Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Bill Cosby To Face Multiple Accusers In Upcoming Sexual Assault Trial

5 victims to testify in upcoming Bill Cosby trial Bill Cosby To Face Multiple Accusers In Upcoming Sexual Assault Trial
Michele Schwartz | 16 March, 2018, 05:02

In a move likely to broaden the scope and extend the length of Bill Cosby's upcoming retrial on sex assault charges, a judge ruled Thursday that prosecutors can call as witnesses five women who accused him of sexual misconduct in decades past.

Judge Steve O'Neill determined Thursday that five women will be allowed to take the witness stand and share their allegations against the scandal-plagued comedian with the jury, The Daily Beast reported.

Prosecutors want to show he had a pattern of misconduct over a five-decade span. In a contentious hearing earlier this month, Cosby's defence attorney Becky James contended that allowing a large number of previous accusers to testify would amount to creating a series of "mini-trials" that would unfairly prejudice the jury against Cosby. When they were unsuccessful, they opposed the prosecution's request to call additional accusers to the stand citing the statute of limitations.

Allowing additional accusers to testify is sure to keep Cosby in court longer than his first trial, which ended in a hung jury a year ago after six days of testimony and five days of deliberations.

The trial is scheduled for April. 2.

During Cosby's first trial last June, which ended in a mistrial after two weeks of testimony and deliberations, O'Neill permitted only one other alleged accuser to testify. They said they would need extra time to look into the allegations.

Attorneys for Cosby, who is now 80, have said the women's memories are tainted at best and asked the judge to bar them from testifying. It will reportedly be up to prosecutors to choose which accusers testify.

Dave Zuckerman, a former prosecutor who practices criminal defense in the Pittsburgh area, said that "might help put the case over the edge in favor of the prosecution". Dickinson sued Cosby after he and his representatives said her allegations were false.

"Now it becomes more than just one accuser against Bill Cosby", he said.

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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