Cosby lawyer to likely ask for trial to be moved

Written by The Associated Press | Sep 6, 2016 4:24 PM

Bill Cosby arrives for a pretrial hearing in his criminal sex-assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Thursday, July 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Prosecutors say 13 women accusing Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting them over a four-decade span are willing to testify at his sex assault trial in Pennsylvania.

They include aspiring actresses, a flight attendant, a waitress and a masseuse who say Cosby used his celebrity to win their trust before drugging and assaulting them.

Prosecutors asked a judge Tuesday to allow the women to testify as witnesses to a pattern of criminal behavior they say began in 1964.

They're among 50 women who have come forward with allegations against the 79-year-old entertainer.

Cosby has only been charged criminally in the case in Pennsylvania involving Andrea Constand, who says Cosby molested her in 2004.

A judge hasn't yet ruled on whether the women will be allowed to testify.

An earlier story is below.

A Pennsylvania judge says he wants Bill Cosby's felony sexual assault case to go to trial no later than June 5.

Lead defense lawyer Brian McMonagle of Philadelphia says he has other trials scheduled through the spring.

Prosecutors say they hope to have 13 Cosby accusers testify at the trial.

The accusers say they were intoxicated by drugs or alcohol that Cosby gave them before they were sexually assaulted.

Cosby is charged with drugging and molesting Andrea Constand in 2004 at his Philadelphia-area home.

Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill did not rule Tuesday on whether the other accusers could testify or whether prosecutors could use Cosby's deposition or a phone call recorded by Constand's mother in 2005.

The judge says he'll rule on the phone call within a week.

An earlier story is below.

(Philadelphia) -- Bill Cosby's lawyers say they'll likely ask for his trial to be moved from the suburban Philadelphia county where his sexual assault case became a central issue in last year's election.

Lawyer Brian McMonagle said Tuesday that he's worried Cosby won't get a fair trial in Montgomery County. He says District Attorney Kevin Steele's campaign painted the 79-year-old entertainer as a sexual predator.

McMonagle says he expects to file motions asking either for a change of venue or for a jury that's picked from another county.

Prosecutors charged Cosby last December with drugging and assaulting a woman at his Montgomery County home in 2004.

The judge notes that Cosby's case has made worldwide headlines, making it hard to find prospective jurors who haven't heard details of the accusations.

Special accommodations possible 

Judge O'Neill says Cosby is blind and might need special accommodations at his upcoming sexual assault trial. The judge says Cosby's lawyer disclosed the 79-year-old comedian's condition in a letter before Tuesday's pretrial conference.

Cosby looked noticeably healthier as he walked into court for the pretrial conference. He clutched an aide's arm but didn't have the wooden cane he's used at past hearings. Cosby's eyes appeared less milky and he seemed more engaged and animated as he spoke with his legal team.

Cosby's lawyers are asking that prosecutors not be allowed to use a telephone conversation recorded by his accuser's mother and other evidence at his trial.

Judge wants June trial date

The judge is indicating that he wants a trial to start before June.

Lead defense lawyer Brian McMonagle said at a hearing Tuesday that he has other trials booked until June.

But Montgomery County Judge O'Neill says McMonagle might have to review his schedule and look for an earlier date.

Cosby has been fighting the charges since his Dec. 30 arrest.

The case involves a 2004 encounter with a Temple University employee who says she was drugged and molested.

Prosecutors reopened the case amid new evidence and arrested Cosby days before the 12-year statute of limitations expired.

13 accusers may testify 

Prosecutors preparing for the trial hope to paint the comedian as a serial offender by having 13 other accusers testify.

The criminal case against the 79-year-old actor involves a single 2004 encounter at his home with former Temple University employee Andrea Constand.

Prosecutors can introduce similar uncharged acts to try to show a pattern of behavior.

Montgomery County prosecutors at a hearing Tuesday say they have reviewed accusations from about 50 women and believe 13 should be allowed to testify.

The defense is expected to vehemently oppose such testimony.

Constand told police that Cosby drugged and molested her. Legal experts say a judge might allow similar Cosby allegations in which drugs or alcohol were involved.

Cosby's lawyers also will push to suppress key evidence, including the deposition Cosby gave in the accuser's 2005 lawsuit.

Cosby acknowledges giving Andrea Constand several pills before what he calls a consensual sexual encounter. Prosecutors say he drugged and molested her.

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