Bill Cosby won a favorable pre-trial court ruling related to the sexual assault case against him in Philadelphia, where a jury trial is scheduled for June.
On Friday, Judge Steven T. Oneill of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania denied the motion of the prosecutors to call all the 13 accusers during the jury trial. He only allowed one accuser together with the complainant in the lawsuit.
In his ruling, Judge O’Neill wrote that he made the decision to permit only one accuser to testify in the trial after conducting a “sedulous analysis of the
proposed evidence under both the common plan, scheme and design and absence of mistake exceptions and a careful balancing of the probative value of the other acts of evidence and prejudice to the defendant.
The prosecutors will be able to present the testimony of the accuser, who was identified as “Kacey” by the media and “prior Alleged Victim Six” in court documents, regarding Cosby’s “prior bad acts.”
Cosby faces three counts of aggravated sexual assault
Cosby is facing three counts of aggravated sexual assault charges connected to the 2005 allegations by Andrea Constand, a Canadian and former employee at Temple University. She alleged that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her. Cosby argued that his encounter with her was consensual and pleaded not guilty.
Bruce Castor, the former District Attorney of Montgomery County, did not file criminal charges against Cosby in 2005 because the evidence against him was not enough. Constand filed a civil case against the comedian and eventually settled for an undisclosed amount and a confidentiality agreement in 2006.
In December 2015, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele filed the sexual assault charges against Cosby based on his belief that he has new evidence against him. Cosby’s legal team asked the court to throw pieces of key evidence in the case citing the reason that their client has rights against self-incrimination. Steele’s new evidence against the comedian included his deposition in the 2005 civil case filed by Constand and the transcript of the secretly recorded telephone conversation between Cosby and Constand’s mother.
Comments about the ruling
In a statement, Steele said the court’s decision on Friday “is important as the jury will now be allowed to assess evidence that is relevant to establishing a common plan, scheme and design of sexual abuse.”
Stuart Slotnick, a criminal defense attorney in Philadelphia, told USA Today that the Judge O’Neill’s ruling is a “huge win for Cosby.”
“The prosecution wanted to parade in an army of witnesses saying that what happened to (Constand) happened to me and thereby infer that he must have committed a crime in (the Constand) case. They want to gloss over the major deficiencies in the complainant’s story by focusing on another case.When they bring in only one person, it’s much easier for the defense to say this is a copycat allegation, he’s a celebrity target of this kind of thing,” said Slotnick.
On the other hand, Dennis McAndrews, a former prosecutor said, “It’s a mixed decision. The positive for the defense is that they only have to test the credibility of two people as opposed to a what I consider a critical mass of four or more.”
He added, “Once you get four or more, the optics and the psychology of attacking that many people becomes dramatically different — it’s much easier for a jury to disbelieve two rather than four or more.”
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