Bill Cosby is back in court -- and might face 19 more accusers

Peter Castro
March 7, 2018

Last year, a Pennsylvania jury deadlocked on whether he was guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his Philadelphia home.

Assistant District Attorney Adrienne Jappe today described the similarities between the alleged sexual assault of Bill Cosby accuser Andrea Constand and 19 other women as though the characteristics could belong on a scientific table.

The judge allowed just one other accuser to take the stand at Cosby's first trial, barring any mention of about 60 others who have come forward to accuse Cosby in recent years.

The prosecution has argued that their individual testimonies show a pattern of Cosby drugging and/or sexually assaulting women for five decades. They say they will seek to delay the retrial if any of the women are permitted to testify so they can have more time to investigate their claims.

"You can not let your witness get up there and say something that comes from the moon", defense lawyer Kathleen Bliss told the judge.

Cosby is represented by former Michael Jackson attorney, Tom Mesereau, and he will face the same prosecutors and judge from his first trial.

Judge Steven O'Neill on Monday denied a defense motion to dismiss the case on statute of limitations and prosecutorial misconduct grounds.

The prosecution's argument centered on two precedents for allowing the other women to testify, the first allowing for the admission of prior bad acts when they are "distinctive and so almost identical as to become the signature of the same perpetrator".

For prosecutors, having several accusers tell similar stories about Cosby would give them a chance to smooth over issues with Constand's credibility and insulate her from attacks from his lawyers, who are keen to portray her as a money-grubbing liar. He has said the encounter was consensual.

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Even before Monday's arguments got underway, Cosby's lawyers were rapped by the judge for falsely accusing prosecutors of hiding or destroying evidence.

Jury selection in the retrial is scheduled for March 29.

The date is important because Cosby wasn't arrested until December 30, 2015 - meaning any assault prior to December 30, 2003, would have fallen outside the 12-year statute of limitations. "If it was a large settlement, why did Cosby pay such a large settlement for something that he says didn't happen?"

Specifically, James told the judge, Constand "claims that [on the night of the alleged assault] she called Mr. Cosby's Pennsylvania home ... because she had to be let in".

For embattled comedy icon Bill Cosby, the retrial on sexual assault charges is fast approaching.

The DA argued Cosby's new lawyers acted recklessly and "are at best incompetent and otherwise unethical". He paused as he entered the courtroom to offer condolences to Cosby on the death of his 44-year-old daughter, Ensa, 10 days earlier.

Last month, the veteran funnyman's legal representatives challenged the motion for additional testimony, insisting they would require extra time to review the witnesses' statements if they are allowed in the retrial. According to the AP, the fallen television star is seeking to stop some of his accusers from being allowed to testify at his April 2nd criminal retrial. Constand said that in 2004 she was a guest at Cosby's home when he drugged and molested her. Cosby denies taking advantage and said that the incident was consensual.

The prosecutors' investigators interviewed Jackson and were successful in getting Jackson barred from testifying during Cosby's first trial.

But defense lawyer Kathleen Bliss asked O'Neill to reconsider that ruling Monday.

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