The judge handling Bill Cosby's retrial in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania has ruled that five of his accusers can testify to establish the disgraced comedian's alleged predatory behavior.
The 80-year-old Cosby will be tried again for the alleged 2004 sexual assault of Andrea Constand. The June 2017 trial ended with a hung jury, and the retrial is scheduled to start on April 2. Jury selection starts on March 29.
Judge Steven O'Neill ruled Thursday that five other women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault can testify. Prosecutors, who hope to establish Cosby's five-decade pattern of allegedly attacking women in court, had asked for 19 women to testify, reports CBS News.
Cosby's attorneys argued against allowing the testimony, calling the allegations "ancient," and suggesting they would confuse the jury with the ongoing #MeToo movement. They also said they would ask for the retrial to be delayed if prosecutors were allowed to call more women to the stand.
“It shows they are desperate,” Andrew Wyatt, a Cosby spokesman, told the New York Times Thursday of the prosecution. “Mr. Cosby is innocent of these charges.”
During the first trial, O'Neill only allowed prosecutors to call Constand and one woman who accused Cosby of assault in the 1990s. According to the Times, O'Neill did not explain why he decided to allow accusers to testify during the retrial but barred them during the first trial. O'Neill can cut the number if he deems their evidence too prejudicial.
Cosby has been accused of drugging and sexually assaulting women between 1965 and the early 2000s. However, the charge of aggravated indecent assault related to Constand's allegations is the only criminal charge Cosby has faced, as many of the allegations were made long after the statue of limitations expired.
Although women came forward in tabloids and the media before 2014, it was not until a November 2014 Hannibal Buress stand-up bit went viral that the allegations gained increased attention. Since then, the number of Cosby accusers to come forward passed 60.
Cosby has denied the allegations.
"I have been in this business 52 years and I've never seen anything like this," Cosby told Good Morning America in May 2015. "Reality is a situation and I can't speak."
Supermodel Janice Dickinson is also suing Cosby for defamation after he and attorney Martin Singer said her allegations were not true. She accused Cosby of drugging and raping in the 1980s, early in her career.
“There was no knowledge on my part about his specific actions, but… There was just energy. And that type of sinister, shadow energy cannot be concealed," Bonet said.
When asked if she sensed darkness, she replied, “Always. And if I had anything more to reveal then it would have happened a long time ago. That’s my nature. The truth will set you free.”