Cos­by la­wy­ers seek to bar so­me al­le­ged vic­tims from sex as­sault tri­al

Times of Suriname - - ENGELS -

USA - Bill Cos­by’s la­wy­ers will ask a Pen­n­syl­vania sta­te jud­ge to keep mo­re than a do­zen wo­men who ha­ve ac­cu­sed the co­me­di­an of sexu­al as­sault off the wit­ness stand at his tri­al on char­ges of mo­les­ting a for­mer bas­ket­ball coach at his al­ma ma­ter.

Mo­re than 60 wo­men ha­ve ac­cu­sed the 79-year-old en­ter­tai­ner, on­ce be­lo­ved by Ame­ri­cans as the fa­ther on the 1980s TV hit “The Cos­by Show,” of sexu­al­ly as­saul­ting them, of­ten af­ter ply­ing them with drugs and al­co­hol, in a se­ries of at­tacks da­ting back de­ca­des. On­ly one of tho­se claims re­sul­ted in cri­mi­nal char­ges, fi­led against Cos­by days be­fo­re the sta­tu­te of li­mita­ti­ons was to ex­pi­re. And­rea Con­stand, a for­mer bas­ket­ball coach at Cos­by’s al­ma ma­ter Tem­ple Uni­ver­si­ty, said he ga­ve her pills be­fo­re as­saul­ting her at his Pen­n­syl­vania hou­se in 2004. Pro­se­cu­tors ha­ve as­ked Jud­ge Ste­ven O’Neill of Mont­go­mery Coun­ty Court of Com­mon Pleas in Pen­n­syl­vania to al­low 13 other wo­men who ha­ve ac­cu­sed Cos­by of sexu­al as­sault to tes­ti­fy at tri­al in or­der to show he en­ga­ged in a pat­tern of drug­ging and at­tac­king his al­le­ged vic­tims. Cos­by has re­pe­a­ted­ly de­nied any wrong­do­ing. O’Neill has sche­du­led two days of hea­rings on the pro­po­sed wit­nes­ses and other pre-tri­al mat­ters. In ge­ne­ral, pro­se­cu­tors are bar­red from in­tro­du­cing evi­den­ce of a de­fen­dant’s un­re­la­ted pri­or bad acts for fear it could pre­ju­di­ce the ju­ry. On ra­re oc­ca­si­ons, howe­ver, ju­d­ges will al­low it if the evi­den­ce shows a clear and long­stan­ding pat­tern of be­ha­vi­or. Pro­se­cu­tors are al­so see­king per­mis­si­on to use Cos­by’s sworn tes­ti­mo­ny from a de­po­si­ti­on du­ring Con­stand’s 2005 ci­vil law­s­uit, in which Cos­by ack­now­led­ged pro­vi­ding wo­men with me­di­ca­ti­on and then ha­ving con­sen­su­al sexu­al en­coun­ters with them.

Cos­by’s la­wy­ers ha­ve as­ked O’Neill to bar that de­po­si­ti­on from the tri­al, ar­guing that Cos­by on­ly agreed to tes­ti­fy af­ter the then-Mont­go­mery Coun­ty dis­trict at­tor­ney as­su­red him no cri­mi­nal char­ges would be brought.

In ad­di­ti­on, his la­wy­ers ha­ve moun­ted yet ano­ther at­tempt to dis­miss the ca­se, this ti­me ba­sed on the ar­gu­ment that pro­se­cu­tors wai­ted too long to bring the ca­se.

In court pa­pers fi­led last week, his at­tor­neys said Cos­by is le­gal­ly blind and has me­mo­ry pro­blems, pre­ven­ting him from ful­ly par­ti­ci­pa­ting in pre­pa­ring his own de­fen­se. The tri­al is set for Ju­ne. (Reu­ters/pho­to: was­hing­ton­

Mo­re than 60 wo­men ha­ve ac­cu­sed the 79-year-old en­ter­tai­ner.

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