A day after Hollywood's first Oscars of the #MeToo era, Bill Cosby will be in court to try to stop some of his dozens of accusers from testifying at his April 2 sexual assault retrial. Cosby's retooled defense team, led by former Michael Jackson lawyer Tom Mesereau, is due to clash with prosecutors over the potential witnesses at a pretrial hearing. Cosby walked into the courthouse in suburban Philadelphia Monday morning on the arm of his spokesman, per the AP. Judge Steven O'Neill spoke briefly from the bench before adjourning into chambers for a conference with prosecutors and Cosby's lawyers. O'Neill outlined the matters that need to be resolved, including whether as many as 19 women can testify against Cosby and if his lawyers can discuss his civil settlement with accuser Andrea Constand.
Prosecutors have raised the prospect of calling as many as 19 women to the witness stand, including model Janice Dickinson, in an attempt to show that an alleged 2004 assault that led to Cosby's only criminal charges was actually part of a five-decade pattern of him drugging and harming women. Jurors did not have that context when they ended Cosby's first trial last year in a deadlock; just one other accuser was allowed to testify at that trial. Cosby's lawyers are urging O'Neill to again limit the number of accusers allowed to testify on grounds that some of the women's allegations date to the 1960s and are "virtually impossible to defend against" and that, the lawyers say, their accusations are largely unsubstantiated and are not enough to meet the strict legal standard for allowing prosecutors to present evidence of a defendant's prior bad conduct. (Read more Bill Cosby stories.)