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Other Accusers Can Testify at Bill Cosby's Retrial
16 March 2018, 04:58 | Lowell Little
Judge in Cosby Case to Allow Five More Accusers to Testify
The judge presiding over Cosby's retrial ruled that up to five other accusers of the former "America's Dad" will get to tell a jury he drugged and/or raped them, too.
It was an alleged 2004 assault involving Andrea Constand that earned 80-year-old Cosby his only criminal charges, despite being accused by dozens of women of similar behavior that went unchecked for as long as five decades.
Prosecutors argue Cosby used his power and appeal as a beloved entertainer to befriend younger women and then plied them with drugs or alcohol before assaulting them.
The initial trial took place last June, but ended in a mistrial when the jurors failed to settle on a verdict.
Now Cosby is to be retried on Constand's accusations starting April 2 in Norristown, Pa., with jury selection to begin March 29.
At a hearing earlier this month, prosecutor Adrienne Jappe said that Cosby "systematically engaged in a signature pattern" of drugging and sexually assaulting women who looked up to him as a mentor.
The retrial is now scheduled to begin April 2, but Cosby's lawyers have said they would seek to delay proceedings if the judge allowed other accusers the chance to testify.
During Cosby's first trial last June on charges he sexually assaulted Constand, O'Neill allowed prosecutors to present the testimony of only one "prior alleged victim", Kelley Johnson. Johnson testified she met Cosby around 1990 through her employment working as an assistant to Cosby's personal appearance agent at the William Morris Agency. They said they would need extra time to look into the allegations. O'Neill is allowing the prosecution to choose who will testify.
"Now it becomes more than just one accuser against Bill Cosby", he said.
Also Thursday, Dickinson's defamation lawsuit against Cosby was allowed to move forward after the California Supreme Court refused his appeal.
Courts are often reluctant to allow such testimony because of the potential to unduly influence jurors who will be asked to focus on the specifics of the case at hand - in this instance, Constand's assertion that Cosby gave her pills that rendered her incapable of consenting to his sexual advances.
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