NORRISTOWN, Pa. (Reuters) – Bill Cosby’s defense team on Wednesday will cross-examine a witness who says the comedian drugged her for four days and sexually molested her in 1984, as his retrial for assaulting another woman resumes in a Pennsylvania court.
Heidi Thomas, an aspiring actress who met Cosby for career coaching, testified on Tuesday that Cosby gave her spiked wine that kept her stupefied for four days, and she awoke to find him naked and attempting to force himself on her.
Her accusations are not the basis of the case as Cosby is on trial on charges of assaulting another woman 20 years later. But unlike in the first trial, which ended in a mistrial last year when a deadlocked jury failed to reach a verdict, the judge is allowing up to five other accusers to testify against Cosby.
The 80-year-old entertainer, once known as America’s Dad for his endearing role on the 1980s television hit “The Cosby Show,” is charged with aggravated indecent assault of Andrea Constand, now 44, in 2004. He denies wrongdoing, saying any sexual contact was consensual, and his lawyers have portrayed Constand as a money-grubbing con artist who falsified her claims. Cosby paid her $3.4 million in 2006 to settle a civil lawsuit.
Defense lawyers on Wednesday will attempt to impeach the credibility of Thomas, who told the court she was reading a monologue of a character who was drunk when Cosby persuaded her to drink white wine, and that she recalled “only snapshots” of the next four days.
When she awoke, she said, she found Cosby naked, attempting to force his penis into her mouth.
“I felt I must have said something that was misunderstood,” Thomas said. “I wanted to fix it. Your reputation is everything. It’s easy to be accused of sleeping your way to the top. He said he was going to be my mentor and I could call anytime if I needed advice.”
Cosby’s defense lawyers briefly cross-examined Thomas on Tuesday before court adjourned and were due to resume on Wednesday morning.
Although some 50 women have accused Cosby of molestation, all but one of the incidents were too old to be prosecuted.
Reporting by David DeKok; Writing by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Cynthia Osterman
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