Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial began yesterday with opening arguments and claims by Kelly Johnson, who tearfully testified that she was drugged and sexually assaulted by the comedian in 1996, while she was working for his agent. During her cross examination by the defense, Johnson acknowledged that she never reported the incident to authorities because she was concerned for her job.
More than 50 women have accused Cosby of sexually assaulting them, but he is only standing trial in Philadelphia for allegedly drugging and raping one accuser, former Temple University athlete Andrea Constand, in his home in 2004. Cosby, who denies the charges, faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
As Cosby's trial started, the Investigation Discovery (ID) channel aired an explosive special detailing some of the allegations against him. Bill Cosby: An American Scandal began with actress Lili Bernard telling the cameras that Cosby had threatened her life years ago: “He silenced me through the threats ... he said, ‘I will erase you, Bernard’.”
Bernard, who was a guest star on “The Cosby Show,” hoped that her appearance in the ID special would help Constand's case.
The documentary interviewed those who know Cosby, including biographer Ronald L. Smith, attorney Gloria Allred, and Shawn Brown, a woman who claims to have had an affair with Cosby until she too was drugged and assaulted in 1973.
ID will air reruns on today and Saturday.
Meanwhile, jurors in Cosby’s trial were told by prosecutors yesterday that accuser Andrea Constand became “completely paralyzed, frozen, lifeless” after the comedian allegedly gave her pills in 2004 at his Pennsylvania home. "The muscle strength in her body slipped slowly away, along with her consciousness. Total control of her body lost," Assistant Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Kristen Feden argued. "This is a case about a man, this man, who used his power and his fame and his previously-practiced method of placing a young, trusting woman in an unconscious state, so that he could sexually pleasure himself, so that she couldn’t say no," she continued.
According to Constand, Cosby drugged her and molested her at his home in Pennsylvania in 2004; Cosby has said that he gave Constand a Benadryl and that their sexual encounter was consensual.
Cosby's defense attorney Brian McMonagle emphatically told the jury that Constand was “never incapacitated" during her encounters with the comedian, and that she had been “untruthful time and time and time again” with local law enforcement.
Constand, her mother and a forensic toxicologist will also testify at the trial.
Cosby arrived at court around 9 a.m., walking arm-in-arm with his legal team and former Cosby Show co-star Keshia Knight Pulliam, who played Cosby's daughter Rudy Huxtable on the hit show. Camille Cosby, his wife for 53 years, did not attend.