Five women to testify in Cosby sexual assault case retrial, court says

Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby

O'Neil only permitted the woman who accused him of the assault in 2004, Andrea Constand, and another woman who accused the comedian of sexual misconduct in 1996. All five women will come forward at the next trial to share their accounts of how Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them.

Cosby's spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.

At the first trial, O'Neill allowed only one other accuser to testify that Cosby assaulted her in Los Angeles in the 1990s.

Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill's decision will likely have a major influence on the second trial of Cosby, 80, who is accused of attacking Andrea Constand, now 44, at his home near Philadelphia between December 30, 2003, and January 20, 2004.

Before the trial a year ago, O'Neill had rejected Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele's request to present a parade of 13 accusers to the jury in a bid to show that what happened to Constand followed a pattern of predatory behavior by Cosby.

Prosecutors argued that the string of accusers shows Cosby could not have believed Constand gave her consent. The honorable Steven O'Neill announced that up to five of the nineteen available female witnesses can testify.

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"What are the chances that these 19 women get sexually assaulted and don't report until decades later when they hear about (Constand)?" attorney Becky James asked.

In a written ruling, the judge said prosecutors can select five witnesses from a group of eight.

During the recent hearings that took place on last week, lawyers for both sides went after each other with prosecutors asking the judge to remove Cosby's defense attorneys, because they accused the state of malicious prosecution.

The five women who testify can also expect grueling cross-examinations from Cosby's defense team as it seeks to discredit their allegations.

"Having Tom certainly allows Mr. and Mrs. Cosby to sleep at night", Wyatt said. This trial is set to commence on April 2.

Last June, O'Neil declared a mistrial in the case after the jury remained "deadlocked on all counts" following six days of deliberations.

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