’s going to be with me forever.”
"Dr. Huxtable Wouldn't Do This"
During her testimony, Lasha said that she had only taken the antihistamine Cosby offered her for her cold because she had trusted him. She told the court she couldn't believe that Cosby — who, as she pointed out, had played beloved character Dr. Huxtable on The Cosby Show — could do what she alleges he had done.
"Dr. Huxtable, what are you doing to me?" Lasha recalled thinking at the time, CNN reported. "I couldn't say nothing. What are you doing? Why are doing this to me? You are supposed to help me be successful."
"I Wasn’t Going To Tell My Parents Because They’d Be So Destroyed"
Baker-Kinney was not the only one of Cosby's accusers who thought what had allegedly happened had been her fault. Thomas felt similarly. According to The Daily Beast, Thomas said she wondered what she had done to cause the alleged assault, and was terrified of the impact it would have on her personal and professional lives.
“I thought, ‘I must have said something that made him think this was acceptable,’" Thomas testified. “I must have given him some signal. I knew for certain I wasn’t going to tell my agent because I was pretty sure what I’d done was my fault and I wasn’t going to tell my parents because they’d be so destroyed. So I was just going to move on and I did.”
"He Took It All Away From Me"
Reuters reported that for Lasha, the trust she once had in Cosby still devastates her.
“I was a child, and a good girl, and he took it all away from me,” Lasha testified through her tears. “I trusted him.”