Nearly a year after Bill Cosby was freed from a Pennsylvania prison on a technicality, the infamous comedian is set to begin a civil sexual assault trial.
A civil trial against Bill Cosby is expected to start Monday (May 23) after a judge ruled on May 17 that the sexual battery case could move forward, USA Today reports, citing information from the attorneys involved in the case.
Judy Huth, who accuses the embattled comedian of groping her as a teenager in the Playboy Mansion in 1974, filed the suit in 2014. But it was delayed in 2015 after Cosby was arrested in Pennsylvania on sex-crime charges. Jury selection begins Monday in Santa Monica, Calif.
According to the lawsuit, Huth, 64, was 15 when Cosby groped her while visiting the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles. Cosby, 84, has denied her allegations.
Jennifer Bonjean, Cosby’s attorney, failed to convince Superior Court Judge Craig Karlan to dismiss or delay the trial based on the plaintiff recently changing her story, USA Today reports. The defense team says Huth now claims that when the incident happened she was not 15 and it didn’t happen in 1974.
“Plaintiff has a whole new story now: she claims that the incident happened in February and/or March 1975 – shortly before her 17th birthday,” Bonjean’s motion states.
These newly alleged facts make it difficult for the defense to prepare in time for the trial, Bonjean stated in her motion to dismiss or delay the proceedings. The judge declined, opting instead to allow the defense to depose Huth and a witness again, Bonjean told USA Today.
The plaintiff’s attorney, Gloria Allred, declined to comment on the case but confirmed to the newspaper that the trial is scheduled to begin on Monday.
Huth has waited nearly a decade to have her day in court against Cosby, whom dozens of other women have accused of sex crimes.
In 2015, Cosby was arrested in Pennsylvania on sex crime charges. Following two criminal trials, he was convicted of sexual assault in 2018, accused of drugging and raping Andrea Constand, a one-time protégé. He was sentenced to three to ten years in prison.
However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his sexual assault conviction on June 30, 2021, after finding that a “non-prosecution agreement” had been made with a previous prosecutor on the case, which should have prevented him from ever being charged in the first place.
On March 7, the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow to prosecutors who wanted the comedian returned to prison when the justices declined to hear the case, which could have possibly reversed the Pennsylvania high court’s ruling.
According to USA Today, Huth’s case is the last civil suit in a state court against Cosby. One more lawsuit remains in a federal court in New Jersey brought by accuser Lili Bernard who alleges that Cosby, in 1990, drugged and raped her in Atlantic City.