Key ruling still undecided as Bill Cosby braces for retrial

Bill Cosby arrived for a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse on Tuesday in Norristown Pa

Bill Cosby arrives for a pretrial hearing for his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthousein Norristown, Pa., on March 5, 2018.

On Monday, the prosecution alleged Cosby has a distinct, uninterrupted pattern of drugging and assaulting young women. The defense called the allegations irrelevant because numerous accusations are decades old and unproven.

Judge Steven O'Neil will wait to make a ruling on whether to allow more accusers.

O'Neill, who presided over Cosby's first trial, said he was reluctant to break up Cosby's legal team with his retrial looming.

Dozens of women have publicly accused Cosby of misconduct, but the criminal charges in this case exclusively deal with Constand's allegations. "Among other things, admissibility is warranted for impeachment of Constand, in showing her financial motive to lie about the allegations she made against Cosby, or for any other objective...including as may be warranted by the testimony of Constand or otherwise".

Allowing the civil settlement, which was reached in 2006 after then District Attorney Bruce Castor told Constand that there wasn't evidence to proceed with a criminal case, promises to provide even more insight into Cosby's relationship with Constand, a former Temple University employee. This time, O'Neill said, jurors should expect the trial to last one month - at the very least.

The actor/comedian, best known as the wise and witty father on TV's The Cosby Show, has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, saying that any sexual encounter was consensual.

At one point, he asked James whether it was his job to determine each additional accuser's credibility or if his primary focus should be determining whether their allegations are relevant or unfairly prejudice Cosby.

Cosby's first trial ended in a mistrial last June 17 after a jury of seven men and five women selected from Allegheny County individually told the judge they were hopelessly deadlocked "on all counts" after deliberating more than 52 hours over six days.

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The judge did not say whether any of the other 19 accusers could testify, but says the defense team should prepare as if all witnesses will be taking the stand. Mesereau, Cosby's attorney, wants to call a witness who says Constand told her that she could falsely accuse a celebrity of sexual assault, then collect a lawsuit settlement that would allow her to start a business.

The allegations are impossible to defend against, James argued in court.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has.

"That's a lot of prior-bad-acts witnesses", O'Neill said. Attorneys on both sides argued over whether any of his accusers will testify against him.

The 80-year-old comedian is charged with assaulting and molesting a woman at his home outside Philadelphia more than 14 years ago.

Once selected, the jury of 12 and four alternate jurors is expected to be sequestered at an area hotel for the duration of the trial.

"I like this. I may take this invitation, if I decide to let (any accusers) in at all", O'Neill said.

James on Tuesday brought up references to "MeToo" on at least three occasions during the almost two hours she responded to the prosecution's motion from yesterday to allow they additional accusers.

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