Absent of the media circus and widespread attention to Bill Cosby‘s sexual assault trials and conviction, the latest legal case against the disgraced comedian quietly began nearly one year after the disgraced comedian had his conviction for sexual assault vacated in a surprise ruling.
Jury selection got underway Monday in the trial for a civil lawsuit being brought by a woman who claims Cosby sexually assaulted her when she was a teenager nearly 50 years ago.
Judy Huth‘s lawsuit claims that one week after meeting Cosby when she was 15 years old in 1974, he gave her and her teenage friend pills and alcohol while they played pool before taking them to the Playboy Mansion. Cosby told the teenagers to lie about their ages before he sexually assaulted them, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit had been paused while Cosby served more than two years in prison after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee who made claims similar to Huth’s and the dozens of other women who have come forward with their own allegations of being drugged and groped.
However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s overturning of Cosby’s conviction on June 30, 2021, not only freed him from prison but also cleared the way for Huth’s civil lawsuit to move forward after it was first filed in 2017.
At the time it was announced that Huth’s case would move forward, A statement posted to Cosby’s since-deleted social media channels and attributed to his lead lawyer Jennifer Bonjean was very optimistic.
“With the reversal of Mr. Cosby’s conviction, his legal team, led by Jennifer Bonjean of the Bonjean Law Group, now turns its attention to the civil lawsuit brought by Gloria Allred on behalf of her client Judy Huth,” the statement from last summer said in part. “Since Mr. Cosby’s release from prison and the dismissal of all charges against him, Ms. Allred has been hard at work giving press statements about the alleged merits of her client’s 45-year-old allegations. Ms. Bonjean looks forward to fighting the case in the courthouse where it matters – rather than at press conferences on the courthouse stairs where it doesn’t.”
But that statement came before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Craig Karlan allowed the case to move forward.
That ruling promoted more of an outcry from Bonjean, according to the Associated Press.
“It’s not fair,” Bonjean said last week. “It’s called trial by ambush.”
That previous optimism gave way to apparent worry about Cosby’s chances in court.
“It is extraordinarily difficult to defend against an allegation from 50 years ago. Nobody could do it, innocent, guilty or something in between,” Bonjean added.
While he’s kept a relatively low profile since his conviction was overturned last year, media reports have suggested Cosby, who will be 85 in July, is plotting a comeback.
Cosby’s main spokesperson Andrew Wyatt said in September that the man formerly revered as “America’s Dad” was at home in Massachusetts “spending time on the phone working on a number of projects.”
Wyatt added: “Things are happening. He’s working on a number of projects right now, a number of ideas for a TV show that has him on the phone with producers, working with guys every day. He’s giving his creative ideas and input.”
Wyatt also said Cosby was in the process of writing a book.
In addition, Cosby reportedly put a planned comedy tour on hold due to Huth’s lawsuit.
However, Huth isn’t the only person still bringing legal claims against Cosby.
Lilli Bernard also filed a lawsuit against Cosby claiming he drugged and raped her on multiple occasions decades ago in New Jersey. Her civil suit seeks $225 million in damages for Cosby allegedly sexually assaulting her in an Atlantic City hotel in 1990.
Bernard’s lawsuit claims the then-aspiring actress was on the set of “The Cosby Show” when Cosby “offered to be a mentor” to her. They began working together with Cosby as her acting coach, but by the summer of 1990, Bernard had been sexually assaulted by him, according to the lawsuit.
A statement was released via Cosby’s Instagram slamming the judicial process that allows such an “unconstitutional” lawsuit to move forward.
Bernard’s previous allegations against Cosby in 2015 were not criminally investigated because a prosecutor said the statute of limitations had expired. However, Bernard’s lawyer told Insider that there is no such statute for civil lawsuits in New Jersey, so their claims should stand.
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