In Cosby criminal case, accuser's turn to face scrutiny

Tue Jul 5, 2016 10:13am EDT
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By Joseph Ax

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Comedian Bill Cosby faces the latest court hearing this week in his sexual assault case in Pennsylvania, but his attorneys will again try to shift attention to his accuser.

Lawyers for the 78-year-old entertainer are set to ask a judge to throw out the charges leveled by Andrea Constand, who says Cosby drugged and assaulted her at his Philadelphia-area home in 2004.

If the Cosby case proceeds to trial, U.S. media attention will focus once more on the debate over the justice system's handling of sexual assault cases. The issue was most recently spotlighted in June when there was a national outcry after a judge gave a former Stanford University swimmer a six-month sentence for sexual assault.

Cosby's defense team has made it clear their trial strategy will be to discredit Constand's account. On Thursday, his lawyers will argue Constand should have been required to testify at a preliminary hearing in May and face cross-examination.

Accusations of sexual assault from dozens of women have knocked Cosby off his longtime pedestal as one of the most beloved U.S. entertainers. Still, most of the cases are too old to be prosecuted. Constand's allegations have led to the only criminal charges against Cosby, who has denied ever assaulting anyone and portrayed their encounter as consensual.


Cosby's lawyer, Brian McMonagle, has argued that Constand should have been forced to show up at the May hearing to explain why she waited a year to make her complaint, why she could not recall certain details and why she stayed in touch with Cosby even after the alleged attack.   Continued...

Bill Cosby departs the Montgomery County Courthouse after a preliminary hearing in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S. May 24, 2016.  REUTERS/Matt Rourke/Pool/File Photo