Bill Cosby’s retrial is set to begin on Monday in Pennsylvania, and the dynamics surrounding this trial are much different than the trial the comedian faced in 2017.
The 80-year-old comedian, best known for playing Cliff Huxtable on “The Cosby Show”, is facing three counts of aggravated indecent assault. He’s been accused of drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand, a former employee of Temple University, in his home back in 2004.
Cosby faced a previous trial for these charges last year, but Judge Steven O’Neill of Montgomery County declared a mistrial because jurors were unable to come to a unanimous verdict. Cosby and Constand reached a civil settlement in 2006, although the details of that settlement have remained confidential.
Cosby’s new lawyer, Tom Mesereau, is expected to portray Constand as being “greedy” during the civil settlement. Mesereau is best known for defending Michael Jackson during his child molestation trial. Mesereau plans on calling Margo Jackson to the stand, a woman who claims that Constand told her that she could lie about being drugged and raped by a famous celebrity and get a lot of money for it. Jackson did not testify during Cosby’s first trial.
The prosecution’s case relies heavily on Constand’s testimony, since there is very little forensic evidence. The prosecution does have one thing going for them, however. The rise of the recent #MeToo movement has put a spotlight on sexual harassment and assault in the entertainment industry.
Entertainment icons like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Matt Lauer have all faced sexual assault allegations and their career’s have suffered because of it. Cosby is the only entertainer currently facing a trial.
During jury selection, potential jurors were asked how they felt about the current #MeToo movement, so their viewpoints on it could play a factor in Cosby’s retrial. The jury consists of six white men, one African American man, four white women, and one African American woman. The six alternate jurors include four men and two women.
Prosecutors will be allowed to have five women testify during Cosby’s retrial. Only one woman, who previously accused the comedian of drugging and assaulting her, testified in his first trial.
Cosby’s trial could have both legal ramifications for the comedian, and cultural consequences for the nation as people focus on how the jury’s decision will be affected by the #MeToo movement. Cosby faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.