“Ozzie” the parrot flew right in to Bill Cosby trial testimony this week, providing one of the more light-hearted moments at a trial characterized by very sordid details.
|Montco Courthouse Home to Bill Cosby Trial/Photo by Carl Hessler Jr.|
A recording of the Jan. 17, 2005, phone conversation Cosby had with the mother of alleged sex assault victim Andrea Constand was at the center of the trial on Wednesday when it was played for the jury during the testimony of Andrea’s Canadian mother, Gianna.
During the phone conversation, Cosby, who initiated the call from Los Angeles, California, apparently suspected that Mrs. Constand was recording the call at her home in Canada and questioned her about a persistent beeping he heard on the phone, according to testimony. Gianna Constand told an obviously suspicious Cosby the sound was probably her parrot in the background or her call waiting, testifying she might have been getting a call from another daughter at the time.
At that point, Gianna Constand turned to the jury and District Attorney Kevin R. Steele and said, “Yes, I do have a parrot. His name is ‘Ozzie,’” she said lovingly, eliciting chuckles from everyone in the courtroom.
At that moment “Ozzie” had stolen the show at Cosby’s trial.
Testimony revealed Gianna Constand really was recording Cosby, whom she met in 2003 through her daughter, with a recorder she purchased earlier that day at a Radio Shack in Pickering. Appearing anguished at times, Andrea’s mother testified she recorded the conversation to capture Cosby’s alleged admission to giving her daughter pills and to having sexual contact with Andrea. During the recorded conversation she asked Cosby to reveal the name of the medication he’d given to Andrea.
“I’d never done that before,” Gianna Constand said about recording someone.
Incidentally, Canadian law permits the interception of a private communication where only one party consents, unlike in the U.S., where two-party consent is required.
During the conversation, Cosby inquired about Andrea’s career goals and offered to pay for Andrea’s graduate schooling, according to testimony, “as long as she maintains a 3.0 average, she’ll be fine.”
|Bill Cosby Leaves Montgomery County Courthouse/Photo by Carl Hessler Jr.|
Later, during Cosby’s March 2006 deposition in a civil lawsuit brought against him by Andrea Constand, Cosby allegedly admitted that he feared Constand’s mother recorded him, according to court papers and testimony.
That recording could be the first and only time that jurors hear Cosby’s voice since he is not expected to testify when the trial resumes on Monday.
Judge Steven T. O’Neill, the presiding Cosby trial judge, ruled last year that the recorded call was admissible evidence.
Stay tuned. I’ll have daily reports for Digital First Media publications. You can also find breaking Cosby news by following @MontcoCourtNews on Twitter.