Prosecutors said Tuesday they want 13 other women who have accused Bill Cosby of molesting them to testify at his upcoming felony sex assault trial.
The criminal case against the 79-year-old actor involves a single 2004 encounter at his home near Philadelphia with former Temple University employee Andrea Constand. But prosecutors can introduce evidence of other acts, even though no charges were brought in those cases, to show a pattern of behavior. Prosecutors said they reviewed accusations made against Cosby by about 50 women and concluded 13 should be allowed to testify. The defense is expected to oppose such testimony.
Constand told police that Cosby drugged and molested her. Legal experts have said a judge might allow as evidence similar allegations against Cosby in which drugs or alcohol were involved. Lawyers for Cosby disclosed in a letter provided before Tuesday’s hearing that Cosby is blind, and as a result, he may need special accommodations at his trial, Judge Steven O’Neill said.
Cosby was arrested in December after the investigation into the allegation Constand first brought in 2005 was reopened, following disclosure of the entertainer’s testimony in a civil lawsuit and a stream of new allegations by women going back decades. Cosby looked noticeably healthier as he walked into court for the pretrial conference. He clutched an aide’s arm but didn’t have the wooden cane he’s used at past hearings.
Cosby’s eyes appeared less milky and he seemed more engaged and animated as he spoke with his legal team. A trial date has not yet been set, though the judge indicated that he wanted one to start before June.
Lead defense lawyer Brian McMonagle said at the hearing Tuesday that he has other trials booked until June. But the judge said McMonagle might have to review his schedule and look for an earlier date.