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Defense Team Flusters First Witness in Bill Cosby Rape Trial
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Summary: The criminal trial against Bill Cosby began today in Pennsylvania. 

Today, the rape trial of comedy legend Bill Cosby began in Norristown, Pennsylvania; and the first witness to testify is a former talent agency assistant who said Cosby raped her in 1996. Cosby said previously that he will not testify, but his accuser Andrea Constand is expected to take the stand.

  
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Thirteen years ago, Andrea Constand, a then-employee of Temple University, met with Cosby at his home, and the two of them had a sexual encounter. Cosby claims that the sex was consensual, but Constand said that he had slipped pills into her drink and took advantage of her when she was passed out.

The criminal trial, which began today, is expected to last for two weeks. The star of The Cosby Show is being charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault. If found guilty, the 79-year-old comic could face a prison sentence of 10 years. He may also have to pay a fine of $25,000 per count, according to Rolling Stone. 

Although Cosby is only on trial for what had happened with Constand, the once-beloved entertainer has been accused of rape by almost 60 women, whose accounts are all fairly similar. They stated that they willingly met up with Cosby and that he then drugged and sexually assaulted them.

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The other women’s cases were not brought to their own respective criminal trials because the statutes of limitations had passed. Statutes of limitations on rape cases vary from state to state, but on average, they range from one to 15 years, Rolling Stone said.

Prior to the trial, prosecutors asked Judge Steven T. O’Neill to allow 13 Cosby accusers to testify, but Cosby’s defense argued that their testimony could unfairly sway the jury. O’Neill mostly ruled in favor of the defense, but he is allowing one woman, identified as “Kacey,” to share her story in court.



Prior to trial, “Kacey” said that in 1996 she went to lunch with Cosby at his California hotel bungalow, and he gave her a “large white pill.” She said that she woke up naked and that Cosby was lying next to her. Like in Constand’s case, Cosby said that the encounter was consensual.

Today, “Kacey” has been identified as former William Morris assistant, Kelly Johnson. Deadline reported that the trial’s first witness broke down on the stand and that the defense worked hard to discredit her.

“Trying to trip Johnson up over statements she made about Cosby offering her a TV role and contract in the early 1990s, [Cosby’s attorney Brian] McMonagle spent a lot of time trying to find inconsistencies in her three discussions with Montgomery County detectives about her alleged assault. More significantly, reading from lawyer’s notes and his voice straining, McMonagle sought to pop holes in Johnson’s workers-compensation deposition in 1996 after she exited William Morris,” Deadline wrote.

Before the trial began, Cosby’s former coworker, Keshia Knight Pullman, showed her support for Cosby at the trial by accompanying him to court. Pullman played his daughter Rudy on The Cosby Show. 

Some of Cosby’s accusers are also expected to attend. One of them, former Playmate Victoria Valentino, said that she had hoped to intimidate him in court.

“I haven’t seen him since 1969,” Valentino told NBC News. “I hope he makes eye contact because I’d love to look him in the eye and stare him down.”

Photo courtesy of Fox News

What do you think of the Bill Cosby trial? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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