Cosby's accusers can describe 'serial
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[November 03, 2016]
By Joseph Ax
NORRISTOWN, Pa. (Reuters) - More than a
dozen women who have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault should be
allowed to testify at his trial about the "serial nature" of his
predatory behavior, a Pennsylvania prosecutor argued in court on
Cosby, 79, who once enjoyed immense popularity as a family-friendly
entertainer, is charged with drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea
Constand, a former basketball coach at his alma mater, Temple
University, in Pennsylvania in 2004.
While Constand's allegation is the only one to lead to criminal charges,
Cosby faces assault allegations going back decades from about 60 women.
Cosby has denied any wrongdoing.
The judge in the Constand case listened to heated arguments at the end
of a two-day hearing to determine the scope of evidence that prosecutors
can introduce at Cosby's criminal trial next year.
Judge Steven O'Neill is not expected to rule on whether to allow 13
other accusers to testify about unrelated incidents until another
two-day hearing in December. The judge will likely decide two other
issues, however, in the coming weeks.
Cosby's lawyers have asked O'Neill to dismiss the case because of the
11-year delay between the incident and his arrest in 2015. They have
argued that because Cosby is now legally blind, he is unable to
participate fully in his defense.
Cosby is also seeking to bar prosecutors from using sworn testimony he
gave during Constand's civil case in 2005, when he described giving
women Quaaludes before engaging in sexual acts.
But it was the prospect of the prosecution calling other women as
witnesses that prompted the most combative exchange.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said the accusers would
offer proof of "the serial nature of the defendant's decades-long
patterns of sexual assault," including his use of sedatives and his
method of establishing himself as a trusted mentor.
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Comedian and actor Bill Cosby (R) arrives at the Montgomery County
courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S. November 1, 2016. Judge
Steven T. O'Neill will begin hearing arguments from lawyers for Bill
Cosby and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, prosecutors in a key
pretrial hearing involving Cosby's criminal sexual assault case.
Steele also accused defense lawyers of including several accusers'
names in a court filing as a way of "intimidating" them.
An angry Brian McMonagle, Cosby's lead lawyer, responded in a rising
voice, "They want to produce witnesses to attack a man's liberty on
an issue they're not involved in, and you want to point fingers and
say we don't have the right to identify them?"
The judge said on Wednesday that the trial could take place sooner
than the June date he had previously set aside.
After the hearing, Cosby smiled and nodded when a reporter asked how
he was feeling. He walked slowly holding a cane and with the help of
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