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Judge in Cosby Case to Allow Five More Accusers to Testify

16 March 2018

As many as five Bill Cosby accusers will be allowed to testify in his upcoming sexual assault trial involving former Temple employee Andrea Constand.

The prosecution must identify the witnesses it intends to call by Monday.

Prosecutors, eager to expand the scope of the underlying he-said-she-said case, had pushed to let jurors hear from as many as 19 of the dozens of women who say Cosby assaulted them over a five-decade span. All of the more than 50 women who have been interviewed by prosecutors came forward after Constand first told her story to authorities in 2005.

Cosby's defense team tried to stop the move by claiming the prosecution hopes to just "enrage the jury" by allowing accusers to dredge up "ancient allegations" against the actor in the current #MeToo environment. All of the women's allegations - except for Constand's - fall outside the statute of limitations and can not be prosecuted. At a hearing earlier this month, prosecutor Adrienne Jappe said that Cosby "systematically engaged in a signature pattern" of drugging and sexually assaulting women who looked up to him as a mentor. Johnson testified she met Cosby around 1990 through her employment working as an assistant to Cosby's personal appearance agent at the William Morris Agency. Johnson offered tearful testimony at Cosby's first trial, saying that the comedian intimidated her into taking a pill that made her vision go fuzzy at the swanky Bel-Air Hotel in the 1990s.

"Permitting testimony from 19 accusers to establish prior bad acts, or even any number close to it, would be unprecedented", the defense wrote in a brief.

The other four alleged accusers who the judge is allowing to testify during the retrial are among six who are being proffered to the court by prosecutors for the first time.

Cosby, 80, remains free on 10 percent of $1 million bail, pending the retrial. Cosby has maintained his contact with Constand was consensual.

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

Cosby faces a possible maximum sentence of 15 to 30 years in prison if convicted of the charges.

Prosecutors argued that the string of accusers shows Cosby could not have believed Constand gave her consent.

Judge in Cosby Case to Allow Five More Accusers to Testify