Janice Baker-Kinney described bouncing around in her early 20s, dropping out of college in New Jersey to move to Colorado, then to Nevada.
Now a stage manager for sports broadcasters in California, in 1986, Baker-Kinney was working as a bartender at Harrah’s casino in Reno when she said a co-worker invited her to a pizza party with Bill Cosby.
On Wednesday, Baker-Kinney was the third woman to tell a Montgomery County jury that the 80-year-old comedian gave her a substance that knocked her out before he sexually assaulted her. Judge Steven T. O’Neill has ruled the prosecution can call a total of five women to testify against Cosby, but only in support of another woman, Andrea Constand, whose sexual assault claim is the one for which he is on trial.
When she arrived at the party, Baker-Kinney said it was clear there was no party. It was “just Mr. Cosby, Judy and myself,” she said.
Baker-Kinney said she believed this co-worker was interested in Cosby, and that she would be a “wingman,” have a beer and a slice of pizza, then leave.
Instead, she testified, Cosby gave her a pill, which she believed was a quaalude. Then, she said he gave her another one saying, “Take two, it’ll be OK.”
“In hindsight, it was a stupid thing to do,” she said. “But at that time, I thought, ‘If Bill Cosby says it’s OK, it must be all right to take these.’ ”
Baker-Kinney said the three sat down to a game of backgammon, but it wasn’t long before she got “dizzy” and her vision blurred.
“I recall vividly saying, ‘This game isn’t fair anymore … because I can no longer see the board,’ ” she testified. “And, I face-planted into the backgammon board. I fell forward into the backgammon board and passed out.”
Cosby’s lead defense attorney, Tom Mesereau, frequently objected to the way the prosecution let her testimony unspool without interruption, called a “narrative” objection.
Baker-Kinney said she remembered Judy leaving, and Cosby grabbing her breast on the couch. The next morning, she said she woke up to a phone ringing. She said she lay naked in a bed, with wetness between her legs.
During rapid-fire cross-examination, Mesereau repeatedly homed in on Baker-Kinney’s past statements, insinuating they had been shaped by media coverage.
“You said words to the effect that, ‘For 30, years I didn’t know I had been raped,’ ” said Mesereau. “So, for 30 years, you didn’t think anyone had sexually assaulted you.”
“You are twisting how I said those words and how I meant those words,” said Baker-Kinney, after several questions along these lines. “It still takes me everything within my being to say the words ‘I was raped,’ because I still carry the guilt.”
She explained she had repressed thoughts about the encounter and blamed herself for taking the pills Cosby proffered. Her cross-examination continues Thursday.
Two other women also testified against Cosby this week: Chelan Lasha, a former model and bellhop at the Las Vegas Hilton, and Heidi Thomas, a former dinner theater performer from Colorado. Both said Cosby gave them a drink or pills that made them woozy and lose consciousness for long spells, during which he sexually assaulted them.
On Wednesday, O’Neill dismissed two motions for mistrial by the defense, one in response to Thomas saying from the stand, “I want to see a serial rapist convicted.”