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Alleged Cosby victim 'changed' after attack

BBC News logo BBC News 6/06/2017
Andrea Constand: Ms Constand says she was drugged and assaulted © Reuters Ms Constand says she was drugged and assaulted

A witness who claims Bill Cosby drugged and sexually abused her in 1996 was emotionally withdrawn after the incident, her mother has testified.

Patricia Sewell said during the second day of Mr Cosby's sex assault trial for a separate case that her daughter "changed considerably".

The US comedian and actor is accused of drugging and molesting university employee Andrea Constand in 2004.

Mr Cosby, 79, denies the charge while his lawyers say she agreed to sex.

Dozens of women say Mr Cosby assaulted them, but statutes of limitation rules mean he is on trial for only one allegation.

Kelly Johnson, Ms Sewell's daughter, testified on Monday that he gave her a pill to "relax" during a meeting at his Los Angeles hotel room for career advice.

Ms Johnson, who worked for a talent agency representing Mr Cosby, alleges she woke up partially clothed in the comedian's bed with him behind her, grunting, before he forced her to touch his genitals. 

It is the same method he is said to have used in the alleged attack on Ms Constand.

"She changed considerably," Ms Sewell said in court on Tuesday in Norristown, a suburb of Philadelphia, where the trial is taking place.

"Her circle of friends became narrower. She had very little social life." 

Angela Agrusa, an attorney for Mr Cosby, grilled Ms Sewell on her account of the alleged incident, suggesting she may have heard the story during a television appearance in 2015 instead of 1996 after it allegedly occurred.

The case is seen as the biggest US celebrity court case since the murder trial of former American football player OJ Simpson in 1995.

Ms Constand says Mr Cosby drugged and molested her after she visited his home seeking career advice in 2004.

She was 31 at the time and had befriended him through Temple University in Philadelphia, where he served on the board of trustees.

In 2006, the comedian settled with Ms Constand after providing an undisclosed cash sum to her.

Mr Cosby's defence lawyers argued on Monday that his encounter with her was one of many consensual, romantic episodes between them.

His legal team said he had only offered Ms Constand Quaaludes - a sedative widely used recreationally in the US in the 1970s - after she complained of having trouble sleeping.

She is expected to serve as a key witness for prosecutors during the two-week trial.

Mr Cosby's wife of 53 years was not seen with him as he entered the court in Norristown, near Philadelphia, on Monday or Tuesday.

But Keshia Knight Pulliam, who played his on-screen daughter in The Cosby Show, did accompany him on the first day.

Mr Cosby faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and a fine of up to $25,000 (£19,500).

The comic - who was at one point the highest-paid actor in the US - has said he will not testify in the trial, which is expected to last about two weeks.

If convicted, Mr Cosby faces up to a decade in prison.

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