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Damaging Testimony Permissible for Cosby Trial

Damaging testimony that Bill Cosby gave in an accuser’s lawsuit, including admissions that he gave young women drugs and alcohol before sex, can be used at his criminal sexual assault trial, WCAU reports.

The defense had insisted that Cosby only testify after being promised he wouldn’t be charged over a 2004 encounter with Andrea Constand, one of more than 50 women accusing him of sexual assault.

But at the time, Cosby’s lawyers never had an immunity agreement or put anything in writing.

The 79-year-old actor and comedian acknowledged in a 2006 deposition that he had a string of extramarital relationships with younger women. He said the acts were all consensual, but many of the women say they were drugged and molested.

Last year’s release of the deposition prompted prosecutors to reopen Constand’s criminal complaint, which was filed in 2005.  When asked about the 2004 encounter at his Pennsylvania home, Cosby said he put his hand down her pants on his couch.

“I don’t hear her say anything. And I don’t feel her say anything. And so I continue and I go into the area that is somewhere between permission and rejection. I am not stopped,” he testified.

Prosecutors say Constand was semiconscious after Cosby gave her three unmarked pills for stress. The deposition’s ruling is one of two key pretrial issues that will determine the scope of evidence against Cosby at trial.

How many other accusers will be allowed to testify remains unclear at this time. Prosecutors hope to call 13 additional women who say they were assaulted to the stand, in hopes of establishing a pattern of similar conduct.

Constand met The Cosby Show star at Temple University when she was managing the women’s basketball team. At the time, Cosby was a prominent booster and university trustee. In 2005 she told police that he had sexually assaulted her after she took what Cosby described as an herbal product.

In Constand’s case, Cosby has been charged with felony sexual assault.