NORRISTOWN, Pennsylvania—Bill Cosby’s drugging and sexual assault of Andrea Constand was part of a “sadistic sexual script” perfected over four decades, so much so that it became his “signature,” a prosecutor argued in a Pennsylvania courtroom Monday afternoon.
That’s why 19 other women with similar stories should be allowed to testify at Cosby’s trial next month to demonstrate Cosby’s pattern of “prior bad acts,” argued Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Adrienne Jappe.
“He did the same thing to 19 other women in a strikingly similar fashion,” she said. “In other words, the defendant systemically engaged in a signature pattern of providing an intoxicant to his young female victim then sexually assaulting her once she became incapacitated. Each of these victims have come forward with harrowing accounts of drug-facilitated sexual assaults with the defendant.
“All of these instances shared…a signature for purposes of a common plan or scheme,” she said, spending nearly two hours supporting her argument with various court decisions.
Cosby, 80, is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple employee Andrea Constand, now 44, at his Elkins Park, Pennsylvania mansion in January 2004. Last June, Judge Steven O’Neill declared a mistrial after jurors were unable to come to a unanimous decision after 52 hours of deliberations.
The retrial is currently scheduled to begin on Monday, April 2 with jury selection starting on Thursday, March 29. Cosby has denied Constand’s allegations as well as similar ones from more than 60 women.
Cosby was in court Monday for two days of pre-trial motions hearings, less than a week after burying his daughter, Ensa, who died of kidney failure on Feb. 24. The judge gave Cosby his condolences before starting the hearing around 9:20 a.m.
The defense will argue against the 19 women being allowed to testify on Tuesday morning.
Regardless of what both sides say, Judge O’Neill has said he will not issue an immediate ruling on whether the women can testify, saying he was going to start “another exhaustive analysis of this issue.”
For the first trial prosecutors asked the judge to allow 13 other women to testify and he only allowed one, Kelley Johnson. The judge never gave a reason for his decision so the prosecution is trying again, only this time adding six more women to the tally and using a different legal rationale.
If he allows any of them to testify, the defense has said they will ask for a delay to the start of the trial so they can fully investigate the additional accusers.
The hearing began with Steele saying he now opposed Cosby’s new out-of-state attorneys being allowed to represent him in Pennsylvania. Thea lead attorney is Tom Mesereau of California, who previously represented Michael Jackson, Mike Tyson, and Robert Blake.
“We are no longer in agreement in this matter based upon a number of things — their display of reckless disregard for the truth in their filings and false allegations,” he said, referring to the defense accusing his team of lying.
O’Neill reluctantly gave the attorneys permission to represent Cosby.
“I grant the motion … without prejudice, meaning this is an unusual situation,” he said. “There have been serious allegations they’re violating the Pennsylvania code of conduct. You’re on notice.”
Cosby, wearing a tweed jacket and a somber expression, appeared to be paying close attention to the legal issues being argued. Mesereau was present in court but left the legal arguments to his associates.
O’Neill did rule on three other motions, denying two defense motions to dismiss and allowing Cosby’s new out-of-state defense team to represent him in Pennsylvania, despite new objections by Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele.
The first motion was based on insufficient evidence to show the crime occurred within the statute of limitations.
“This is a matter that will be determined by a jury ultimately,” O’Neill said.
The other motion to dismiss was one that alleged prosecutorial misconduct for not adequately investigating the claims of Marguerite Jackson, a Temple University employee who claims Constand told her she was going to falsely accuse a “high-profile person” of sexual assault so she could get money. O’Neill denied that motion without explaining why but said the defense could mention her in their opening arguments. She was barred from testifying at the first trial after Constand said she did not remember her.
The hearing will resume Tuesday at 9 a.m.