Disgraced funnyman Bill Cosby, who is being retried in a bombshell rape case on charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted Andrea Constrand, may be facing 19 other accusers if prosecutors have their way.
The New York Times reports that the testimony, if allowed, would support Constand’s allegations that Cosby was complicit in a long standing series of sexual assaults, prosecutors says.
The first trial, as CrimeOnline reported, ended in a hung jury which necessitated the need for a new trial. In the initial trial, the judge permitted only one other Cosby accuser, Kelly Johnson, to testify before jurors. Prosecutors had sought to enlist the aid of 13 other accusers to establish a pattern of sexual assault.
The same magistrate, Judge Stephen T. O’Neill, who is also presiding over the retrial, never elaborated on his reasoning to allow only one other accuser to testify.
But now, NBC reports that in the midst of a national uproar over sexual assault, the prosecutors have asked the judge to allow 19 alleged victims to make their statements in court.
In a court motion presented to the judge, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele wrote: “This evidence is relevant 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 contact.”
In the previous trial, Constand testified that Cosby sexually assaulted her after she allegedly swallowed a large pill he gave her.
“In my head, I was trying to get my hands to move or my legs to move, but I was frozen,” Constand told jurors.
“I wasn’t able to fight in any way.”
If the 19 other accusers are allowed to testify, Cosby would still only be answering during the trial to Constand’s allegations, and it would not change the charges against him.
Cosby’s defense attorneys maintain his innocence, claiming the sex between the comedian and the former Temple University employee was consensual in nature.
Judge O’Neill’s ruling on the prosecution’s request is expected in the next few weeks. The retrial is docketed for April 2, 2018 in Norristown, Pennsylvania.
[Feature image: Associated Press/Bill Cosby]