HARRISBURG, Pa. (Reuters) – Defence attorneys at Invoice Cosby’s retrial on sexual assault fees can name a witness they are saying will undermine his accuser’s credibility, a Pennsylvania decide stated on Tuesday, reversing his ruling that barred the identical witness from the primary trial of the comic as soon as referred to as “America’s Dad.”
The ruling got here on the second day of jury choice for the second trial the place the 80-year-old entertainer will face fees that he sexually assaulted a staffer greater than a decade in the past at his alma mater, Temple College in Philadelphia. His first trial on these fees final yr led to a hung jury.
Montgomery County Decide Steven O’Neill additionally stated defence attorneys may introduce proof that Cosby made a payout to accuser Andrea Constand to settle the lawsuit she filed in opposition to him in 2005. Particulars of that settlement weren’t aired throughout the first trial and have remained secret for greater than a decade.
Collectively, the 2 rulings will bolster the defence’s technique to painting Constand as a liar who invented the incident to extort cash from the comic finest identified for his rose as Cliff Huxtable, the smart and witty dad on the long-running hit sitcom “The Cosby Present.”
The trial is scheduled to start with opening statements on April 9 within the Norristown, Pennsylvania courtroom.
Cosby is charged with drugging and sexually assaulting Constand at his dwelling in suburban Philadelphia greater than 14 years in the past. The primary trial finish in a mistrial final June when the jury couldn’t attain a verdict.
Cosby has denied allegations from greater than 50 ladies that he sexually assaulted them. Constand’s accusations are the one ones latest sufficient to permit for prison prosecution.
Defence attorneys had requested O’Neill to allow Jackson to testify that Constand, a former co-worker, as soon as instructed her she may revenue by accusing a well-known particular person of sexual assault.
Throughout the first trial, O’Neill barred Jackson from taking the stand as a rebuttal witness, ruling the statements had been rumour. However he modified his thoughts following each written submissions and oral arguments at pretrial hearings final week.
The prosecution’s case can even unfold in a different way this time. O’Neill has granted them permission to name 5 different Cosby accusers over defence objections. Within the first trial, they may solely name one.
These witnesses are anticipated to testify about comparable alleged sexual assaults as prosecutors attempt to present that Cosby engaged in a sample of misconduct.
Reporting by David DeKok, extra reporting by Joseph Ax; Writing by Daniel Trotta; Enhancing by David Gregorio