A Pennsylvania judge has once again refused to dismiss sexual assault charges against Bill Cosby — and also ruled that accusers who want to take the stand do not have to undergo competency hearings.
Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neil said he has not yet made a decision on another key matter: whether prosecutors can use a deposition Cosby gave in a civil case, in which he talked about giving women Qualuudes for sex, during the criminal trial.
Cosby is charged with drugging and molesting Andrea Constand at his Pennsylvania home in 2004 — the only criminal case stemming from dozens of claims of sexual misconduct that have surfaced in the last year and a half. He has denied any wrongdoing.
At the time of the incident, prosecutors declined to charge Cosby. Instead, Constand sued him and won a settlement. It was during that litigation that he was asked under oath about giving Quaaludes to women in the 1970s.
"Quaaludes happen to be the drug that kids, young people were using to party with and there were times when I wanted to have them just in case," he said.
"When you got the Quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these Quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?" an attorney asked.
"Yes," Cosby replied.
In court papers filed in August, Cosby's lawyers argued that the deposition should never have been unsealed and that he never would have testified if he had known he would one day be facing criminal charges. The judge said he will rule on that before a mid-December hearing.
Cosby is also fighting to keep 13 other women who say they were drugged and attacked by him from testifying during the Constand trial. His lawyers suggested some of the women were too old to remember events from decades ago and should be given competency hearings, but the judge dismissed that idea.
The judge also shot down Cosby's quest to get the case tossed on the grounds that he has end-stage glaucoma and is legally blind and will not be able to see the evidence against him or recognize his accusers.
"While every one of the Commonwealth's witnesses will have the right to their own 'recollections' of those 'stored fragments of information' using writings, photographs and other visual aids, Mr. Cosby — the only person whose freedom is at stake — does not," the defense wrote in court filings.
Representatives for Cosby could not be reached for immediate comment on the judge's rulings.
Gloria Allred, the attorney who represents some of the 13 women, praised the rulings.
We are gratified that the court denied Mr. Cosby's attempt to put potential "prior bad act" witnesses through a competency hearing which could have intimidated and harassed them.
"We are gratified that the court denied Mr. Cosby's attempt to put potential 'prior bad act' witnesses through a competency hearing which could have intimidated and harassed them," she said in an email.
"Once again, Mr. Cosby and his legal team have lost another legal attempt to avoid having to face his accuser in a court of law.
"We are hopeful that this will be Mr. Cosby's last attempt to avoid trial, but we would not be surprised if there are more such attempts."