Five more Cosby accusers to testify at sex assault retrial

Five more Cosby accusers to testify at sex assault retrial

Today in the Montgomery County Courthouse outside of Philadelphia, Judge Steven O'Neill announced that five women will be allowed to testify against Bill Cosby when his second trial gets started on April 2.

Jury selection for the retrial is set to begin March 29.

Judge O'Neill ruled that prosecutors can choose five out of a group of eight women who say they were attacked by Cosby since 1982.

Prosecutors had asked for 19 accusers to testify against Cosby, but O'Neill took his time before issuing Thursday's order. The Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, judge noted that he had looked at the prosecution's assertion that the previous accusers represented a "common plan, scheme and design" compared to the allegations in the Constand case, a hurdle they needed to cross to persuade him to allow testimony from the other women.

None of these other accusations resulted in criminal charges against Cosby, mostly because they're so old they fell outside the statutes of limitation.

"It shows (how) desperate they are and this is a very weak case", said Cosby's spokesman, Andrew Wyatt, in an email to USA TODAY.

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Cosby, a former Temple Board of Trustees member, is facing three counts of aggravated indecent assault for allegedly drugging and assaulting Constand, a former Temple employee, at his Montgomery County home in 2005.

A defendant's history usually is not admissible as evidence that he committed a particular crime.

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

Cosby's lawyers argued that permitting other accusers to testify would unfairly prejudice jurors, particularly given the #MeToo movement, which has encouraged millions of women to share experiences of sexual abuse or harassment.

His first trial in June in the Philadelphia suburb of Norristown, Pennsylvania, ended in a mistrial after the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict following six days of deliberations. They must let the court and Cosby's defense team know by March 19. The woman says she became "immobilized" after taking a blue pill Cosby gave her, and awoke with "a sharp pain in her buttocks".

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