When it begins Monday, Bill Cosby’s retrial on sexual assault charges will appear very similar in some respects to the first trial that ended inconclusively nearly 10 months ago with a deadlocked jury. The courthouse in Norristown, Pa., will be the same. Andrea Constand, 44, will take the stand again to give her account of an encounter at Mr. Cosby’s home outside Philadelphia in 2004 that turned, she said, into a drugging and an act of sexual molestation. Mr. Cosby’s defense will still center on the argument that this was a consensual act.
But much else about this second trial will be different, starting with how the prosecution will present its case.
At the first trial, one other woman who said she was also drugged and assaulted by Mr. Cosby, 80, was allowed to testify in addition to Ms. Constand. This time, Judge Steven T. O’Neill of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas is allowing prosecutors to present the accounts of five additional women with similar accusations.
One of those accusers is scheduled to be Janice Dickinson, the onetime supermodel, who said Mr. Cosby had drugged and raped her in a Lake Tahoe hotel room in 1982. (She has also sued Mr. Cosby for defamation.) The four other so-called “prior bad acts” witnesses were, at the time, aspiring actresses or models, and in one case a bartender, who say they were assaulted by Mr. Cosby between 1982 and 1989, all incidents he denies occurred.
Judge O’Neill has not said why he has allowed more accusers this time around. But experts say the additional accusations will help bolster Ms. Constand’s credibility as just one of a line of women who say Mr. Cosby abused them. She is the only woman whose complaint has resulted in criminal charges against the entertainer.
At the first trial, Mr. Cosby called only a single defense witness, a detective who testified for only six minutes. This time, however, his legal team plans to call at least three witnesses.
The one that’s attracted most attention is Marguerite Jackson, 56, a Temple University academic adviser who says that Ms. Constand, who worked on the support staff for the women’s basketball team, once told her she could make money by falsely claiming that she had been molested by a prominent person.
Judge O’Neill blocked Ms. Jackson’s testimony at the first trial after Ms. Constand said that she did not know her. But the judge allowed her testimony this time, and Mr. Cosby’s lawyers are expected to use her account to portray Ms. Constand as someone with a premeditated plan to siphon money from Mr. Cosby.
Prosecutors have already questioned Ms. Jackson’s credibility and can be expected to continue that track when she testifies.
But another area of concern for them is likely to be the defense’s assertions that Ms. Constand misled the court during the first trial when she said she did not know Ms. Jackson. The defense has already brought forward two women who worked for Temple who say Ms. Constand and Ms. Jackson did know each other.
Last time out Mr. Cosby’s main lawyer was a Philadelphia courthouse veteran, Brian J. McMonagle, who had served as a prosecutor and knew the local people and the processes well. This time out, Mr. Cosby has hired more of an outsider to lead his defense: Thomas A. Mesereau Jr., a high profile criminal defense veteran who helped Michael Jackson win acquittal in his 2005 child molesting trial.
Mr. Mesereau, with his white shoulder-length hair, will be a distinctive figure as the case unfolds. His team has already demonstrated his aggressiveness with its move to have Judge O’Neill recuse himself because his wife has been an active supporter of sexual assault victims. Judge O’Neill rejected the motion.
One part of the defense case during the first trial was an effort to let the jury know that in 2005, when Ms. Constand first went to the police, the district attorney decided not to bring charges. The news release by the former district attorney, Bruce L. Castor Jr., played a big role at the first trial. But his opinions about the evidence and why he decided against charges won’t be heard this time around, Judge O’Neill decided.
After Mr. Castor declined to bring charges, Ms. Constand sued Mr. Cosby in 2005. The case was settled confidentially in 2006 with a financial payment made by Mr. Cosby to Ms. Constand.
At the first trial, references to the civil case were barred. This time, Mr. Cosby has lifted his objections, and jurors can hear more about the lawsuit, including the payment amount.
Each side is expected to try to use the settlement in their favor: the defense team arguing that it supports their view of Ms. Constand as a money seeker, the prosecution suggesting that the payment must reflect some kind of admission by Mr. Cosby that he indeed did something wrong.
One part of the civil suit was allowed in last time around: Mr. Cosby’s deposition testimony in which he admitted giving quaaludes to women for consensual sex. Judge O’Neill has yet to rule whether he will allow the testimony to be admitted in the retrial.
Last time, the jury was drawn from Pittsburgh and bused 300 miles to the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., after Mr. Cosby said he worried that all the pretrial publicity had affected potential jurors in the local area. This time, however, he has made no objections, and all jurors come from Montgomery County. As before, they will be sequestered during the trial.
The 12-person jury is made up of five women and seven men. One woman and one man are African-American, the same makeup as the jury for the first trial.
Perhaps nothing is as different from one trial to the next as the atmosphere in which it is unfolding. The Cosby case will be the first high-profile sex abuse trial to test what effect, if any, the #MeToo movement has on jurors.
Some experts think it may give jurors a greater willingness to believe people who come forward with accusations of sexual assault.
At least one juror in the first trial reported some problems with Ms. Constand’s credibility and had a question about why the many women who accused Mr. Cosby did not come forward sooner.
The entertainer’s lawyers, however, say they are worried that the barrage of publicity surrounding other bad-behaving men will lead jurors to lump Mr. Cosby in with the others, making it tougher for him to receive a fair trial.
This will not be a quick trial like the first, during which prosecutors and defense lawyers put forth their arguments and examined witnesses in six days. The jurors deliberated for a further 52 hours before admitting they could not reach a unanimous verdict. The retrial is likely to last as long as a month, according to Judge O’Neill.
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