Cosby’s lawyers: Leave Quaaludes testimony out of trial

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Bill Cosby’s lawyers asked a judge Tuesday to exclude from his upcoming sexual assault trial any reference to his interactions with women other than the two who will testify against him — including his own decade-old testimony that he had obtained drugs to seduce women.

Their request revives the central legal battle in the case: Cosby’s lawyers have tried to limit the trial to a he-said-she-said case about the accusations of one woman, Andrea Constand, while prosecutors have fought to include evidence they say documents decades of serial sexual misconduct by the 79-year-old entertainer.

The latest filing comes in response to Judge Steven T. O’Neill’s ruling last month that only one additional accuser can testify against Cosby at trial. Prosecutors had sought to call 13 other women who claim he assaulted them in incidents that stretch back decades. 

Because only two accusers can testify, Cosby’s lawyers wrote, any mention of his contact with other women should also be excluded from trial. But much of the evidence they want to exclude comes from a 2005 deposition that O’Neill has previously ruled prosecutors can present at trial.

Their latest motion asks O’Neill to exclude portions of the deposition that referenced specific accusers other than Constand, or sexual interactions with women in general.

“Counsel should be precluded from making references to other women who allegedly had sexual contact with Mr. Cosby and witnesses should be admonished in advance of testifying that they may not reference other women, including those who have accused Mr. Cosby of sexual misconduct,” lawyers Brian McMonagle and Angela Agrusa wrote.

The once-sealed testimony by Cosby prompted prosecutors to reopen their decade-old investigation in 2015 and charge him with aggravated indecent assault.

Prosecutors say Cosby drugged and molested Constand, then a manager for Temple University’s women’s basketball program, in 2004 at his Cheltenham mansion. She sued him in 2005 after a former county district attorney declined to pursue the case.

In a deposition for that lawsuit — made public two years ago — Cosby discussed his past interactions with other women and admitted that he had obtained Quaaludes to give to women whom he wanted to seduce.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele cited Cosby’s admission about Quaaludes in his criminal complaint against Cosby. A spokeswoman for his office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday morning.

Cosby’s lawyers argued in their court filing that his testimony about Quaaludes was in response to questions about one accuser whom O’Neill is not permitting to testify at trial.

“Any discussion of Quaaludes would only divert the jury away from its duty of weighing the evidence as to Ms. Constand, the only alleged victim,” his lawyers wrote. “Quaaludes have not been available in this country for nearly two decades. They were part of a bygone era where the use of drugs for recreational purposes and in combination with casual sex was part of the culture.”

O’Neill has scheduled a hearing Monday for argument about all pre-trial motions, including the procedures for jury selection.

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