Cosby judge puts limit on ac­cusers

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL -

PHILADEL­PHIA — A judge ruled Fri­day that just one of the co­me­dian Bill Cosby’s other ac­cusers can tes­tify at his trial to bol­ster charges he drugged and vi­o­lated a wo­man more than a decade ago.

The 79-year-old TV star is set to go on trial in June, ac­cused of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing for­mer Tem­ple Univer­sity em­ployee An­drea Con­stand at his sub­ur­ban Philadel­phia home in 2004. Pros­e­cu­tors wanted to put 13 more women on the stand to show that his al­leged con­duct was part of a dis­tinct pat­tern of be­hav­ior.

Mont­gomery County Judge Steven O’Neill dis­al­lowed all but one of those women, say­ing in a onepage rul­ing that he care­fully weighed the pos­si­ble value of their tes­ti­mony against the po­ten­tial prej­u­dice to Cosby.

The one wit­ness who can tes­tify says the comic drugged and as­saulted her in 1996 at a Los An­ge­les ho­tel.

Cosby’s lawyer had no im­me­di­ate com­ment, but the actor re-tweeted news stories on the rul­ing, adding the hash­tags “#Keep­Watch­ing” and “#PayAt­ten­tion.”

The judge’s de­ci­sion is a set­back for pros­e­cu­tors and means the case will now rest more heav­ily on Con­stand’s cred­i­bil­ity.

“There is an ob­vi­ous value to the pros­e­cu­tion when you have nu­mer­ous ac­cusers. That alone adds tre­men­dous weight to the case,” said lawyer Joseph McGet­ti­gan, a prose­cu­tor in the Penn State sex-abuse scan­dal.

Cosby, who is free on $ 1 mil­lion bail, could get 10 years in prison if con­victed. He is ex­pected in court again Mon­day to ask that the ju­rors be se­lected from an­other county be­cause of the heavy pub­lic­ity.

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