On Monday (Mar. 5), Bill Cosby will head into court with a team lead by Tom Mesereau, a former attorney for Michael Jackson, to request that the number of women permitted to testify be lessened after last year’s hung jury. The team, including Cosby, will take the request to the same judge from last year’s trial, Steven O’Neill. Their argument is that the earliest allegations date back to the 1960s and are “virtually impossible to defend against,” according to the Associated Press.
The comedian was the first black actor to star in a TV drama with his leading role as a detective in I Spy back in the '60s. Cosby’s role earned him three Emmys. Then, almost two decades later, he became the beloved and well-known paternal figure in The Cosby Show as Cliff Huxtable. His status as a public figure was undoubtedly drawn from the character that everyone thought they knew and loved from a sitcom. Cosby’s image seemed indestructible, his true disposition assumed.
But the 2005 lawsuit, Andrea Constand v. William H. Cosby, Jr. would alter everything, beginning over a decade of accusations of sexual assault and harassment. Still, that case (centered around a night in 2004), ended with an undisclosed cash settlement a year later. The case later acted as the onset of the revelation of a five-decade pattern of the same conduct with multiple women.
After the case, Cosby, now 80, was then accused of having drugged multiple women. Several came forth, testifying against Cosby in 2017. But it was deemed a mistrial as jurors couldn’t settle on a verdict and a retrial was set for April 2 [of 2018]. Though Cosby was free to go on $1 million bail, he went into hiding. Cosby was last seen in Philadelphia this past January, performing for the first time in over two years. In a possible attempt to repair his public persona, the appearance was only a shock in timing as there have been a few other ventures to rebuild Cosby's image.
The retrial is weeks away but the pretrial hearing will precede it. Cosby's lawyers and spokesperson will argue that the other accusers’ accusations aren’t supported by enough evidence to meet the legal standard necessary for prosecutors to properly defend Cosby. The request is allegedly being set forth in order to avoid another mistrial.
A 2015 deposition requested by the Associated Press contains Cosby's admission of having used prescribed, and now outlawed, quaaludes in the 1970s as sedatives on women he wanted to have sex with.
The pretrial is untimely, occurring only 10 days after the death of Cosby’s daughter, Ensa, who died of kidney disease. But lawyers have not requested to delay any trials, AP News reports.
Jury selection will begin on March 29.