Bill Cosby’s attorneys sought to portray one of his accusers as an attention-seeker influenced by other women sharing their allegations against the comedian on day three of his criminal sexual assault retrial.
“You’ve made it very clear you want to help Andrea Constand, haven’t you?” defense attorney Kathleen Bliss asked Heidi Thomas, a music teacher from Colorado and the first of five additional women cleared to testify against Cosby.
“I want to see a serial rapist convicted,” replied Thomas, drawing an objection from the defense.
Tuesday afternoon, the 58-year-old testified that she was a naive dinner theater performer when Cosby reached out to her talent agency and offered to give her career coaching.
Thomas said Cosby invited her to see him perform in Reno, but instead, a car took her from the airport to a ranch house outside the city. There, Thomas said Cosby gave her a glass of white wine laced with something to help her “get into character,” but which erased much of her memory for the next four days. That’s when she said Cosby sexually assaulted her and forced her to give him oral sex.
Cosby faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault arising from a 2004 sexual encounter at his home in Cheltenham with Andrea Constand. Constand, who was then a 30-year-old employee of Temple University’s women’s basketball program, alleges Cosby gave her three blue pills which knocked her in and out of consciousness and made her unable to consent to his advances. The prosecution called Thomas to try to show Cosby had a signature pattern of drugging and assaulting women.
During cross-examination, Bliss probed Thomas on whether she has profited from telling her story or been influenced by media attention of Cosby accusers.
“In all of these appearances or interviews, what have you received with respect to payments?” she asked.
Nothing, said Thomas. “I took time off my schedule. I lost that income. I paid for my meals. They just got me there, housed me, and got me back.”
At the defense table, Cosby did not look at Thomas, but closed his eyes or stared into the distance.
Bliss also questioned Thomas on her contact with the complainant in the criminal case, noting she’d sent Constand a Facebook message reading: “I got your back, sister.”
“I probably did, that sounds like me,” said Thomas.