April 2 (UPI) — The sexual assault retrial of comedian Bill Cosby started in eastern Pennsylvania Monday, as attorneys began jury selection.
The 80-year-old comedian is accused of drugging and assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand in 2014 at his Philadelphia-area home. Constand received an undisclosed amount of cash in a civil suit prior to the criminal trial.
Cosby faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault. Arguments in the retrial are scheduled to begin as early as next Monday.
The first case ended in a mistrial last June after six days of jury deliberation. However, there are two key changes since then; First, prosecutors can call five additional women to testify of alleged abuse — whereas they were allowed to call only one last year. Second, the new trial will occur after the rise of the social media #MeToo movement that encouraged women to speak about experiences of sexual abuse.
In the new trial, accuser Janice Dickinson will be among those to testify. Dickinson alleged that Cosby drugged and raped her in 1982 in Lake Tahoe, Nev.
“Janice Dickinson signed a sworn declaration that Bill Cosby had drugged and raped her. Mr. Cosby failed to submit any declaration in response, meaning he did not deny her allegations,” Dickinson attorney Lisa Bloom said.
Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill hinted that the 12 jurors in the new prosecution may not be allowed to hear Cosby’s prior testimony about giving quaaludes to women before sex. O’Neill said Friday the “defendant is not on trial for what he said in his deposition.”