By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor)
Quaaludes may not be a part of the retrial of Bill Cosby.
During pretrial hearings in the Bill Cosby sexual assault trial, Judge Steven O’Neill indicated that he may not allow such testimony, which dominated headlines the previous trial last year.
O’Neill said that he would allow at least five other women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault, including model and reality TV star Janice Dickinson, who said Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her decades ago.
Janice-Baker-Kinney, Heidi Thomas, Chelan Lasha and Lise-Lotte Lublin are the four other primary witnesses who’ve made public accusations against Cosby in the media since the current case made news in late 2014.
The judge may also allow the prosecution to call four additional witnesses to support testimony from the so-called prior-bad-acts alleged victims.
But, he said the mention of Quaaludes could be [overly] prejudicial, because he’s allowing testimony from the additional accusers. Last year, O’Neill allowed just one such individual to testify.
“The evidence has changed in this case,” O’Neill said in court last Friday.
Cosby’s lawyers argued that his deposition testimony from a 2005 civil suit with Andrea Constand should not have been allowed in the first trial and because it had many references to Quaaludes, it caused a media stir.
They said the comedian never admitted to plying women with Quaaludes, but the redacted version of the deposition used at the 2017 trial appeared to show him admitting that he did.
Defense lawyers also said testimony about Quaaludes would also be irrelevant, because it isn’t alleged that he plied Constand with the drug. Cosby has admitted to giving Constand Benadryl.
Cosby, 80, faces three counts of aggravated indecent sexual assault stemming from a 2004 incident at his Elkins Park, Pa., home with Constand, who claims he drugged and digitally penetrated her.
While the judge has continually admonished both sides from “trying their case for reporters,” and he’s repeatedly ask that the lawyers temper their comments and stick to law, fireworks continue to erupt in the courthouse.
Assistant District Attorney Kristen Feden seemed to suggest that she wanted to take her battle with Defense Attorney Kathleen Bliss outside.
Angrily yelling and pointing at Bliss, Feden challenged the older lawyer, as O’Neill simply held his head in hand and some court observers sat stunned while others gasped.
Meanwhile, O’Neill is also expected to rule on several other items, including whether to admit testimony from potential defense witness, Marguerite Jackson who worked at Temple University with Constand. If allowed, Jackson is expected to testify that Constand told her of a scheme to fabricate sexual assault claims against a big name celebrity.
O’Neill excluded Jackson’s testimony in the first trial, but the judge has said repeatedly that those rulings are no longer binding.
Attorneys for the comedian also want to admit details of his $3.5 million civil settlement to Constand in 2006. Prosecutors have objected, but have asked that if the judge allows it, they should be able to introduce statements made during the negotiations of that payout.
“It paid off, just as she said it would and that’s our theory,” Cosby lawyer Kathleen Bliss said of the settlement and the alleged comments Constand made to Jackson.