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Judge Denies Bill Cosby’s Request To Delay His Criminal Retrial

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PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania judge on Monday denied the latest request by Bill Cosby to delay his upcoming sexual assault retrial by 90 days.

Lawyers for the entertainer had argued that they needed more time to prepare for trial because the court last week agreed that five women, in addition to the chief complainant, Andrea Constand, would be allowed to testify against Cosby

But Judge Stephen T. O’Neill of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas said Monday that Cosby must stand trial starting in early April, as previously scheduled.

The five women have all accused Mr. Cosby of assaulting them. Cosby is not being tried on charges relating to their accounts. But prosecutors had asked that their testimony be allowed in because, they said, it supports Ms. Constand’s complaint that the entertainer drugged and sexually assaulted her at his home outside Philadelphia in 2004.

During Cosby’s first trial in the matter, the judge only allowed one additional accuser to testify.

Cosby’s lawyers argued that, as it stands now, they would have only 14 days to prepare to cross-examine the women.

The testimony of the five women is being admitted under Pennsylvania’s “prior bad acts” law which allows other witnesses to testify at a trial if their experiences help establish a pattern of behavior.

Cosby, 80, is accused of aggravated indecent assault in connection with the encounter with Ms. Constand, a former Temple University employee. Mr. Cosby says the sexual contact was consensual.

The accounts of the women who are scheduled to testify describe incidents that they say occured decades ago. Mr. Cosby’s lawyers said that, to rebut the accusations, they will be forced to seek documents and witnesses from decades ago since the women will not meet with them before trial. That sort of research “is proving an impossible task,” the defense team said in court papers.

But the judge reminded counsel that they had been told in February to prepare for the retrial in early April “regardless of the status of this court’s rulings on any pretrial motions.”

The trial is now set to begin after jury selection, which will start on April 2.

nytimes.com

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