NORRISTOWN, Pa. (Reuters) - A woman who is at the center of the case against Bill Cosby is expected to take the stand on Friday in a Pennsylvania courtroom, where she previously accused the comedian of drugging and sexually assaulting her more than a decade ago.
Cosby, who played the loveable patriarch and “America’s Dad” on “The Cosby Show,” is on trial in Norristown for a second time on a charge of aggravated indecent assault of former friend and colleague Andrea Constand, 45.
In all, some 50 women have accused Cosby of molestation going back decades. All but Constand’s case were too old to be prosecuted, and Cosby’s first trial ended in a mistrial last June due to a deadlocked jury.
The 80-year-old entertainer has denied the charge, saying any sexual contact was consensual. His lawyers have portrayed Constand as a gold-digging con artist.
“Based on the evidence heard so far, Mr. Cosby should be found not guilty on all charges,” Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt said on Thursday.
Since the first trial, the #MeToo movement exploded, prompting an increasing number of women to come forward with accusations of harassment or assault from rich and famous men.
During the first trial, Constand said she first met Cosby in late 2002, when she was the newly hired director of basketball operations for Temple University’s women’s basketball program and he was a university trustee and the Philadelphia school’s most famous alumnus.
After a series of phone calls, Constand, who was then in her 30s, said the married Cosby began inviting her to dinner at his house and other events. On at least one occasion, Constand said she rebuffed his advances, telling him she had no interest.
In January 2004, Constand said, Cosby invited her to his house again to discuss her career options. That night, he offered her the three blue pills, saying they were her “friends”.
Constand told the court that she took the pills, which he promised would help her “relax”. The pills left her feeling “frozen” and unable to resist him, she said.
Former supermodel Janice Dickinson testified on Thursday that Cosby drugged and raped her at a Lake Tahoe home in 1982. Several other women have also testified that they were drugged and sexually assaulted by Cosby in the 1980s, when Cosby was at the height of his popularity.
Reporting by David DeKok; Editing by Hugh Lawson