During his sexual assault trial on Thursday, testimony turned to a long-sealed deposition given by Bill Cosby in which he admitted to having “a romantic interest” in Andrea Constand — who has accused him of drugging and sexually assaulting her in 2004.
During trial on Wednesday, Constand, who is gay and has said she never had any romantic interest in Cosby, testified, “He had never disclosed to me that he had affection for me…that he was interested in a romantic interaction with me.”
Here is PEOPLE’s article from May 2016 about Cosby’s statements in the deposition about his immediate “romantic interest” in Constand. The deposition became public in July 2015 — prompting prosecutors to re-open Constand’s case against Cosby.
From the moment entertainer Bill Cosby laid eyes on Andrea Constand in November 2002, he had “a romantic interest” in her, he said in his deposition for her long-settled lawsuit, which was obtained by PEOPLE.
A mutual friend introduced them at Temple University’s Liacouris Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Cosby said, but he kept his romantic interest quiet because “I don’t know her. She doesn’t know me,” he said.
His plan was to “meet her” and then “perhaps to have some moments with her that would have to do with some sort of friendship,” he said.
He never told Constand, then 29 and the director of operations for Temple University’s women’s basketball team, of his feelings for her and she never indicated she had any romantic feelings toward him, he said.
Instead, for the next 14 months, he nurtured their relationship by “inviting her to my house, talking to her about personal situations dealing with her life, growth, education, access and thoughts to how to acquire a more aggressive attitude, protecting oneself in business,” he said.
The nature of the relationship between Cosby and Constand is relevant in what happened at his Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, mansion in January 2004, which is now the subject of sexual assault charges against Cosby. She says he drugged and sexually assaulted her; he says what happened between them was consensual. (He denies similar allegations by more than 50 women).
She viewed him as a “mentor” and said they had a “sincere friendship,” but that she had “no interest whatsoever” in a romantic relationship with him, she told investigators.
On Tuesday, District Judge Elizabeth McHugh held Cosby over for trial on three aggravated indecent assault charges after a three-hour preliminary hearing in which portions of statements Constand and Cosby gave to police were read in court.
Andrew Wyatt, Cosby’s spokesman, declined comment for this story.
Long-Sealed Deposition Made Public
Cosby’s deposition, which his attorneys have been vigorously fighting to keep confidential after several media organizations obtained it last summer, was quietly unsealed by a federal judge on May 20 as part of the defamation lawsuit filed by seven women who also claim he drugged and sexually assaulted them, including Tamara Green and Therese Serignese.
The deposition, which occurred over four days in 2005 and 2006, and is nearly 1,000 pages long, was originally taken for Constand’s lawsuit against Cosby, which he settled with her in late 2006.
“If he’s testifying in a case that deals with his relationships, consensual or not, with other women I thought it would be relevant to the issues in my case,” he tells PEOPLE exclusively. “Having read it, it clearly is.”
“For example, he admits to purchasing Quaaludes to have sex with young women and giving Quaaludes to one of my clients, Therese Serignese, and having sex with her,” he says. “He cannot tell whether or not she consented to such sex. However, she can – and says she did not.”
RELATED VIDEO: Mom of Bill Cosby Accuser Says Daughter Became ‘Anxious’ and ‘Depressed’ After Alleged Sex Assault
Cammarata has deposed Cosby’s wife of 52 years, Camille, 72, twice but his request to depose Cosby himself is on hold while the criminal case against him proceeds.
The quaalude admissions were the reason the Montgomery County district attorney’s office quietly reopened Constand’s criminal case last summer. In February 2005, then Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. decided not to charge Cosby, citing “insufficient credible and admissible evidence.”
While it’s not clear if the deposition will be allowed in as evidence in the criminal case, it does provide a window into Cosby’s perspective on his relationship with Constand, now 43 and a massage therapist in Canada.
A Friendship Blooms
After being introduced to Constand in November 2002, Cosby contacted her at her office at Temple to “discuss business-related matters,” according to the probable cause affidavit for Cosby’s arrest.
“Eventually the victim and Cosby exchanged personal numbers and developed what the victim believed to be a sincere friendship,” the affidavit says.
She considered Cosby, 37 years her senior, to be her “mentor” and described instances in which “he invited her to his home for dinner, invited her to restaurants, invited her to events, introduced her to various people, and provided her with career advice,” she told authorities.
She “had no romantic interest in him whatsoever,” she says.
He agreed he was her mentor. He said he provided encouragement when she pondered a career in sportscasting, then becoming frustrated when she wouldn’t take his advice.
“Here’s a mentor Bill Cosby, who is in the business, Bill Cosby, who happens to know something about what to do and Andrea is not picking up on it,” he says in the deposition.
Eventually he had her over to his home, “setting a romantic atmosphere” with “fireplace, food, conversations and dim lights,” he said.
He asked her what her favorite foods were and what alcoholic beverage she preferred – which turned out to be Cognac with a twist of lemon – and made sure he had them on hand. He wooed her with invites to dinner parties at his home, trying to impress her with the high-powered educators he had on his guest list, he said in the deposition.
“She sat amongst a president and a dean and a provost and was able to hear people talk about education,” he said.
Divergent Accounts of the Night in Question
Constand and Cosby agreed about these details. Where they began to differ is on what happened between them on three prior occasions to January 2004 at his home and at Foxwoods Casino on Nov. 8, 2003: He says he made romantic advances that she did not rebuff, while she says she did indeed rebuff them, according to the affidavit.
“The victim was embarrassed by this encounter,” the affidavit said. “She never thought Cosby would hit on her, especially since Cosby is much older than her father.”
After another such encounter at his home, which she says she rebuffed, she continued to see him socially because, “Despite these advances by Cosby, the victim trusted him,” the affidavit says.
In January 2004, Cosby invited her to his home to discuss her career plans, they both agree. He says he gave her some Benadryl to help her relax (she says he told her it was herbal medication). He says that what happened between them sexually that evening was consensual.
She says whatever he gave her left her so incapacitated she couldn’t speak or move while Cosby was “fondling her breasts, put his hand in her pants… penetrated her vagina with his fingers” and “took her right hand and placed it on his penis.”
One year later, Constand went to authorities about what happened that night. More than a decade later, on Dec. 30, 2015, Cosby was arrested.
They continue to disagree about what exactly their relationship was at the time.
When Dolores Troani, one of Constand’s lawyers, said Constand had “grandfatherly” feelings toward him at the deposition, he took issue with that characterization.
“She didn’t ask for a quarter or to sit on my lap,” he said. “I have no idea what you’re talking about. You don’t grab your grandfather’s penis and massage it. Is that what you want to hear from me? If you can name people that want to do that with their grandfather then go ahead.”