An expert witness for the Cosby defense team has admitted that he used Google to obtain data for his expert report, that his medical credentials had lapsed, and that his curriculum vitae contained misleading information.
Bill Cosby, 80, was retried for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. He is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault. Cosby’s first trial ended in a mistrial following almost 60 hours of jury deliberations.
Costrand claims that Cosby gave her drugs that incapacitated her to the point where he could molest her without her consent. Constand described becoming disoriented and the loss of the use of her arms and legs.
The prosecution called Dr. Timothy P. Rohrig, a forensic toxicologist from Wichita, Kansas. Rohrig testified that the effects that Constand described were consistent with the effects of Benadryl, which is the over-the-counter antihistamine that Cosby says he gave Constand. Rohrig said, “Benadryl will do that, plus a hangover effect. . . . All the symptoms and the timing are consistent with the ingestion of diphenhydramine.” Rohrig testified that it takes about 10 to 15 minutes for the sedative effects of Benadryl to take effect.
Cosby’s defense team presented Dr. Harry Milman as an expert in toxicology. Milman is a pharmacologist from Rockville, Maryland. Milman has previously worked for the American Cancer Institute and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Milman testified that Costrand could not have experienced the symptoms that she described by taking the amount of Benadryl that Cosby claims to have given Constand. Milman testified that it takes about an hour to experience the side effects of Benadryl.
Milman said, “The symptoms that she described after taking a therapeutic dose would not have occurred within 10 to 15 minutes.” Milman testified that the symptoms that Constand described were “severe” and would have led regulators to prevent them from being sold over the counter. Milman said, “I saw no evidence that Ms. Constand took any drug, Benadryl or otherwise.” He pointed to the fact that there was “absolutely no objective evidence” to support Constand’s claims.
Milman testified that only 1 to 10 percent of people experience side effects from the ingestion of diphenhydramine, the active ingredient in Benadryl. On cross-examination, assistant district attorney Stewart Ryan questioned Milman’s credentials and the way that he obtained data for his report. Ryan showed the court a peer-reviewed medical compendium that stated that about 50 percent of the people who ingest diphenhydramine experience side effects and asked where Milman obtained the 1 to 10 percent figure. Milman admitted that he used Google to obtain the information.
Assistant district attorney Ryan also questioned Milman on his credentials. Specifically, Ryan asked Milman whether a scholarly article that he listed on his curriculum vitae was actually a reply to a letter to the editor. Milman acknowledged that it was. Milman also acknowledged that he had let his medical license lapse after retiring. When questioned on whether he held any active licenses, he replied, “I hold a driver’s license.”
Bill Cosby found guilty of sexual assault (April 26, 2018) New York Times.
Photo Credit: By The World Affairs Council of Philadelphia [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons