PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A judge on Wednesday denied Bill Cosby‘s latest attempt to end his sexual assault case and rejected his request for competency testing of the 13 women who want to testify that they were drugged and violated by the comedian.
Judge Steven O’Neill hasn’t yet ruled on whether prosecutors will be allowed to call the women to the stand or on whether prosecutors can use Cosby’s lurid 2005 deposition from a related lawsuit as evidence.
The 79-year-old entertainer once known as America’s Dad for his role on “The Cosby Show” is scheduled to go on trial by June on charges he drugged and molested Andrea Constand, a former employee of his alma mater, Temple University, in 2004 at his suburban Philadelphia home.
Cosby has said the encounter was consensual. He is free on $1 million bail. He could get 10 years in prison.
Another pretrial hearing is scheduled next month, when both sides will debate whether the other accusers should be allowed to testify.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said Wednesday’s rulings “get us one step closer” to trial and “furthers our pursuit of justice for the victim in our case.”
The ruling was the second time O’Neill refused to throw out the case. In February, he tossed aside the former district attorney’s claim that he had granted Cosby immunity from prosecution a decade earlier.
Cosby lawyer Brian McMonagle declined to comment.
Defense lawyers had asked O’Neill to dismiss the case because they said prosecutors unfairly prejudiced him by waiting until last year to bring charges.
They said he has memory problems, is blind in his right eye and has glaucoma in both eyes and cannot identify his accusers in photographs or otherwise help with his defense. They also portrayed him as a political pawn who is being prosecuted only because Steele used the public furor over the comic to get elected last year.
Prosecutors had argued Cosby caused the delay in his arrest by fighting efforts by The Associated Press — in 2006 and again in 2014 — to unseal his testimony in Constand’s 2005 lawsuit.
Prosecutors said that it was not until a judge revealed excerpts of the deposition last year that they learned that Cosby had admitted to a series of affairs and acknowledged obtaining quaaludes to give to women before sex.
Cosby’s lawyers say he only sat for the deposition after the then-district attorney promised the entertainer would never face arrest in the Constand case.
The strength of the prosecution’s case may largely rest on whether Cosby’s damaging deposition is shown to jurors and how many of the other accusers are allowed to testify.
Cosby admitted in the deposition that he gave Constand three unmarked blue pills before a sexual encounter in January 2004. Constand said she wasn’t fully conscious and couldn’t give consent.
Cosby’s lawyers had wanted to have the other accusers questioned on their potential testimony in closed-door hearings in the judge’s chambers. Instead, their accounts will be argued in court Dec. 13-14 without the women present.
Cosby’s lawyers are expected to fight strenuously to show each woman’s testimony is not relevant, not part of a pattern of criminal behavior or too likely to prejudice a jury.
For each of the 13 women, the defense will do as much as possible to show “it’s not even fair to present this witness,” said defense lawyer David Rudovsky, a University of Pennsylvania law professor.
That could include arguing that Cosby wasn’t in the same town at the time; that he had alibi witnesses who have since died; that the accusers’ stories have changed over time; and that there’s an ulterior motive, financial or otherwise, behind the accusation.
“The prosecution has the burden of showing a common scheme and design,” Rudovsky said.
The AP typically doesn’t name people who say they are sexual-assault victims, but Constand’s lawyer has given permission for her to be named.
Famous Folks From Philly
1. Bryshere GraySource:Bryshere Instagram 1 of 51
2. Kevin Hart2 of 51
3. Amber Rose3 of 51
4. Will Smith4 of 51
5. Jill Scott5 of 51
6. Bradley Cooper6 of 51
7. The late, great Wilt Chamberlain7 of 51
8. Gary Dourdan8 of 51
9. Lee Danials9 of 51
10. The late Phyllis Hyman10 of 51
11. Holly Robinson Peete11 of 51
12. Kevin Bacon12 of 51
13. Shawn Stockman13 of 51
14. Bill Cosby14 of 51
15. Kevin Eubanks15 of 51
16. Clark Johnson16 of 51
17. Kobe Bryant17 of 51
18. Blythe Danner18 of 51
19. Eve Jeffers19 of 51
20. Eddie George20 of 51
21. Patti LaBelle21 of 51
22. The late Billie Holiday22 of 51
23. Rapper Kurupt23 of 51
24. Sidney Faison24 of 51
25. Gloria Allred25 of 51
26. The late Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes26 of 51
27. Lola Falana27 of 51
28. Colman Domingo28 of 51
29. The late Charles 'Honi' Coles29 of 51
30. Karen Malina White30 of 51
31. Nafessa Williams31 of 51
32. DJ Jazzy Jeff32 of 51
33. Mathew St. Patrick33 of 51
34. Monica Calhoun34 of 51
35. The late Sherman Helmsley35 of 51
36. Marc Lamont Hill36 of 51
37. Robert Golphin37 of 51
38. Brian Anthony Wilson38 of 51
39. Cat Wilson39 of 51
40. Crystal Waters40 of 51
41. The late Ed Bradley41 of 51
42. Eugene Byrd42 of 51
43. Musiq Soulchild43 of 51
44. Ms. Jade44 of 51
45. Richard Gere45 of 51
46. The late Tammi Terrell46 of 51
47. Wanya Morris47 of 51
48. Jazmine Sullivan48 of 51
49. Joey Lawrence49 of 51
50. Chris Matthews50 of 51
51. Dawn Staley51 of 51