Pennsylvania prosecutors are going really hard after Bill Cosby.
A Pennsylvania judge on Tuesday ruled that five other women who have accused the comedian of sexual assault over the years could testify at his retrial on charges of drugging and assaulting a former friend, giving prosecutors an early win.
Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill’s decision will likely have a major influence on the second trial of Cosby, 80, who is accused of attacking Andrea Constand, now 44, at his home near Philadelphia between Dec. 30, 2003, and Jan. 20, 2004. Jury selection for the next trial begins on March 29.
The prosecution was limited to calling one other accuser in the first trial in the Philadelphia suburb of Norristown, Pennsylvania. It ended in June with a mistrial after the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict following six days of deliberations.
Constand, a former administrator of the women’s basketball team at Temple University in Philadelphia, Cosby’s alma mater, is one of more than 50 women who have accused him of sexual assaults, some dating back decades.
All the claims but Constand’s are too old to be the subject of criminal prosecution.
Prior to the allegations, Cosby was best known to Americans for his as the beloved TV dad in the 1980s hit “The Cosby Show.” He has repeatedly denied assaulting anyone, saying all the encounters were consensual.