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Judge Rules Cosby Accuser Doesn’t Have to Testify Before Trial


Bill Cosby in a Dec. 30, 2015 booking photo released by the Cheltenham Township, PA Police Department(NORRISTOWN, Penn.) — Bill Cosby returned to court in Norristown, Pennsylvania, Thursday, where a judge denied an attempt by his lawyers to force his accuser, Andrea Constand, to testify in a new pretrial hearing.

In a pretrial hearing on May 24, police read excerpts from Constand’s statements. The judge then ruled the felony sex-assault charges could move forward to trial. Cosby’s team argues that the police statements are hearsay, and that the ruling therefore wasn’t fair because Constand herself didn’t testify.

Though sexual assault victims do not generally testify in pretrial hearings, the Pennsylvania law on allowing hearsay in order to spare alleged victims from repeated court appearances is currently under review by the state Supreme Court, giving the defense an opportunity to challenge the ruling.

Constand went to police in 2005 after what she claims was a sexual assault incident that occurred in Cosby’s Philadelphia home in 2004, but no charges were filed. The woman said Cosby, now 78, drugged and molested her. Cosby maintains that he gave Benadryl to Constand because she’d complained about sleep trouble and that relations were consensual. Authorities re-opened the case last year.

Cosby’s lawyers said they’d appeal Thursday’s ruling to the state Supreme Court.

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