But Cosby's defense team, led by Los Angeles lawyer Thomas Mesereau Jr., argued none of the other accusers should be permitted to testify, claiming the women's accusations are "ancient" and prejudicial and that such testimony would result in "multiple mini-trials". Jury selection begins March 29. They had asked for 13.
Last June, O'Neil declared a mistrial in the case after the jury remained "deadlocked on all counts" following six days of deliberations. It was cited in a concurring opinion in a case. In a contentious hearing earlier this month, Cosby's defence attorney Becky James contended that allowing a large number of previous accusers to testify would amount to creating a series of "mini-trials" that would unfairly prejudice the jury against Cosby.
She has alleged that Cosby, 80, drugged and sexually assaulted her while she was unconscious at his home in 2004.
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The case represents the first time Cosby, who played Dr. Cliff Huxtable on "The Cosby Show" from 1984 to 1992, has been charged with a crime despite allegations from dozens of women, some of whom have filed civil suits, who claimed they were assaulted by the entertainer.
Judge Steven O'Neill made the ruling this afternoon, offering no reasoning for his decision. On Thursday, March 15, 2018, a judge agreed to let five additional Cosby accusers testify at his April 2 sexual assault retrial, giving prosecutors a chance to portray the man once known as "America's Dad" as a serial predator who made a habit of drugging and molesting women. Only one of the witnesses has been identified publicly - Kelley Johnson, a former assistant to Cosby's personal appearances agent.
"Now it becomes more than just one accuser against Bill Cosby", he said. All of the more than 50 women who have been interviewed by prosecutors came forward after Constand first told her story to authorities in 2005.
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The importance of having other accusers for the prosecution was evident from the get-go last summer. There is no physical evidence of the encounter between Cosby and Constand - she didn't report it until a year later - so the case came down to she-said-he-said.
At least 60 women have publicly accused Cosby of sexual harassment, sexual assault or rape. Cosby has maintained his contact with Constand was consensual.
Another possible witness was a massage therapist who says she met Cosby at a Las Vegas health club between 1982 and 1984, according to court records.
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