April 23, 2018
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Actor and comedian Bill Cosby could face 10 years in prison if convicted. — Reuters picActor and comedian Bill Cosby could face 10 years in prison if convicted. — Reuters picNORRISTOWN, April 17 — Police who initially investigated a woman’s claims that Bill Cosby drugged and raped her more than a decade ago are expected to take the stand today in a trial against the 80-year-old comedian.

Prosecutors in Pennsylvania are retrying Cosby on charges that he drugged and raped Andrea Constand, 45, at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2014. At the time, she was director of operations for the women’s basketball team at Temple University, the entertainer’s alma mater.

Cosby has repeatedly denied the accusations, saying any sexual contact was consensual.

The former TV star’s first trial ended with the jury unable to reach a verdict. Cosby could face 10 years in prison if convicted.

Constand has accused Cosby of attacking her when she visited him to discuss leaving her job. After she consumed three blue pills that he said would relax her, she said she became immobilised and awoke to find Cosby touching her breasts and vagina and using her hand to stroke his penis.

Cosby’s defense team yesterday sought to undercut Constand’s credibility, pressing her about accusations that she had schemed to plant a false story of abuse to reap hush money.

Cosby paid Constand US$3.38 million (RM13.4 million) to settle a civil suit that Constand filed after Pennsylvania prosecutors in 2005 initially declined to charge Cosby for the alleged assault.

Her mother Gianna Constand also took the stand yesterday, when she told the court that her daughter was “not the same” when she returned to Canada from the United States in the wake of her alleged assault.

Andrea Constand is one of about 50 women who have accused Cosby of assaults dating back decades, accusations that he denies. Constand’s accusation is the only one recent enough to be the subject of criminal prosecution.

District Attorney Kevin Steele brought criminal charges against Cosby in late 2015, days before the statute of limitations for the crimes was due to expire.

Five of Cosby’s other accusers have testified in this trial. — Reuters

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