Other Accusers Can Testify at Bill Cosby's Retrial



The decision represents a dramatic shift with the potential to completely reshape the case, which is set to begin with jury selection on March 29 and testimony on April 2.

The retrial is now scheduled to begin April 2, but Cosby's lawyers have said they would seek to delay proceedings if the judge allowed other accusers the chance to testify. They had asked for 13. That trial ended in a hung jury. It was cited in a concurring opinion in a case.

Cosby's lawyers fought the move in court earlier this month.

Constand, a former Temple University basketball official, says Cosby drugged and molested her at his home in Montgomery County outside Philadelphia in 2004.

O'Neill's two-page ruling provided scant information about his reasoning. A judge ruled on March 15 to allow five of Cosby's other accusers to testify at his upcoming retrial on April 2.

"What are the chances that these 19 women get sexually assaulted and don't report until decades later when they hear about (Constand)?" attorney Becky James asked.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand and Dickinson have done. Judge O'Neill has already ruled against Cosby on a number of his pre-trial motions to dismiss the case. They wanted to call as many as 19 women to the stand.

Another possible witness is described a successful model who Cosby flew to Lake Tahoe in 1982, ostensibly to offer career guidance.

Johnson, 55, accused Cosby of engaging in sexual misconduct with her in 1996.

Prosecutors argued the testimony of the other accusers is relevant "to establish a common plan, scheme or design" for the jury and "to establish that an individual, who over the course of decades intentionally intoxicated women in a signature fashion and then sexually assaulted them while they were incapacitated, could not have been mistaken about whether or not Ms. Constand was conscious enough to consent to the sexual abuse". Constand has testified that Cosby took a special interest in assisting her career.

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