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Toxicologists Clash on Drug in Cosby Sex Assault Trial

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Dr. Rohrig said diphenhydramine has been used in numerous cases of “drug-facilitated sexual assault.” He said the effects of Benadryl would take 15-30 minutes to begin, and would reach their peak in one to two hours. The drug has been produced in round, blue pills, like the ones Ms. Constand said she took, but has also been available in oblong or oval shapes, Dr. Rohrig said.

When Mr. Ryan asked Dr. Rohrig to describe the effects of quaaludes, which Mr. Cosby has said he has given to women he wanted to have sex with, Dr. Rohrig said the sedative would make the user sleepy. He said quaaludes were used as a party drug in the 1970s and were believed to have aphrodisiac effects.

The defense team’s expert, Dr. Harry A. Milman, a pharmacologist and toxicologist from Rockville, Md., who has worked for the American Cancer Institute, denied that Ms. Constand would have experienced the symptoms she described by taking the amount of Benadryl that came up in the case, as stated by Mr. Cosby.

“The symptoms that she described after taking a therapeutic dose would not have occurred within 10 to 15 minutes,” Dr. Milman said, under direct examination from Becky James, an attorney for Mr. Cosby.

He said the symptoms Ms. Constand described were “severe” and would have led regulators to prevent the drugs’ being sold over the counter.

Ms. James asked Dr. Milman whether he agreed with Dr. Rohrig that Ms. Constand’s symptoms could have been caused by Benadryl.

“I saw no evidence that Ms. Constand took any drug, Benadryl or otherwise,” he said during more than four hours on the witness stand. He argued that there was “absolutely no objective evidence” such as blood, hair or urine samples to back up Ms. Constand’s claims.

Because Ms. Constand did not report the incident to police immediately, no traces of any drug she might have taken would be present.

Under cross-examination from Mr. Ryan, Dr. Milman told the court that he was being paid $675 an hour as an expert witness in the case.

Judge Steven T. O’Neill of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas told the jury of seven men and five women that testimony is likely to end early next week, sooner than he had previously anticipated, after several more defense witnesses are called on Friday and Monday.

Mr. Cosby faces three charges of aggravated indecent assault in connection with the episode Ms. Constand reported. Mr. Cosby denies the charges and says the sexual contact was consensual. Five other women testified last week that they believed Mr. Cosby had drugged and sexually assaulted them.

Mr. Cosby’s first trial in the case ended in a hung jury last June.

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