Bill Cosby Trial: Prosecutors Ask for 19 Accusers to Be Able to Testify

Request is being made to judge that previously blocked 12 women from testifying against Cosby

bill cosby
Getty Images

Prosecutors in the sexual assault retrial of Bill Cosby have filed a request for 19 of the actor’s accusers to testify in court, according to court documents filed Thursday obtained by TheWrap.

This is the second time that the district attorney in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania  has filed such a request to Judge Steven T. O’Neill, who presided over Cosby’s original trial where he was charged with drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University women’s athletics director Andrea Constand. Prosecutors wanted 13 accusers to testify to show a pattern of predatory behavior, but the defense argued it would prejudice the jury.

O’Neill ruled to only allow one of the accusers testify: Kelly Johnson, who said Cosby lured her to his hotel room in 1996 when she was working for his agent. There, she said Cosby made her swallow a pill, and she woke up hours later half-naked.

Now prosecutors are requesting that Johnson testify again at the retrial, and have argued that 18 more accusers should be allowed to testify on the grounds of the “doctrine of chances,” a legal theory that states an incident is less likely to be an accident the more often it occurs. 

“This evidence is relevant to establish that an individual who, over the course of decades, intentionally intoxicated women in a signature fashion and then sexually assaulted them while they were incapacitated, could not have been mistaken about whether or not Ms. Constand was conscious enough to consent to the sexual contact,” Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele wrote in a motion Thursday.

Constand has accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting her at his mansion in 2004. She said Cosby gave her wine and three pills, causing her to pass out, and then “sexually violated” her. Cosby denies the accusations, but is charged with three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault. The retrial is set to begin on April 2.

Representatives for Cosby declined TheWrap’s request for comment.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.