Famed comedian Bill Cosby goes back on trial this week for charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted a woman several years ago. Since the charges were filed, dozens of other woman have come forward to allege that Cosby had similar conduct with them. The case went to trial 10 months ago, and ended with a hung jury. Even though Cosby’s attorneys managed to avoid a conviction at that trial, Cosby now has a new legal team lead by Tom Mesereau, who has handled such high-profile clients as Michael Jackson.
The trial will be quite different this time, as the new attorneys seem more aggressive, and the evidence has substantially changed. For the first trial, the court allowed one other accuser to testify about her experience with Cosby. This time around, the court has permitted up to five other accusers to testify. Last time around, the attorneys were able to cast enough doubt on the “similar fact evidence” witness that the jurors later said they completely disregarded her. It will be very difficult for them to disregard five, or to demonstrate that they are financially motivated. One of the possible witnesses is model Janice Dickinson, who has sued Cosby for defamation for attacking her claims. It’s unclear why the judge decided that five other people can testify in this trial when they couldn’t in the last one, but it appears to make the situation far more grave for Cosby.
Generally, a retrial favors the prosecution… and probably more so when the judge permits a substantial amount of evidence that was previously excluded. We will find out the final outcome when the trial concludes, probably not for about a month.