Cosby’s sex­ual as­sault trial starts

Co­me­dian could be jailed for sev­eral years if guilty

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - JO­HANNES SCH­MITT-TEGGE Nor­ris­town, Penn­syl­va­nia

AMER­I­CAN co­me­dian Bill Cosby’s lon­gawaited crim­i­nal trial on sex­ual as­sault charges be­gan yes­ter­day.

The 79-year-old faces ag­gra­vated in­de­cent as­sault charges filed after a woman ac­cused him of drug­ging her and sex­u­ally as­sault­ing her at his home in 2004.

Cosby, wear­ing a dark suit, moved slowly and used a walk­ing stick as he en­tered the court in Nor­ris­town, Penn­syl­va­nia.

He walked into the court­room arm-in-arm with an as­sis­tant and his former on-screen daugh­ter, Keisha Knight Pul­liam, who played Rudy Huxtable on The Cosby Show.

“Trust, be­trayal and the in­abil­ity to con­sent – that’s what this case is about,” the as­sis­tant district at­tor­ney for Mont­gomery County, Kris­ten Fe­den, told the court as she opened the trial for the pros­e­cu­tion.

“This is a case about a man – this man – who used his power and his fame and his pre­vi­ously prac­tised method of plac­ing a young woman in an in­ca­pac­i­tated state so that he could sex­u­ally plea­sure him­self,” Fe­den said.

Cosby, who said in a re­cent in­ter­view that he is com­pletely blind, sat be­tween his de­fence lawyers and lis­tened at­ten­tively.

Judge Steven O’Neill re­it­er­ated to the jury that they should con­sider Cosby in­no­cent un­til proved guilty.

Cosby is fac­ing charges brought by An­drea Con­stand, a former em­ployee at Tem­ple Univer­sity in Philadelphia, Cosby’s alma mater.

Seven men and five women be­tween the ages of 20 and 80 com­prise the jury.

If found guilty, Cosby could face sev­eral years in prison.

In 2005, pros­e­cu­tors de­cided not to file crim­i­nal charges against him.

Con­stand then filed a civil suit that was set­tled the fol­low­ing year, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

The crim­i­nal case was re­opened in 2015 after sev­eral dozen other women made sex­ual as­sault ac­cu­sa­tions against Cosby sim­i­lar to Con­stand’s.

Ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments, Cosby ad­mit­ted in a de­po­si­tion taken in the Con­stand case that he had ob­tained Quaaludes, a seda­tive, that he in­tended to give to women he wanted to have sex with.

The trial rep­re­sents a fall from grace for the African-Amer­i­can co­me­dian, who started his ca­reer as a stand-up in the 1960s.

His big break­through came when he was the first black ac­tor to win an Emmy for the TV se­ries I Spy. – dpa

The trial is about trust, be­trayal and the in­abil­ity to con­sent

PIC­TURE: MATT ROURKE / AP

JUS­TICE SEEN TO BE DONE: Bill Cosby ar­rives for his sex­ual as­sault trial at the Mont­gomery County Court­house in Nor­ris­town. The co­me­dian is on trial in the only crim­i­nal case to emerge from the dozens of sex­ual as­sault al­le­ga­tions lodged against him.

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