Joined by TV co-star, Cosby arrives for sex assault trial
The 79-year-old actor walked confidently with a thin wooden cane, showing less hesitation than he displayed during pretrial appearances ahead of the start of the trial to determine whether he drugged and sexually assaulted Andrea Constand at his home in 2004, as she has charged.
Cosby smiled and nodded to journalists as he arrived at the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas in Norristown, Pennsylvania, outside Philadelphia. Keshia Knight Pulliam, who played pigtailed Rudy Huxtable on the hit “The Cosby Show” held the arm of the man who played her father Heathcliff Huxtable.
Dozens of women have come forward over the past few years to accuse Cosby of sexually assaulting them in a string of alleged incidents dating back to the 1960s. All of the accusations except Constand’s were too old to be subject to criminal prosecution.
Constand, a former basketball player at Temple University, Cosby’s alma mater, will appear as the prosecution’s key witness during the trial, which is expected to last two weeks.
Cosby has denied assaulting anyone, saying the encounters with Constand and others were consensual.
It was Constand’s civil lawsuit that eventually led the Montgomery County district attorney’s office to prosecute Cosby in 2015. She filed the lawsuit in 2005, weeks after that office had declined to bring charges.
In a deposition that had been unsealed, Cosby acknowledged he had obtained Quaaludes, a sedative, to give to young women with whom he wanted to have sex. A federal judge released parts of the deposition in 2015, prompting prosecutors to reopen the case.
Constand has told investigators she viewed Cosby, once a beloved entertainer known for his family-friendly brand of comedy, as a mentor and that he plied her with wine and unidentified pills, leaving her unable to resist his sexual advances.
Defense lawyers will aim to undermine Constand’s credibility, asking why she failed to report the incident for a year and could not recall details like the month when it occurred.
Prosecutors will also call a second accuser, whose name is not yet public, to bolster Constand’s testimony. The woman, known as Kacey, says Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in 1996. –Reuters