Cosby retrial brings key witnesses to the stand in his defense

As expected, a key witness in Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial took the stand and alleged that his accuser talked about framing a celebrity before going to police with her allegations against him in 2005.

Marguerite Jackson, an academic adviser at Temple University who worked with Andrea Constand, took the witness stand after a judge overruled prosecutors and said she could tell her story to the jury. She claimed that Constand spoke about a plot while they were rooming together on a trip to Rhode Island with the Temple University women's basketball team.

After watching a TV news report about a celebrity who had been accused of sexual assault, Jackson said Constand told her: "Oh wow, something similar happened to me." Constand said she never reported the assault because her assailant was a "high-profile person" and she knew she couldn't prove it, Jackson testified.

Jackson said she encouraged Constand to report it. She told jurors that Constand then switched gears, saying: "No it didn't, but I could say it did. I could say it happened, get that money. I could quit my job. I could go back to school. I could open up a business."

Jackson said the conversation happened Feb. 1, 2004, which would be just a few weeks after Constand claims Cosby drugged and molested her at his suburband Philadelphia home. The defense has been making efforts to paint Constand as an opportunist who fabricated a story get money from the famed comedian.

Cosby paid Constand nearly $3.4 million in a civil settlement in 2006. However, she says that the money is not why she's going after him today.

Constand testified Monday she didn't "recall ever having a conversation with" Jackson.

Prosecutors wound down their case earlier Wednesday, introducing the comedian's explosive testimony about giving quaaludes to women before sex — an old admission that's taken on new significance after a half-dozen women testified that he drugged and violated them.

Andrea Constand llega para reanudar su testimonio en el nuevo juicio de Bill Cosby por abuso sexual, el lunes 16 de abril del 2018 en la Corte del Condado de Montgomery en Norristown, Pennsylvania. (Dominick Reuter/Pool Photo vía AP)

Andrea Constand llega para reanudar su testimonio en el nuevo juicio de Bill Cosby por abuso sexual, el lunes 16 de abril del 2018 en la Corte del Condado de Montgomery en Norristown, Pennsylvania. (Dominick Reuter/Pool Photo vía AP) ((c) Dominick Reuter reuterphoto.com)

A police detective read a transcript of the 2005 testimony as prosecutors saved for the very end of their case Cosby's own words about using the 1970s party drug "the same as a person would say, 'Have a drink.'"

Cosby, 80, is being retried on charges he drugged and molested Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home. He says their encounter was consensual, but Constand claims she was drugged and therefore couldn't give consent.

Cosby was deposed in 2005 and 2006 after Constand filed suit against him. The deposition was hidden from public view until 2015, when The Associated Press petitioned to have it unsealed, leading prosecutors to reopen the criminal case.

Jurors at Cosby's first trial last year also heard excerpts from the deposition but deadlocked on sexual assault charges, leading to his current retrial.

In a transcript read to the jury Wednesday, the "Cosby Show" star said he obtained seven prescriptions for quaaludes from his doctor in Los Angeles in the 1970s, ostensibly for a sore back, but added he didn't use them himself because they made him tired.

"Quaaludes happen to be the drug that kids, young people were using to party with, and there were times when I wanted to have them just in case," Cosby testified, according to the transcript.

The sedative was banned in the U.S. in 1982, the same year one of the women who testified, Janice Baker-Kinney, alleges Cosby knocked her out with pills she suspected to be quaaludes and then raped her.

Cosby's lawyers sought Wednesday to minimize the importance of his quaaludes testimony. Defense attorney Kathleen Bliss underscored that most of that testimony pertained to the 1970s, and a police detective acknowledged during cross-examination that authorities didn't find quaaludes in a search of Cosby's home after Constand went to police.

Prosecutors also unleashed other passages from Cosby's graphic deposition, including his accounts of purported sexual encounters with Constand and how he apologized to her mother a year later for being "a dirty old man with a young girl."

They used another of Cosby's statements, one he gave to police in 2005, to show how he described the encounter for which he is facing aggravated indecent assault charges that could send him to prison for years.

Cosby said he gave Constand 1 and a half tablets of the cold and allergy medicine Benadryl to help her relax, then fondled her breasts and genitals, according to a police transcript that jurors heard Tuesday.

He said Constand never told him to stop.

Constand said Cosby knocked her out with the pills and then sexually assaulted her, penetrating her with his fingers and guiding her hand to his penis.

The Associated Press doesn't typically identify people who say they're victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand and Dickinson have done.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.