The Pennsylvania judge presiding over Bill Cosby’s criminal case and trial for sexual assault gave the defense a small pretrial victory Friday and made things a bit more difficult for the prosecution when he ruled that 12 of the 13 women the state planned to call as witnesses to the comedian’s past alleged sexual misconduct cannot appear at his trial.
Judge Steven T. O’Neill’s ruling limits the ability of the prosecution to demonstrate a long-standing pattern of behavior by Cosby, but as the Washington Post reports, it does not completely cut off their options: O’Neill said that one woman, a former assistant to one of Cosby’s agents, identified as Victim No. 6, may testify.
Cosby’s criminal trial is set to begin in June in Norristown, Pa. He faces felony charges for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his Philadelphia home in 2004.
From the Post:
The woman whom prosecutors were cleared to call as a witness in the case alleges that she first met Cosby in 1990 when she was 29, according to court documents. She says Cosby gave her career advice and alleges that he invited her to his hotel and his home, and once she brought along her children.
Prosecutors say Cosby used his fame to gain her trust and invited her to his bungalow in 1996. He gave her red wine and a white pill, documents filed by prosecutors state.
When she resisted taking it, the documents state, Cosby said: “Would I give you anything to hurt you?” Cosby, according to prosecutors, made sure she ingested the pill, demanding she “open her mouth and lift her tongue.”
The woman slipped in and out of consciousness, the documents state. She remembers her breasts and vagina being exposed, and says that Cosby used her hand to masturbate him.
The Post reports that the “Victim Six” allegations in court documents match those of a woman who accused Cosby of sexual assault at a January 2015 news conference. She is represented by attorney Gloria Allred, who also represents many of the other women whom prosecutors hoped to call as witnesses. On Friday, Allred said that “even though they will not be able to testify in this case, they have been very important in the effort to seek justice.”
Montgomery County, Pa., District Attorney Kevin R. Steele said that Victim No. 6’s testimony will be key to letting jurors “assess evidence that is relevant to establishing a common plan, scheme and design of sexual abuse.”
Bill Cosby has repeatedly denied sexually assaulting women.
Read more at the Washington Post.