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What You Need To Know Before Bill Cosby's Sexual Assault Retrial Begins

Here's what's happened so far before Bill Cosby's sexual assualt retrial.

By Sowmya Krishnamurthy
Bill Cosby Sentenced To 3 To 10 Years In Prison

Bill Cosby is heading back to court in April. The 80-year-old comedian faces a retrial for three counts of aggravated indecent sexual assault, after a woman named Andrea Constand was allegedly drugged and assaulted at his Pennsylvania mansion in 2004. On June 17, 2017, the first trial ended in a mistrial.

Here's what you need to know before jury selection begins April 2.


The Accusations

In 2015, Cosby was charged with aggravated indecent assault by Constand, an ex-Temple University basketball manager. Pennsylvania prosecutors initially pursued the case after evidence surfaced in the form of previously-sealed court documents. Charges were brought against Cosby days before the 12-year statute of limitations would have run out. 

She alleged that Cosby drugged and violated her during a visit to his home. After the Montgomery County district attorney chose not to take action, she sued Cosby. The case was settled out of court in 2006.

Denial and Defense


Cosby has maintained his innocence and stated that relations with Constand were consensual, as Fox News reports. In the deposition for the civil case, he admitted to buying Quaaludes and giving women drugs and alcohol before sex. However, he claimed it was all consensual. 

The comedian and his family, including wife Camille, have previously blamed biases like racism for the accusations.

"I strongly believe my father is innocent of the crimes alleged against him, and I believe that racism has played a big role in all aspects of this scandal," said Ensa Cosby, Bill's daughter.

Discrediting Constand


In the first criminal trial, Cosby’s defense attempted to discredit Constand, as Fox News reports. They noted inconsistencies in her story and claimed that Cosby and the accuser spoke several times on the phone—with her initiating communication— since the alleged incident. In fact, Cosby attempted to sue Constand for breaching their confidentiality agreement. He dropped that suit in 2016.


Other Accusers


Multiple women have come forward with similar allegations of drugging and assault by Cosby. More than 50 women have accused the comedy legend of misconduct as of last year, reported CNN. In January 2018, prosecutors asked that some of these other accusers be able to testify.

The Retrial


The retrial is slated for April 2 in Norristown, Pennsylvania, as USA Today reports. Cosby's defense team has three new lawyers, including famed attorney Thomas Mesereau, who has defended accused celebrities like Michael Jackson, Robert Blake and Marion "Suge" Knight.

The defense had requested that the judge step down because his wife is a social worker. Judge Steven O'Neill said he's "not biased or prejudiced" and refused to, according to NBC News. 

 "How are my wife's independent views of an independent woman connected to me?" he said. "She's an independent woman and has the right to be involved in anything that she believes in."

Cosby, who did not testify previously, may end up testifying this time, as previously reported. Supermodel Janice Dickinson, who came forward with her own abuse claims against the comedian, is expected to testify against him, as AOL reports.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday.

[Photo: Getty Images]

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