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Cosby lawyers: Delay trial if other accusers get to testify

Bill Cosby Trial
Bill Cosby departs from the Montgomery County Courthouse during his sexual assault trial in Norristown, Pa., Wednesday, June 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bill Cosby’s lawyers said Tuesday that they would seek to delay his April 2 sexual assault retrial if some of his other accusers are given a chance to testify.

The 80-year-old entertainer’s legal team raised the prospect of postponing the retrial in court papers that opposed a prosecution bid to let jurors hear from up to 19 other women.

Cosby’s lawyers argued they would need extra time to look into the women’s allegations if any of them were permitted to testify.

Some of the allegations date to the 1960s, the lawyers wrote, and are “virtually impossible to defend against” now that memories have faded, some witnesses are dead and evidence is long gone.

“Developing a defense to any of these outdated claims will require unusual amounts of investigative effort that cannot be completed by the present trial date,” the lawyers wrote.

»FBI ‘cannot confirm nor deny’ if Cosby prosecutor Kevin Steele probed in federal investigation.

Judge Steven O’Neill is expected to rule next month on whether any of the accusers will be allowed to testify at the second trial. Jury selection is slated to begin March 29.

Prosecutors are counting on other accusers testifying to show that an alleged assault in 2004 that led to Cosby’s only criminal charges was part of a five-decade pattern of drugging and harming women.

Cosby has pleaded not guilty to charges he drugged and molested former Temple University women’s basketball official Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home. He remains free on bail.

Prosecutors tried to call as many as 13 other accusers as witnesses at Cosby’s first trial, which ended in a deadlock last June, but O’Neill allowed only one to take the stand.

Kelly Johnson, who worked for Cosby’s agent, testified Cosby knocked her out with a pill during a 1996 meeting at the Bel-Air Hotel. She said she woke up to find her dress disheveled, her breasts exposed and Cosby forcing her to touch his genitals.

For Cosby’s retrial, prosecutors have added six women to the potential witness list, including model Janice Dickinson and a performer who opened for Cosby in Denver in the early 1980s.

Cosby’s lawyers argued that the other accusers’ largely unsubstantiated accusations aren’t enough to meet the strict legal standard for letting prosecutors present evidence of a defendant’s prior bad conduct.

They argued that allowing the women to take the witness stand would force the jury make separate determinations about whether Cosby harmed them, devolving his retrial into a series of mini-trials.

None of the other accusers have pressed criminal charges against Cosby, attorney Gloria Allred told CNN early last year that it was due to the fact that they didn’t want any publicity.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand, Johnson and Dickinson have done.

1 COMMENT

  1. This is another fake news article by the Associated Press, which has been writing vicious racist and sexist news articles against Dr. Cosby since Dr. Cosby was falsely accused by ex-professional basketball player, Canadian Andrea Constand.

    Cosby’s attorneys carefully argued that by law all 19 witnesses demanded by prosecutor Kevin Steele are excluded because the prior bad acts law demands that the prior bad acts be committed near the time of the criminal action that is being tried. The intention of the law was to allow other well attested acts within a few months or a year or two of the alleged crime to be allowed as evidence in order to show a clear pattern of behavior. It was never intended to allow actions alleged to have happened ten, twenty, thirty and forty year before to be brought in to wrongly influence the jury. That would place anybody who ever was accused or convicted of a crime at risk for the rest of their life of being accused of a similar crime and going to jail for it without any real evidence.

    Also the law demands that prior bad acts witnesses be describing identical crimes that describe a specific, detailed and unmistakable modus operandi. In this case, all the alleged witnesses all describe different modus operandi between each other and the accuser in this case. For example, you can’t use a witness to say they saw the accused selling marijuana when the accused is on trial for selling cocaine. This would only prejudice the jury and get them to convict the person not because there was any evidence that they sold cocaine, but only because they believed the person had a bad character.
    No fair and reasonable judge would ever let in such testimony.

    Cosby’s lawyers noted the judge acted illegally by letting in prior acts witness Heidi Johnson at the first trial. They noted that Cosby was forced to undergo two trials, one of which was for an alleged crime that was outside the statute of limitations. This was clearly illegal by the laws of Pennsylvania and the laws of the United States of America.

    Finally, the defense said that if the judge did allow in any of the 19 witnesses, (besides being a violation of Dr. Cosby’s fundamental legal rights and a serious violation of law and due process) the new defense attorneys would need more time to investigate the person and the persons that the judge allowed. This would also delay the trial and be another violation of Dr. Cosby’s sixth amendment right to a speedy trial, which has been violated already.

    Instead of describing what the defense team actually said in their motion opposing all 19 prior bad acts witnesses, the AP article simply takes the last point that the Defense team made out of context and makes it seem that they were threatening to delay the trial, which is quite false.

    In 2015 after the Associated Press sued in court to get the private testimony of Dr. Cosby made public, they published another fake news article claiming that Dr. Cosby had admitted “drugging” women in his testimony. As this article was repeated on thousands of websites around the world, hundreds of millions of people got the false idea that Cosby had confessed to drugging women. The Associated Press never apologized for this obvious and vicious crime and slander against Dr. Cosby. They have published about 100 more usually biased and slanted articles in the two and a half years since then.

    Because of their unprofessional behavior towards Dr. Cosby over the last 15 years, I am now skeptical of every AP article I read.

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