Topless protester charges Bill Cosby as assault retrial begins

Topless protester charges Bill Cosby as assault retrial begins
UPI

April 9 (UPI) — Opening arguments in the retrial of comedian Bill Cosby begin on Monday.

Cosby has pleaded not guilty to three counts of aggravated indecent assault. A mistrial was declared in June after jurors could not agree on a unanimous decision on any of the charges. The first trial provided little forensic evidence and featured primary witness Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee who said Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her at his home in 2004.

The retrial, starting Monday in Norristown, Pa., comes after the recent rise of a women’s movement condemning some men with power in the entertainment business. Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer and Kevin Spacey are among those who have been accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault, and their careers have suffered. Cosby, though, is the only Hollywood celebrity facing criminal charges. If convicted he could receive up to 10 years in prison.

Cosby was greeted by protesters as he arrived at the Montgomery County court house on Monday. One, a topless woman, vaulted a barricade and rushed toward Cosby but was grabbed by sheriff’s deputies. Chants of “Women’s Lives Mattrer” could be heard as the alleged assailant was led away in handcuffs.

For the new trial, the jury of seven men and five women were asked about their thoughts on the #MeToo movement during the jury selection process. The prosecution will be able to seek testimony from up to five women who say Cosby drugged and assaulted them. Only one testified at the first trial. Cosby is also represented by a new lawyer, Tom Mesereau, who defended Michael Jackson in a 2005 child molestation case.

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