PHILADELPHIA (UPI) — Bill Cosby‘s criminal trial for alleged sexual assault has been pushed back several months, and will possibly include the testimony of 13 victims, prosecutors said.
Judge Steven O’Neill set a new tentative date of June 5, 2017 for Cosby’s trial to begin, pushing back from the expected fall beginning, due to Cosby’s lead lawyer being “extraordinarily overbooked.” O’Neill also said he would work to have the tentative date scrubbed for something sooner.
Montgomery Country District Attorney Kevin Steele is trying Cosby for the alleged sexual assault of former Temple basketball player Andrea Constand in 2004 at the comedian’s home.
When the trial does begin, prosecutors might be able to draw upon the witness testimony of 13 other women who allegedly were assaulted by Cosby. Prosecutors filed the request to include 13 of 60 alleged victims’ testimonies to establish a history of “prior bad acts.”
O’Neill said at Tuesday’s pretrial meeting he would consider the request later, giving Cosby’s legal team time to review the material.
If the judge allows the testimony, the witnesses’ identities would likely be revealed during the trial, creating a possible media storm.
“I don’t know the names and right now I don’t need to know the names,” O’Neill said. “The elephant is in the room. We now have 13 unnamed [alleged victims]. We have a courtroom full of the press … I don’t know the identities can be protected.”