Bill Cosby’s defense team continues to be predictably slimy: A day after admitting that they wrongly accused the prosecution of withholding evidence in the sexual assault case against Bill Cosby, his lawyers filed paperwork asking the judge to block 19 accusers from testifying in Cosby’s retrial. Their argument: the accounts of alleged sexual assault victims are “highly prejudicial” in a sexual assault case.
The disgraced celebrity faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault over allegedly drugging and digitally penetrating former Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his home in 2004. Though many women have come forward alleging similar abuse, Cosby’s trial only included testimony from one other alleged victim, while O’Neill blocked 12 others from testifying. After an 11-day trial and a 6-day deliberation by a hung jury, Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O’Neill declared a mistrial last June.
In the retrial, the prosecution is asking the judge to consider allowing testimonies from the original 13, in addition to six other accusers “to demonstrate a common scheme, plan or design,” according to a motion filed by District Attorney Kevin R. Steele. The motion claims that law enforcement has “investigated more than 50 other claims of defendant’s virtually identical drug-facilitated sexual assaults on young women.”
On Tuesday, Cosby’s defense team submitted paperwork stating that if the judge were to allow these testimonies, their client “would be entitled to” a delay in court. From the Times-Herald:
“While the prospect of trotting out 19 other accusers makes for a splashy headline, it does nothing to advance the goal of fairly deciding Bill Cosby’s guilt or innocence,” the defense team led by Los Angeles lawyer Thomas Mesereau Jr. wrote in papers filed in Montgomery County Court. “Admitting evidence of even just one of these uncharged and unproven accusations would be highly prejudicial.”
Mesereau and co-defense lawyers Kathleen Bliss, Jason Hicks, Becky S. James and Lane L. Vines added that if Judge Steven T. O’Neill allows any or all of the 19 other alleged accusers to testify, then Cosby “would be compelled to seek, and would be entitled to,” a postponement of the April 2 retrial date.
O’Neill is expected to pass a ruling on the pretrial testimonies in March.