Five previous accusers allowed to testify at Bill Cosby's retrial, judge rules

DEBRE IS CQ

DEBRE IS CQ

A judge ruled Thursday that five additional women can testify at Bill Cosby's upcoming trial in Pennsylvania on charges of sexually assaulting a woman in 2004, marking the first time in the #MeToo era that a celebrity will face multiple accusers in a courtroom.

Prosecutors now have to decide which five accusers it wants to put on the witness stand next month. However, numerous other potential witnesses are easily identifiable because they have made public statements about their allegations that precisely match the circumstances laid out by prosecutors in their requests to allow testimony from previous accusers.

Constand, a former Temple University basketball official, says Cosby drugged and molested her at his home in Montgomery County outside Philadelphia in 2004.

The trial is scheduled for April. 2.

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.

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.

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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.

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. It says the accusers were much younger and they all had a mentorship type of relationship with Cosby. Judge O'Neill has already ruled against Cosby on a number of his pre-trial motions to dismiss the case.

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've already indicated they're likely to paint her as a money-grubbing liar.

Also Thursday, Dickinson's defamation lawsuit against Cosby was allowed to move forward after the California Supreme Court refused his appeal.

It won't be just Andrea Constand on the stand next month accusing Bill Cosby of sexual assault.

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