Prosecutors are trying to bring in as many as 19 women to testify against Bill Cosby during his retrial in April. But at the comedian’s pretrial hearing on Monday, Cosby and his legal team tried to have the number of witnesses limited or have the sexual assault case tossed altogether, according to the Associated Press.
The defense, led by former Michael Jackson lawyer Tom Mesereau, argued that Cosby accuser Andrea Constand, who testified against the 80-year-old last year, lied about the date of the alleged crime. Constand claims the entertainer drugged and molested her in his home in Philadelphia in January 2004. The defense is trying to prove the encounter couldn’t have taken place during that month based on phone records and travel itineraries. The date has become a central focus of the trial, because if the incident took place any time before January 2004, the abuse falls outside of the statute of limitations and the trial can be thrown out.
If the defense is unable to get the charges tossed, they want to limit the number of witnesses who can take the stand during the trial. Prosecutors want to use the other women, who are also Cosby accusers, as witnesses to establish an alleged pattern of drugging and abuse. In last year’s trial, the judge only allowed one accuser to take the stand beside Constand. In June 2017, the jury deadlocked forcing a mistrial.
Jury selection begins March 29, and the retrial takes place starting April 2 in Philadelphia. If the case is not tossed, Cosby is returning to court on the charges of drugging and molestation. It remains to be seen how many women the judge will allow to take the witness stand during this new trial.