Prosecutors in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault retrial will present the jury with the disgraced comedian’s 2005 testimony about giving quaaludes to women after a judge ruled it admissible on Tuesday, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.
In the testimony, Cosby admitted under oath that he obtained a prescription for the now-illegal drug in the 1970s and gave it to women he wanted to have sex with.
Judge Steven O’Neill’s decision to admit the testimony represents a win for prosecutors, who are attempting to portray Cosby as a habitual abuser in the criminal case brought by former Temple University basketball coach Andrea Constand. It also means that jurors will hear the same admissions as in the original trial ― but this time, paired with testimony from five other accusers.
O’Neill ruled in March that the five additional accusers could testify in court because their claims closely match Constand’s. Only one other accuser, Kelly Johnson, who worked for Cosby’s agent, was permitted to give testimony the first time around.
Constand says Cosby, now 80, drugged and sexually assaulted her at his Philadelphia home in 2004. He faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault.
On Tuesday, the new jury began hearing Cosby’s account of what happened with Constand, which also came from his 2005 testimony. According to Cosby, he gave Constand cold and allergy medicine at his home to help her relax before touching her sexually. The entertainer said Constand did not object to being touched, and his lawyers say there is no evidence that he gave Constand quaaludes instead of over-the-counter medicine.
Johnson won’t take the stand again in the retrial. Instead, prosecutors will try to corroborate Constand’s experience with testimony from former bartender Janice Baker-Kinney and former models Heidi Thomas, Chelan Lasha, Lise-Lotte Lublin and Janice Dickinson.
Cosby’s 2005 testimony originated from Constand’s civil suit against the comedian, brought about a year after the alleged assault. That case was settled for around $3.4 million and the testimony sealed ― until a judge unsealed it in 2015. Authorities then filed charges against Cosby late that year.
A hung jury resulted in a mistrial last June.
The retrial, however, is the first jury trial of a high-profile figure since the Me Too movement against sexual misconduct started gaining steam.