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Lawyers for Bill Cosby argued Thursday that Judy Huth’s revision of details of her case — namely, the year she was sexually assaulted — unfairly denied the comedian the chance to investigate and interview witnesses who could have corroborated his defense.
Jennifer Bonjean, representing Cosby, argued that the 11th-hour correction warrants a new trial. A month before a jury found that Cosby assaulted Huth when she was 16 years old at the Playboy Mansion, Huth said that the incident actually occurred in 1975 and not 1974 as she initially alleged.
Bonjean detailed how no discovery was conducted for the new time period. If she had known, she said she could have potentially been able to present numerous witnesses identified in visitor records that were discovered after the jury was already selected to refute Huth’s account of events.
“Mr. Cosby was greatly prejudiced because of the late disclosure of the years the events allegedly occurred,” Bonjean said. “Our entire defense, an alibi defense, went out the window when Huth realized — if you want to call it that — that the events didn’t occur in 1974 nor did they occur when she was 15.”
Huth’s case was the first and only suit accusing Cosby of sexual assault to reach trial. In her complaint, she alleged that Cosby forced her to perform a sexual act on him at the Playboy Mansion after she and a friend met him at a park where he was filming Let’s Do it Again.
Cosby has denied assaulting Huth or any of the other 50 women who have accused him of assaulting them. The verdict in favor of Huth, who was awarded $500,000, is the only legal recourse — albeit in a civil case — Cosby has faced after his conviction for drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand was overturned last year by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
During a hotly contested hearing representing Cosby’s last chance to toss the verdict outside of an appeal, lawyers for Huth argued that the defense knew the correct timeline of the assault since the beginning of the case. John West, representing Huth, pointed to the timeline of the shooting for the film Let’s Do it Again.
Huth met Cosby in Lacy Park in Los Angeles when she and a friend noticed that a movie was being shot there. West said that Cosby’s lawyers were always aware that the scene filmed in 1975.
At trial, Cosby’s defense revolved around Huth changing her story. Defense attorneys pressed the argument that Huth shouldn’t be trusted since she lied in earlier testimony. Bonjean said during closing statements, “How did [Huth] actually get it so wrong? Why? Because it’s a lie.”
Lawyers for Cosby also argued in support of their motion for a new trial that the court should not have permitted the testimony of Kimberly Burr describing how the comedian kissed her when she was a minor. Bonjean argued that the jury improperly relied upon the evidence to conclude that Cosby was likely to have assaulted Huth because he had a history of engaging in sexual acts with underage women.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Craig Karlan said that he allowed Burr to testify about her encounter with Cosby as evidence of his intent.
“The evidence demonstrates that this wasn’t an accident — that Cosby thought she was 18,” Karlan said. “[The testimony] was not to show that he rapes woman, but to show that he’s interested in minors for sexual reasons. Do you understand the distinction?”
Bonjean responded, “I understand the distinction you’re trying to make.” She claimed that the testimony was introduced for the sole purpose of persuading the jury that Cosby had a propensity to abuse young women.
“No, it goes to intent,” Karlan answered.
The judge took the motion under submission.
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