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Cosby accuser Andrea Constand: "I did it for justice"

Andrea Constand walks while breaking for lunch during Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Friday, April 13, 2018, in Norristown, Pa.

Corey Perrine/AP

Andrea Constand, the woman whose allegations that Bill Cosby drugged and assaulted her led to his conviction, said Friday in her first public comments since his conviction that she forgives Cosby. "I did it for justice," she told NBC News' Kate Snow on "Dateline."

"But I also did it because of what was happening at the time," Constand said. "And what was happening was many women came out into the public, into the media in droves, saying that they too had been drugged and sexually assaulted."

Cosby, 80, was convicted in April of drugging and assaulting Constand. He is now confined to his home until his sentencing in September. He's expected to face up to 15 years in prison.

More than 60 women have accused Cosby of drugging and molesting them over five decades. Constand told NBC News it is clear to her that Cobsy is "sick."

"He needs help and he needs to repent for what he did, not only to me but for a lot of women," she said. "He's a convicted sex assaulter, but I forgive him for what he did to me." 

Constand, a 45-year-old Temple University women's basketball administrator, said Cosby knocked her out with three blue pills he called "your friends" and then penetrated her with his fingers as she lay immobilized, unable to resist or say no. Cosby claimed the encounter was consensual, saying he gave her the cold and allergy medicine Benadryl to relax. 

Cosby has maintained his innocence. After the hung jury last year, he was found guilty of three counts in the retrial. 

Cosby's lawyers attacked Constand at the April retrial as a "con artist" who framed Cosby to extort a huge civil settlement from him. Constand sued Cosby after prosecutors initially declined to file charges, settling with him for nearly $3.4 million over a decade ago.  

Constand told NBC she didn't come forward at first because she didn't think anyone would believe her.

"It was Bill Cosby. It was Dr. Huxtable. I thought I was the only person he did this to," she said.  

After the verdict in Cosby's trial was read in April, there were tears and cheers from inside the Pennsylvania courtroom. Some emotional witnesses left the room and spilled into the hallway.

"I feel overcome by emotion," Cosby accuser Lili Bernard told CBS News' correspondent Jericka Duncan after the verdict was handed down. "Like, it's surreal."