Judge Will Allow Five Bill Cosby Accusers To Testify At Sex Assault Retrial
16 March, 2018, 04:58
In a written ruling, the judge said prosecutors can select five witnesses from a group of eight.
Prosecutors reportedly hope to portray Cosby as a serial predator with a pattern of "drugging and attacking women" over several decades. When they were unsuccessful, they opposed the prosecution's request to call additional accusers to the stand citing the statute of limitations.
Cosby's retooled legal team, led by former Michael Jackson lawyer Tom Mesereau, went to court last week to block any additional accusers from testifying.
Defense lawyers suggested the prosecution's case "is so weak" that prosecutors are desperate to salvage it with the testimony of other women who accuse Cosby of misconduct.
Allowing additional accusers to testify is sure to keep Cosby in court longer than his first trial, which ended in a hung jury previous year after six days of testimony and five days of deliberations.
In the first trial, prosecutors asked Judge Steven O'Neill to allow 13 additional accusers to testify, but he allowed just one. They said they would need extra time to look into the allegations. Cosby has denied all of their allegations. His retrial is scheduled to begin on March 29, and opening arguments are slated for April 2.
At the first trial, Steele had asked the judge to allow a total of 13 other accusers to testify, but O'Neill ruled on February 24, 2017, that 12 of the women could not testify, opening the door to only Johnson's testimony.
Kelly Johnson, who worked for Cosby's agent, testified Cosby knocked her out with a pill during a 1996 meeting at the Bel-Air Hotel in Los Angeles. They were all invited by Cosby to a setting he controlled where he allegedly drugged them and had sexual contact with them without their consent.
The prosecution must identify the witnesses it intends to call by Monday.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele arrives for the fifth day of deliberations in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Constand has testified that Cosby took a special interest in assisting her career.
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