Bill Cosby trial: Civil trial on charges of sexual abuse to begin next week

Jury selection will begin Monday in California in a civil suit brought against Bill Cosby, alleging that he had groped a teenage girl at the Playboy Mansion nearly 50 years ago, USA Today reported.

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On Tuesday, a judge denied a motion from Cosby’s attorneys, who sought to have the case dismissed after they argued the plaintiff, Judy Huth, had changed her story about when the alleged assault took place.

“Plaintiff has a whole new story now: she claims that the incident happened in February and/or March 1975 — shortly before her 17th birthday,” according to a motion filed last week by Cosby’s lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean.

Bonjean argued in her motion that the change in Huth’s story damages Cosby’s ability to defend against new claims, with the trial scheduled to begin next week.

According to Huth’s suit, Cosby groped her in 1974 when she was 15 and visiting the Playboy Mansion.

Huth said she now believes the incident happened in 1975, shortly before her 17th birthday.

Cosby has denied the allegations.

According to The Associated Press, Cosby, 85, will not attend any of the hearings, his attorneys said.

“It is extraordinarily difficult to defend against an allegation from 50 years ago. Nobody could do it, innocent, guilty or something in between,” Bonjean, who also represented Cosby in his criminal case and is representing R. Kelly in his Chicago child pornography trial, said outside court. “You work, you work, you work to create a defense, and then all of a sudden at the last minute, it’s a bait-and-switch.”

Huth’s suit is one of nearly 70 lawsuits filed against Cosby that claim he drugged and raped women since the 1960s.

In 2015, Cosby was arrested in Pennsylvania on charges that he sexually assaulted a woman in 2004. He was found guilty in 2018 on the charges and sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison.

After serving nearly three years, the conviction was overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Cosby was freed last summer.