Wednesday, January 24, 2018

By Michael R. Sisak

Prosecutors this week asked a judge to let jurors at Bill Cosby's spring retrial hear from 19 other accusers.

They want to show that even though he is charged with drugging and sexually assaulting one woman at his home near Philadelphia, it was part of a pattern over five decades. The women are among about 60 women who came forward to accuse Cosby of drugging and molesting them.

At Cosby's first trial, which ended in a deadlock, prosecutors had tried to call 13 other accusers to testify. The judge allowed only one to take the stand.

Last Thursday, they renewed their request to have the 13 women testify, and added six more to the list. The new potential witnesses include model Janice Dickinson; a secretary who knew Cosby in the 1960s; and a performer who opened for him in the early 1980s.

Attorneys for Cosby, who is now 80, have said the women's memories are tainted at best and will ask the judge to bar them from testifying at the retrial, scheduled for April.

The plaintiff, Andrea Constand, was 30 at the time; Cosby was 66.

Constand told police in 2005 that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her a year earlier at his suburban Philadelphia estate. A Temple University basketball team manager, Constand said he gave her three unlabeled blue pills to “relax” as she discussed a career change. She said she was semi-conscious when he digitally penetrated her. Cosby, a Temple alumnus, booster and trustee, is charged with sexually assaulting a person unable to give consent, a felony that could bring 10 years in prison upon conviction. The defense says her story has evolved and there were other times they were sexually intimate. Cosby has pleaded not guilty.