Published: Fri, March 16, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Merle Christensen

Pennsylvania Judge Allows Five More Accusers to Testify at Bill Cosby Retrial

Pennsylvania Judge Allows Five More Accusers to Testify at Bill Cosby Retrial

A judge gave prosecutors a victory Thursday after allowing five more women to testify in the Bill Cosby sexual assault trial next month, the Associated Press reports.

Judge Steven O'Neill said prosecutors can choose the witnesses from a group of eight women whose allegations date as far back as 1982.

Prosecutors had put forward 19 accusers who they wanted to take part in the trial.

The women include model Janice Dickinson.

Cosby's retooled legal team, led by former Michael Jackson lawyer Tom Mesereau, went to court last week to block any additional accusers from testifying.

Prosecutors had asked to call 19 additional women to testify against the entertainer about experiences similar to Constand's.

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All five have accused the 80-year-old actor of sexual misconduct and their testimony will be used against the comedian as he faces charges for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting a former Temple University employee at his home in Philadelphia in 2004. His retrial is scheduled to begin on March 29, and opening arguments are slated for April 2.

O'Neill only allowed one accuser other than the central accuser, Andrea Constand, to testify at Cosby's first trial, which was ruled a mistrial in June 2017. But prosecutors have focused on women whose allegations follow a pattern of mentorship, followed by drugging and sexual assault.

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 in Los Angeles. A mistrial was declared last June after jurors said they were deadlocked following more than 50 hours of deliberation on three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault.

"It just shows how desperate they are and that this is a very weak case", Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt said after O'Neill's ruling. Judge O'Neill has already ruled against Cosby on a number of his pre-trial motions to dismiss the case.

The other four alleged accusers who the judge is allowing to testify during the retrial are among six who are being proffered to the court by prosecutors for the first time.

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