7:18am PT by Eriq Gardner
Judge Allows Trial Testimony From Another Alleged Bill Cosby Victim
The Pennsylvania judge overseeing the criminal case against Bill Cosby for allegedly sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand has decided that prosecutors can call another alleged victim to the witness stand when the trial begins.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele requested testimony from 13 alleged victims as evidence of "prior bad acts." Instead, he'll only get to call one other accuser, identified as "Prior Alleged Victim Six" in today's order, but whose first name is Kacey. She was an assistant to Cosby's former agent, Tom Illius, and worked in the 1990s at the William Morris Agency. Kacey is a Gloria Allred client.
Most states forbid evidence from those who can't speak directly to the alleged crime, but Pennsylvania has exceptions related to evidence about a "common plan, scheme and design" and "absence of mistake."
Nevertheless, Cosby's lawyers opposed the testimony about prior bad acts, writing in court papers, "One of our most fundamental and prized principles in the administration of criminal law [is] that a distinct crime, except under special circumstances, cannot be given in evidence against a defendant who is being tried for another crime."
Steele wrote about the allegations from the alleged victims, "[T]hese distinctive similarities demonstrate that all fourteen incidents are so related that proof of one tends to establish proof of the other."
Judge Steven T. O'Neill's decision to allow just one of the 13 was revealed in a brief order released on Friday. A full explanation could be coming in a later memorandum, although it's likely that the judge allowed testimony from Kacey because the assault Cosby allegedly perpetrated on her was relatively recent compared to the other accusers.
The trial is scheduled to being in July 2017, though Cosby's attorneys are still advocating a transfer of venue and may attempt to raise various appeals in the coming months. The prosecutors themselves will now have to make a big decision whether to make an appeal on the issue of whether they should have been allowed more accusers on the witness stand.