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March 05, 2018

Bill Cosby slated for pre-trial hearing in Montgomery County on Monday

Bill Cosby Legal
Bill Cosby David Swanson/Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS via SIPA

In this file photo, Bill Cosby is arraigned at Montgomery County District Court in Cheltenham, Pa., on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015.

In anticipation of Bill Cosby’s retrial scheduled to begin April 2, the accused sexual assailant will appear in Montgomery County court Monday for pre-trial hearings.

After the initial trial last June ended in a mistrial, prosecutors are now asking that 19 of Cosby’s accusers, in addition to Andrea Constand (on whom the criminal case centers), be allowed to testify. Before the first trial, the prosecution asked for 13 women to testify and only one was permitted.

On Cosby’s side, lawyers are asking to bring in a witness who claims to have knowledge of Constand fabricating the story that Cosby drugged and molested her at his house in Cheltenham Township in 2004.

Cosby’s defense team will also ask that the case be tossed because prosecutors can’t meet the burden of proof.

In the time since the retrial, several factors have changed in the Cosby case, most significantly Cosby’s legal team. Last summer his lead attorney Brian McMonagle left the case, which was the latest in a stream of legal departures from Cosby’s team, all starting with the 2015 departure of long-time attorney Marty Singer.

Tom Mesereau, who previously represented Michael Jackson, now leads the legal team.

The trial in April will have the same judge as last June, Judge Stephen O’Neill, and will once again take place in Norristown. However, unlike the previous trial which pulled a jury from Allegheny County, the new jury will be comprised of Montgomery County residents.

Though the 13 accusers were not permitted to testify at the first trial, there’s a possibility the testimonies of the proposed 19 witnesses will be allowed at the retrial in light of a Pennsylvania Supreme Court case – Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Charles Ray Hicks – which prosecutors argue gives the women the grounds to testify. If those women are allowed to testify, some experts seem think it will be impossible for Cosby to be acquitted.