Cosby’s sexual assault trial starts
Comedian could be jailed for several years if guilty
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
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.