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Reporter’s notebook: Andrea Constand says she’s found her peace

Patterns quickly emerged. Women who had never met in person told eerily similar stories. Many talked about having been mentored by Cosby before he attacked. Many, although not all, believed they were drugged.

Lili Bernard’s description will stay with me forever.

“I’m on the floor, on the carpet,” she said in our group interview. “And I remember the sensation of the carpet against the flesh of my back like Velcro…. And it hurt, and I couldn’t move because of the drugs.”

Reporter’s notebook: Andrea Constand says she’s found her peace
Reporter’s notebook: Andrea Constand says she’s found her peace

At home in Toronto, Andrea told me she watched and listened to the many stories. And when the district attorney’s office in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, re-investigated her case and decided to file criminal charges in late 2015, she told me, she was ready.

Image: Andrea Constand and Gianna Constand
Andrea Constand and her mother, Gianna Constand.NBC News

I asked Andrea whether it was difficult to decide to cooperate, to testify. She told me that she didn’t do it just for herself. She said she did it because so many women had come out in public and accused Cosby at that point. She told me she believed all those women and felt she needed to be their voice.

In this trial, the prosecution was allowed to bring forward five other women who have accused Cosby of similar episodes. I spoke with four of them after the verdict, as well.

They call Andrea their hero.

It’s not lost on Andrea that she went up against a juggernaut. Cosby hired powerful lawyers and consistently denied allegations of non-consensual sex.

Cosby’s attorneys tried to poke holes in Andrea’s story. In both trials, they pointed to inconsistencies in her statements to authorities. In the trial this spring, Los Angeles lawyer Thomas Mesereau (who once famously defended Michael Jackson against child molestation charges) argued that Andrea went after Cosby for money. In closing arguments, the defense called her a “con artist.”

Still, a jury sided with her.

She believes that’s because her story of what happened one night in 2004 hasn’t changed. She tells that story in detail this Friday. It is graphic and disturbing. Andrea describes Cosby’s giving her three “friends” — pills that left her unable to move, think clearly or respond. She says she has no memory of Cosby’s saying a word as he assaulted her. She says that when she awoke, ashamed and confused, he offered her a muffin and tea.

She told me that the details of that night are as clear as ever and that she will live with them for the rest of her life.

But at least now, she says, she can also live with a feeling that justice was finally served.

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