Just a few weeks ago, Bill Cosby went on stage and joked about his rape accusations. People actually went to see him, if you can imagine.
The disgraced comedian's last trial ended in a deadlock, but he's up for retrial over the later this year for the 2004 sexual assault of Andrea Constand.
And his lawyers are righting to exclude 19 different women from testifying.
Bill Cosby has more than 60 accusers who alleged that he sexually assaulted them.
That is a tremendous number of women who've come forward with stories of some of the worst moments of their lives.
Of course, convicted sex monster Dr. Larry Nassar has over 140 accusers.
And Director James Toback has over 300 accusers, including Selma Blair and Rachel McAdams.
But this isn't the world's worst contest, and for anyone accused of any crime to stand accused by so many is rare. The idea that a single person could do so much harm to so many people is horrifying.
For many of Bill Cosby's accusers, there are no options for criminal prosecution because of statutory rape laws that allow countless sexual predators to evade justice.
Traumatized victims do not always come forward immediately, especially in a sex-negative society that shames survivors and especially when the sex monster who preyed upon them is wealthy, beloved, or a celebrity.
Or all three.
Andrea Constand, however, is able to take Bill Cosby to trial because she did come forward in 2004. We cannot image how much bravery she needed.
Though Cosby's trial last year ended in a deadlock, one can't help but wonder if jurors might view him differently in the #MeToo era, when people are conscious of how many sex monsters have been prowling the entertainment industry for decades.
When asked about how he thinks that his trial might be impacted by the (slowly) changing culture, Billy Cosby made this face:
We don't yet know whether Cosby will face his #TimesUp moment. Like we said, he went on stage just a few weeks ago in an impromptu performance.
But, though he makes the human equivalent of the shrugging emoticon ... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ... when asked, his attorneys are taking a more proactive approach when it comes to determining what the jurors will decide.
Cosby's team is attempting to exclude 19 of his accusers from testifying at his trial, arguing that it would be prejudicial.
Interestingly, they're claiming that hearing 19 women say that Bill Cosby sexually assaulted them won't be helpful in letting jurors decide if it's likely that he sexually assaulted a woman.
In papers filed in Montgomery County Court, Cosby's team argues:
"While the prospect of trotting out 19 other accusers makes for a splashy headline, it does nothing to advance the goal of fairly deciding Bill Cosby’s guilt or innocence."
That's quite the claim.
"Admitting evidence of even just one of these uncharged and unproven accusations would be highly prejudicial."
For the record, usually when something is excluded for being prejudicial, it is because it's either irrelevant or, well, subject to actual prejudices, without yielding sufficient probative value for the judge to consider it "worth the risk."
For example, issues or race or religion or sexuality -- of the victim or the defendant -- might impact bigoted jurors who weren't excluded during the Voir Dire process.
We're no legal experts by any means.
Since these are accusations that Bill Cosby did the same crime for which he's on trial, however, it sounds pertinent to our unschooled ears.
Similarly, if a man is accused of robbing a bank, hearing testimony accusing him of 19 other bank robberies might be good to know, right?
Seems like that might be something that jurors would want before they put it to a vote, as it ties him to some sort of pattern. Who knows.
It's up to the individual jurors and their conscience to process all of the evidence and determine who is likely to be telling the truth and who is likely to be lying.
But there's no telling what a judge might determine, especially when an expensive defense team and national attention are involved.
We won't know the ruling until March, and the retrial date is currently set at April 2nd.
If the judge allows the testimony from these 19 accusers, Cosby's team has indicated that they will seek a postponement.
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