Bill Cosby goes on trial, his freedom and legacy at stake

Brunilde Fioravanti
Giugno 6, 2017

All eyes were on Bill Cosby Monday morning when he arrived at a Pennsylvania courthouse arm-in-arm with Keshia Knight Pulliam, the actress who played his youngest television daughter, Rudy Huxtable, on "The Cosby Show". They said that Cosby and Andrea Constand had a romantic relationship that spans at least several evenings, that she had gone to the casino in CT with him on one trip, had been with him on several nights for various social occasions, and, again, that it was a romantic, consensual situation.

The comedian's spokesperson confirms to Us Weekly that Phylicia Rashad, who played Cosby's wife, Clair Huxtable, on The Cosby Show, will also appear in court on Monday, as will Johnny Taylor, the president of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. A former assistant to Cosby's late agent, she alleges that in 1996, after Cosby insisted she take a pill, she woke up in bed with the half-naked entertainer.

Constand is one of dozens of women who have accused Cosby of sex assault but hers is the only case recent enough to be subject to criminal prosecution.

McMonagle said Johnson mixed up the years and other details of her encounters with Cosby, and he grilled her about why she never said anything when she left William Morris.

During his court appearance on Monday, the actor faces charges that he allegedly drugged and assaulted former Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his Pennsylvania home in 2004.

His lawyers have repeatedly tried to get the case turfed.

Constand, a 44-year-old Canadian, was at the time director of basketball operations at Temple University, where Cosby served on the Board of Trustees until his resignation in a blaze of scandal in 2014. The comedian could get 10 years in prison if convicted.

I understand that the first witness today was one of those other women. Pulliam isn't the only member of his TV family who has shown support for Cosby. They said that there is a deposition that exists, I believe in a worker's compensation lawsuit she filed, in which she says that she went to the hotel with Cosby in 1990, so six years apart on that.

In 2015, Cosby was charged with felony aggravated indecent assault shortly before the statute of limitations on Constand's claim expired.

Though more than 50 women have accused the former "I Spy" star of assault, the trial will focus on the testimony of Constand and one other accuser, who has been identified as Jane Doe.

"This is a historic day", she told reporters outside the courtroom. She described an encounter she said took place in 1996 at the Hotel Bel-Air when she was in her mid-30s. "Right now it's the jury's job and the jury's decision to determine guilt or innocence".

In a lengthy letter published earlier this year, Bill's youngest daughter, Evin, defended her father, writing, "The public persecution of my dad, my kids" grandfather, and the cruelty of the media and those who speak out branding my father a "rapist' without ever knowing the truth. makes all of this so much worse for my family and my children". His TV shows, films and comedy tours earned him an estimated 400 million dollars (£309 million).

The statute of limitations for prosecuting Cosby had run out in almost every case. Cosby settled a civil suit with Constand in 2006, but since then more than four dozen women have come forward with similar allegations against the once-beloved sitcom star, including '80s supermodels Beverly Johnson and Janice Dickinson. Cosby then offered her wine, and after some cajoling, she took a couple of sips, the complaint says. "We'll see what the evidence is".

In his opening statement, McMonagle said Cosby is the victim of false accusations. "But this case is not going to be decided on optics, it's going to be decided on the evidence, and finally, it's Mr. Cosby who's going to have to face that evidence and confront the accusers who are against him".

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