Judge Makes 'Pivotal' Ruling Ahead of Bill Cosby Trial
Only one other accuser will testify
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 24, 2017 9:27 AM CST
In this Dec. 14, 2016, file photo, Bill Cosby departs after a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
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(Newser) – A judge will let only one other accuser testify at Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial to bolster charges that the actor drugged and molested a woman at his estate near Philadelphia. The pivotal ruling Friday by a Pennsylvania judge means prosecutors cannot call 12 other women to try to show that the 79-year-old comedian has a history of similar "bad acts." Cosby is set to go on trial in June over the 2005 complaint by former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, who told police Cosby gave her three unmarked pills and then molested her as she drifted in and out of consciousness in early 2004. Prosecutors reopened the case in 2015 after newly released court documents showed Cosby admitting he gave drugs and alcohol to young women before sex over a 50-year period, reports the AP.

Prosecutors had asked the judge to let 13 other women testify, a list they developed after reviewing claims by nearly 50 of the accusers. The defense objected, saying the string of old "casting couch" claims are not unique to Cosby and therefore not part of "signature" behavior. Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill said he carefully weighed the witnesses' value in providing relevant testimony versus the potential prejudice to Cosby. The one witness who can testify worked for one of Cosby's agents and says she had known the entertainer for six years when he invited her to lunch at his bungalow at the Bel Air Hotel in 1966. She said he was in a robe when she arrived and offered her wine and a pill that she consumed after he reassured her it was safe. She said she then recalls him sexually assaulting her on his bed. Cosby has pleaded not guilty.

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