Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial in Pennsylvania has been scheduled for June next year, and if prosecutors have their way, more than a dozen accusers will take the stand to detail what they claim is a decades-long pattern of attacks. During a hearing on Tuesday, Court of Common Pleas Judge Steven O'Neill in Norristown, Pennsylvania, set Cosby's trial for June 5, 2017, setting up what will likely be months of fiercely fought legal battles over the scope of evidence allowed at trial.
The Montgomery County District Attorney's office on Tuesday asked O'Neill's permission to call as witnesses 13 women who claim the 79-year-old entertainer assaulted them.
Cosby is charged with drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004 at his Pennsylvania home. Approximately 60 women have accused Cosby of similar attacks, though the Constand case is the only one to result in a criminal prosecution.
The former star of the 1980s TV series "The Cosby Show," who built a long career on family-friendly comedy, has denied assaulting anyone and has portrayed all of the encounters as consensual.
In incidents dating to the 1960s, all 13 women claim Cosby offered them either drinks or pills that left them disoriented and then sexually assaulted them in strikingly similar circumstances. Kevin Steele, the district attorney, said following the hearing that the women had all agreed to appear as witnesses.
Those accusers include Heidi Thomas, an aspiring actress; Linda Kirkpatrick, who played tennis with Cosby in Las Vegas; Margie Shapiro, a former donut shop employee; and Rebecca Lynn Neal, a masseuse. Some of the women are represented by the high-profile civil rights attorney Gloria Allred.