Could Cosby go to jail without physical evidence that he sexually abused a woman? That’s the question on a lot of people’s minds this week after the comedian and formerly universally beloved actor was arrested and charged with felony aggravated indecent assault.
Bill Cosby was charged in Pennsylvania on Wednesday, and sources say he could be looking at a ten-year maximum sentence if a jury decides he is guilty of assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. Constand is one of over 50 women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault, but this is the first charge the comedian has faced, and there has been a hugely mixed reaction. Ms. Constand took to Twitter this week to ask her followers — as well as detractors — to be mindful of what they say about the case.
“Let’s all stay classy plz! That includes anybody who may be inserting their opinion as to whether anything was fully investigated period,” she wrote on the social media site.
The trial won’t have any physical evidence to take into consideration, so the decision will rest on testimony only. One major issue the defense will be up against is the fact that Bill Cosby has been accused by so many other women over a period of several months of similar assaults. According to CNN’s Danny Cevallos, “Even if the defense successfully keeps out the majority of other accusers’ evidence and if Pennsylvania prosecutors successfully introduce only a fraction of these alleged “other acts,” the effect could still be devastating to this defendant.”
There’s been some speculation that the defense will have a difficult time arguing against a sworn statement from Cosby himself — taken in 2005 — in which he admitted to using prescription sedatives to seduce at least one woman.
In short, there are so many factors that will affect the outcome of the trial that it’s difficult to even speculate on Cosby’s fate, although that hasn’t stopped people from doing just that all over the web. Even Kanye West mentions the cases in his new single, “Facts”.
Another question others are still pondering: could Cosby hurt his defense by testifying? It’s unclear at this point whether he will take the stand, and in most cases testimony from women who have accused Cosby of similar acts will not be allowed. As of now, according to various news sources, Andrea Constand will testify, as will her mother. However, if another accuser has a testimony that includes a key piece of information parallel to Constand’s story, she may be allowed on the stand.
Friends and fans, Thank You.
— Bill Cosby (@BillCosby) January 1, 2016
Bill Cosby is currently involved in a defamation lawsuit brought against him by seven women who accused him of sexual assault and say he defamed them when he vehemently denied their claims. Tamara Green, Therese Serignese, Linda Traitz, Louisa Moritz, Barbara Bowman, Joan Tarshis, and Angela Leslie are awaiting the next court date on January 6, when Cosby’s wife Camille will testify. Camille Cosby requested to be dismissed from giving a testimony in the case, but on New Year’s Eve U.S. Magistrate Judge David H. Hennessy denied her request.
“I find no merit in Mrs. Cosby’s arguments, and accordingly deny her motion in its entirety…She argues that her subpoena threatens ‘the strong public interest in encouraging the protection of marital communications’ and mentions in passing ‘the shame and embarrassment of responding to questions about defendant’s alleged infidelities and sexual misconduct. While these are not unimportant considerations, they do not outweigh the potential significance of Mrs. Cosby’s testimony. … Mrs. Cosby’s dual role as defendants’ wife and business manager, render it at least plausible that Mrs. Cosby is in possession of information that is ‘relevant to any party’s claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case,” Hennessy wrote in his ruling.
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