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Prosecutors want testimony of 19 other accusers for Cosby retrial

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(Reuters) – Pennsylvania prosecutors on Thursday asked the judge who will preside over the second sexual assault trial of actor Bill Cosby to allow the testimony of 19 other accusers, including 12 women who were not allowed testify in the entertainer’s first trial.

Cosby, 80, is scheduled go to trial on April 2 on charges that he sexually assaulted Andrea Constand at his home in the Philadelphia suburb of Cheltenham in January 2004, after drugging her and rendering her incapacitated.

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Constand worked with the women’s basketball team at Temple University, where Cosby, a university alumnus, befriended her.

His first trial ended in a mistrial last June when a jury was unable to reach a verdict after deliberating for five days.

In court papers filed on Thursday, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele asked Judge Steven O’Neill to admit evidence from 19 women regarding Cosby’s “prior bad acts,” even though it is not directly related to the alleged assault on Constand.

The testimony is relevant, prosecutors argued, because it would enable them to establish that Cosby “who over the course of decades, intentionally intoxicated young women in signature fashion and then sexually assaulted them while they were incapacitated, could not have been mistaken about whether or not Ms. Constand was conscious enough to consent to any sexual contact.”

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Cosby, who starred in the 1980s TV series “The Cosby Show” and built a long career on family-friendly comedy, has denied assaulting anyone and has portrayed all of the encounters as consensual.

Steele asked O’Neill to allow 13 of the 19 women to testify in the first trial, but the judge denied the request for all but one, Kelley Johnson, who prosecutors said testified to an “eerily similar” encounter with Cosby.

The other accusers, whom prosecutors did not identify, would testify to similar encounters, prosecutors said.

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In general, a defendant’s prior bad acts are not admissible as evidence that he or she committed a particular crime. Prosecutors, however, are allowed on rare occasions to use evidence or witnesses to prove a defendant committed a crime as part of a longstanding pattern of behavior.

Judges typically weigh the value of such evidence against the possibility that it will unfairly prejudice a jury.

(Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Frank McGurty and Leslie Adler)

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump has been ‘insulated’ by his wealth to never have to learn from his mistakes: biographer

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President Donald Trump's inherited wealth has meant he's never had to learn from his mistakes, Trump biographer Tim O'Brien told MSNBC's Brian Williams on Thursday.

"Bloomberg Opinion writer and our next guest Tim O’Brien writes today, 'Yes, of course, you need a certain kind of appalling narcissism to be comfy promoting yourself as heaven-sent in a televised press briefing and as a deity on Twitter. It’s doubly unhinged when you’re doing this as president,'" Williams said. "He goes on 'The Trump of the past few weeks is the same disordered figure of the past several decades with, I suspect, a big dollop of something new blended in: unbridled and unmanageable panic.'"

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‘Both Putin and Xi will be voting Trump in 2020’: NYT columnist says Russia and China want ‘turmoil and chaos’

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The Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China are both rooting for President Donald Trump to win re-election in 2020, a New York Times columnist argued on MSNBC on Thursday.

Thomas Friedman was interviewed by Lawrence O'Donnell on "The Last Word."

"What do we know about how the leaders of other countries see Donald Trump at this stage in their dealings with him?" O'Donnell asked. "Especially this weekend, when it comes at the end of a week in which they’ve heard him call himself the King of Israel, they have heard him say he is The Chosen One. They have heard all the crazy things that everyone here has heard the president say."

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Trump is ‘not a stable genius’: GOP strategist says the president ‘doesn’t remember who and where he is’

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President Donald Trump's mental fitness is lacking, a top Republican strategist explained on "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell.

Rick Wilson, the author of the 2018 bestselling book Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever, blasted the commander-in-chief.

"Rick Wilson, your assessment of where the president stands as he heads off to the G7 summit?" O'Donnell asked.

"I think Donald Trump has had a week in which he is proving that this isn’t 87-dimensional chess game, this isn't some masterful strategy of communications or persuasion," Wilson replied. "This is an old man who is sick and who has problems and who has mental disconnects and who has aphasias and who has moments where he doesn’t remember who and where he is."

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