Bill Cosby's Quaalude use an issue as lawyers spar ahead of trial

Bill Cosby's Quaalude use an issue as lawyers spar ahead  of trial
Bill Cosby.

Prosecutors and lawyers for Bill Cosby have sparred over whether jurors at his sexual assault retrial will hear lurid deposition testimony from the comedian about giving quaaludes to a string of women before sex.

District Attorney Kevin Steele asked a judge during a pretrial hearing in suburban Philadelphia to let them read the testimony in to the record at Cosby's April 9 sex assault retrial, just as it was at the first one that ended in a hung jury last year.

Mr Steele said the testimony, along with those of up to five additional accusers not allowed to testify at the first trial, bolsters their plan to portray Cosby as a serial predator.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Monday as 80-year-old Cosby faces charges he drugged and molested former Temple University athletics administrator Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.

Cosby's lawyers say the testimony is irrelevant because there is no evidence he gave Ms Constand the drug.

His lawyers argue prosecutors are trying to use the deposition and expected testimony from the additional accusers to distract jurors from the case at hand.

Ms Constand, who has waived her right of anonymity, says Cosby gave her three blue pills.

His lawyers say quaaludes never came in that colour with the comedian contending he gave her the over-the-counter antihistamine Benadryl.

Any relevance that Cosby's quaalude testimony might have, "is far outweighed by the unfair prejudice, confusion of issues and misleading of the jury that would result from its admission," the comedian's lawyers argued in court papers.

Cosby's lawyers are also counting on Judge Steven O'Neill to make rulings critical to their plan to portray the accuser as a greedy liar who framed the comedian to get rich.

Mr O'Neill could rule as early as Friday on whether the defence can call a witness who claims Ms Constand spoke about falsely accusing a celebrity before going to police.

The judge also will decide how much jurors will hear about Cosby's financial settlement with Ms Constand. They say the amount will show "just how greedy" she was.

Prosecutors said the theory Ms Constand wanted to set Cosby up is undermined by his testimony in a 2005 deposition that she only visited his home when invited and that he gave her pills without her asking.

Cosby admitted in the testimony he gave quaaludes to a 19-year-old before having sex in the 1970s.

His lawyers argued the lawsuit and payment were the direct result of her scheming against him.

Prosecutors said Cosby's negotiators wanted to bar Constand from ever cooperating with law enforcement.

Mr O'Neill presided over Cosby's first trial, which ended in a hung jury last year, and remained on the case after rejecting the defence's assertions on Thursday he could be seen as biased because his wife is a social worker and advocate for assault victims.

In arguing for the judge to step aside, Cosby's lawyers pointed to a $100 donation made in his wife's name to an organisation that gave money to a group planning a protest outside of the retrial.

Mr O'Neill said the contribution was made 13 months ago by the department where his wife works at the University of Pennsylvania and that Cosby's lawyers held an antiquated view of marriage where spouses must agree on everything.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Monday and jurors will once again be sequestered at a hotel.

Opening statements and testimony are not expected to get underway until April 9 at the earliest.

- PA

More on this topic

Prosecutors to cite ‘decades-long behaviour’ as Bill Cosby prepares appealProsecutors to cite ‘decades-long behaviour’ as Bill Cosby prepares appeal

Lawyers for Bill Cosby hit out at judge as they seek bail while he appealsLawyers for Bill Cosby hit out at judge as they seek bail while he appeals

Jailed Bill Cosby challenging lawyers over fees for sex assault trialJailed Bill Cosby challenging lawyers over fees for sex assault trial

Bill Cosby agrees to settle defamation lawsuitsBill Cosby agrees to settle defamation lawsuits

More in this Section

Hillsborough match commander ‘deep in thought’ before giving order, court toldHillsborough match commander ‘deep in thought’ before giving order, court told

Celebrities supporting Extinction Rebellion admit to being hypocritesCelebrities supporting Extinction Rebellion admit to being hypocrites

Three arrested in connection with theft of gold toilet from Blenheim PalaceThree arrested in connection with theft of gold toilet from Blenheim Palace

Twitter: Accounts of world leaders ‘not entirely’ above the rulesTwitter: Accounts of world leaders ‘not entirely’ above the rules


Lifestyle

Can you imagine Spanish churros, Moroccan tagines or even Christmas cakes without its fragrant taste?MIchelle Darmody: Warm smells of cinnamon

Rachel Howard visits the South Moravia region to sample this eastern European country’s finest tipples.They’re big on beer but could the Czech Republic be raising a glass to wine tourism too?

Lisa Salmon catches up with a cardiologist, who explains how a patient’s own stem cells can repair damage from heart disease and heart failure.How stem cells are mending broken hearts

Hannah Stephenson discovers America’s dark past and Martin Luther King’s vision for its future by following the civil rights trail.Charting America’s path to freedom on a road trip through the Deep South

More From The Irish Examiner