This ruling in Bill Cosby’s retrial could undermine prosecutors’ main witness
Bill Cosby’s defense team will be allowed to seek testimony from a woman whose statements may undermine prosecutors’ key witness in the comedian’s upcoming retrial on charges of aggravated indecent assault.
Judge Steven T. O’Neill of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, ruled Tuesday in pre-trial motions that Cosby’s defense can call to the stand Marguerite Jackson, who claims Andrea Constand once said she could lie about being sexually assaulted by a celebrity, then collect a lot of money.
Constand, the former director of operations for Temple University’s women’s basketball team, is the main witness in the state’s criminal case against Cosby. She alleges Cosby drugged her and then assaulted her in 2004 at his home outside Philadelphia.
Cosby, 80, has pleaded not guilty to all three counts of aggravated indecent assault related to that incident. Opening statements in his retrial on those charges are scheduled for April 9.
Jackson, a Temple University employee, did not testify at Cosby’s first trial, which ended last year ended in a hung jury and a mistrial.
Cosby’s new team of attorneys, led by Tom Mesereau, have signaled it will take a more aggressive tack against Constand in his retrial. In pre-trial motions, Mesereau said he wanted to include evidence that would show “just how greedy this person was” in 2006, when Constand and Cosby settled a civil lawsuit.
O’Neill ruled Tuesday that the civil settlement between Cosby and Constand, including the dollar amount reached, are admissible in court. Their negotiations as part of that lawsuit are not admissible, however.
Jury selection continues
The rulings came a day after jury selection began in Cosby’s retrial. By late Tuesday morning, three jurors had been selected.
On Monday, prosecutors and defense attorneys questioned 120 people about what they knew about the case, their views on the #MeToo movement and celebrity sexual assaults, and whether they could remain impartial.
All but 10 potential jurors knew some facts of the case, and all but one had heard about the #MeToo movement and celebrity sexual assaults.
The trial is expected to last a month, O’Neill said, and jurors will be sequestered in a hotel.