Embattled comedian Bill Cosby’s new trial on charges that he sexually assaulted a woman more than a decade ago is scheduled for April 2018.
Cosby, now 80, is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in his Pennsylvania home in 2004. A judge declared a mistrial in June after jurors failed to reach a verdict when Cosby first went to court for the charges.
As Coby prepares to go back to trial on April 2, here’s a look at the case and how the nation’s #MeToo movement could impact it.
Cosby is accused of giving Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee, pills that left her incapacitated before he allegedly performed sexual acts on her without her consent.
Constand and Cosby met while she was the director for the women’s basketball team at Temple, Cosby’s Philadelphia alma mater. The pair “developed what [Constand] believed to be a sincere friendship,” and Constand eventually looked to the older comedian as a mentor, according to court documents.
Constand alleged that Cosby made sexual advances toward her multiple times, and she turned him down. But on one specific visit to his home in 2004, Cosby gave her “three blue pills” that blurred her vision and made her feel as though she was “in and out” [of consciousness], according to court documents.
Cosby then engaged in sexual acts with Constand, while she couldn’t move or speak, that she did not consent to, she said.
While more than 60 women have come forward over the years to accuse the man once affectionately known as “America’s Dad” of sexual misconduct, Constand’s allegations are the only ones that brought a criminal case against Cosby. Many of the other women’s accusations fall outside of the statute of limitations.
Cosby and his lawyers have maintained that any interaction between the pair was consensual.
Constand sued Cosby in 2005, and the pair settled for an undisclosed amount the next year. In the deposition for that case, Cosby admitted to buying Quaaludes and giving women drugs and alcohol before sex – but he said every interaction was consensual, including with Constand.
During the first trial, Cosby’s defense sought to discredit Constand – pointing to inconsistencies in her story. The defense also noted that Cosby and Constand have spoken over the phone dozens of times since the alleged incident, with Constand initiating the majority of those calls.
Cosby has a new legal team for the upcoming trial.
While a jury failed to convict Cosby at the first trial, there is speculation that the national #MeToo movement against sexual harassment, assault and misconduct could play a role with the jurors this go-around.
"This is about whether you believe the victim or not, and the events of the last year certainly make the case harder for Cosby."
"This is about whether you believe the victim or not, and the events of the last year certainly make the case harder for Cosby," Philadelphia criminal lawyer Alan J. Tauber, who isn't involved in the case, told The Associated Press. "Ordinary people are seeing people they respect and trust undermined by terrible accusations."
For the upcoming trial, prosecutors hope to call 19 other accusers to show a pattern of “prior bad acts” over five decades. Prosecutors asked for 13 women to testify in the last case, but the judge only allowed for one.
Cosby’s trial ended in a mistrial on June 17, 2017 after the jury deliberated for more than 52 hours over six days and still couldn’t reach a verdict.
Prosecutors immediately promised to retry Cosby, who was free from prison on a $1 million bail.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.