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Friday 9 December 2016

Cosby used his fame to hide crimes - prosecutors

Published 19/10/2016 | 02:26

Bill Cosby arrives for a pre-trial hearing in Norristown, Pennsylvania (AP)
Bill Cosby arrives for a pre-trial hearing in Norristown, Pennsylvania (AP)

Prosecutors have accused Bill Cosby's "cadre of high-priced lawyers" of stretching the truth as they again try to have a sexual assault case against the veteran entertainer thrown out.

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The two sides have filed duelling legal briefs in Philadelphia before a key pre-trial hearing next month. The November 1 hearing could determine if the case moves forward, if more accusers give evidence and whether jurors can hear Cosby's previous evidence about giving women drugs and alcohol before trying to have sex with them.

Cosby's lawyers complain it is unfair to make him defend events from a 2004 sexual encounter and have argued Cosby, who is 79 and blind, cannot recognise his accusers or even remember if he ever met them.

But Montgomery County prosecutors argued on Tuesday that Cosby, once known as America's Dad for his beloved portrayal of Dr Cliff Huxtable on TV's The Cosby Show in the 1980s and 90s, used his fame and fortune "to conceal his crimes" for years.

They said they reopened the case last year because they had new evidence from a long-sealed Cosby deposition from the accuser's 2006 civil lawsuit and from the dozens of other accusers who came forward after the deposition was released.

"He is an individual who has used his fame and fortune for decades to conceal his crimes and hide his true nature," district attorney Kevin Steele wrote, noting Cosby fought repeated efforts by The Associated Press news agency to unseal documents from the civil case file.

Cosby is set to go on trial in June. Prosecutors have asked the judge to let 13 other accusers give evidence to support Andrea Constand's claims that Cosby drugged and molested her.

Mr Steele said his office reinvestigated the case for six months last year before deciding to file charges on December 30, days before the statute of limitations ran out.

Mr Steele's predecessor spent only a month on the case before deciding not to charge Cosby over Ms Constand's complaint in 2005, he said in the filing.

Common Pleas judge Steven O'Neill has scheduled hearings on the potential trial evidence for November 1-2 and December 13-14.

Cosby has pleaded not guilty to the felony sexual-assault charge and remains free on one million dollars' bail.

Press Association

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