By Aaron Miller-
Bill Cosby’s defence lawyers practically have two days to locate a witness the entertainer’s team believes will discredit the main accuser in his concluding sexual-assault trial.
Judge Steven O’Neill gave Cosby’s attorneys until Monday to find a woman who was a friend of Cosby’s accuser, Andrea Constand, when she said Mr Cosby drugged and assaulted her at his home in a Philadelphia suburb in January 2004. Ms Constand, told the jury last week that she was paralyzed by dodgy medication Bill Cosby gave her before sexually assaulting the former director of Temple University baseball team ”She said she was weak. limp, and just could not fight him off”. She rejected the claim by Cosby lawyer Thomas Mesereau that she made up the account to extract money from Mr Cosby.
The 80-year-old comedian, known for his fame from the Cosby sitcom series, faces up to 10 years in prison on each of three counts of aggravated indecent assault if convicted.
Defence lawyers have said the witness, Sheri Williams, spoke to Ms Constand “at all hours of the day” and are confident shew would testify that Ms Constand was fully aware of Mr Cosby’s romantic interest in her. They have strongly asserted that she “could not have been the unwitting victim” that prosecutors claim she was.
Defence lawyers spectacularly also expect her to testify about Ms Constand’s motivations for accusing Mr. Cosby of assault and leaving her job at Temple, shortly after the alleged incident.
On Thursday, defence lawyers filed an affidavit from a private investigator who said he tried to serve a subpoena on Ms. Williams or contact her a total of eight times in recent weeks in North Carolina, where she resides, according to defence attorneys. Ms. Williams couldn’t be reached for comment.
Cosby’s defence lawyers still have the flexibility of locating Ms. Williams. Eith granted permission from the judge, they can read into evidence parts of a 2005 deposition she gave when Ms Constand sued Mr Cosby that year for assault.
Despite Cosby a lofty settlement of $3.38 million paid by Cosby to settle that lawsuit without admitting guilt, prosecutors later brought criminal charges against the American celebrity.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele has challenged the secondary proposition to read the deposition testimony in court as a substitute for the witness’s physical presence. Steele argues that prosecutors wouldn’t be able to cross-examine Ms. Williams. Judge O’Neill put off ruling on the matter until Monday.
Over 10 days of testimony, county prosecutors have portrayed Mr. Cosby as a serial predator, calling five additional women to testify that they were drugged by Mr. Cosby in the 1980s when they were young, aspiring actresses or models. Four said they recalled being raped or molested by him.
At Mr. Cosby’s first trial, which ended in June in a hung jury and mistrial, Judge O’Neill allowed only one other accuser besides Ms Constand to testify Mr. Cosby claims he gave Ms. Constand three Benadryl pills to enable her to relax when she came over for dinner and complained of being stressed. He admits having a sexual encounter with Mrs Constand but insists it was consensual. The judge will decide on Monday whether to grant Cosby’s team their requests if they don’t find the star witness they are searching for. Chances are that they will not.