Pennsylvania Judge Allows Five More Accusers to Testify at Bill Cosby Retrial

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Steele and the prosecution team wanted to call 19 other accusers, some of the five-dozen women who have come forward since October 2014 to accuse Cosby of drugging and/or sexually assaulting them in episodes dating back to the mid-1960s. They argued prosecutors were looking to bolster a weak case with "ancient allegations" that would confuse and distract jurors in the #MeToo era.

Constand, a former Temple University basketball official, says Cosby drugged and molested her at his home in Montgomery County outside Philadelphia in 2004.

The doctrine played a small role in a Pennsylvania court ruling that was issued past year after O'Neill delivered his decision on previous accusers for the first trial. A mistrial was declared last June after jurors said they were deadlocked following more than 50 hours of deliberation on three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault.

The prosecution said no, that the number establishes a pattern of signature assaults that could not be mistaken as consent.

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During arguments in a pre-trial motion March 5, the judge asked the prosecution if 19 past accusers would be unfairly prejudicial.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin on March 29.

Kelly Johnson, who worked for Cosby's agent, testified Cosby knocked her out with a pill during a 1996 meeting at the Bel-Air Hotel in Los Angeles.

Attorneys for Cosby, who is now 80, have said the women's memories are tainted at best and asked the judge to bar them from testifying.

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Johnson also is included in the list of other accusers that prosecutors can call to testify at the upcoming retrial.

For prosecutors, having several accusers tell similar stories about Cosby would give them a chance to smooth over issues with Constand's credibility and insulate her from attacks from his lawyers, who've already indicated they're likely to paint her as a money-grubbing liar.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand and Dickinson have done.

"Now it becomes more than just one accuser against Bill Cosby", he said. Constand has testified that Cosby took a special interest in assisting her career.

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