Prosecutors want more accusers to testify at Cosby retrial

HOUSTON • Let more accusers have their day in court. As Bill Cosby goes back to court in April for his retrial on sexual assault charges, prosecutors want the judge to allow more testimonies to be aired.

Though more than 50 women have accused Cosby, 80, once among America's most beloved entertainers, of drugging and sexually assaulting them, only two were permitted to tell their stories in a Pennsylvania court in the first trial.

It ended last summer with a hung jury.

Prosecutors on Thursday asked the judge handling the case to reconsider his limits on such testimonies in the hope that the accounts of 19 more women would help support the accusations by Ms Andrea Constand. The former Temple University staff member said Cosby assaulted her in 2004.

There has long been a debate on just how much judges are, or should be, swayed by public opinion.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer of the US Supreme Court has said that listening to public opinion is "a road to perdition" for judges.

In some ways, Cosby paved the way for the #metoo moment as he battled accusations for years that he had hidden a history of mistreating women behind his comforting pose as America's Dad.

A spokesman for Cosby declined to comment on the motion filed on Thursday and any possible effect the #metoo moment may have on the trial.

But it is clear that his lawyers will argue strenuously, as they did last time, against the inclusion of additional accusers - this time probably suggesting that the potential prejudicial effect has only worsened with the recent downfall of so many men.

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 20, 2018, with the headline 'Prosecutors want more accusers to testify at Cosby retrial'. Print Edition | Subscribe