In what might be the only light at the end of the tunnel for comic and TV star turned accused rapist Bill Cosby a recent court ruling lessens the accusations being leveled against the fallen superstar. According to the Associated Press, a judge ruled that only one of the comedian’s many accusers will be allowed to testify this June when Cosby will be tried on charges he drugged and “violated” Temple University employee Andrea Constand back in 2004. The move was a tough setback for prosecutors, who wanted to put up to 13 women on the stand to help establish a pattern of aberrant criminal behavior. But Judge Steven O’Neill said the women, whose allegations lie outside the statute of limitations for prosecution, would unfairly prejudice the jury against Cosby.
Of course, it may only take one, plus the accuser. The witness is expected to testify that Cosby drugged and raped her in 1996 at a Los Angeles hotel. The prosecution will have to hope both this witness and Constand will have enough credibility to sway the jury, many of whom will likely remember Cosby as the amicable matriarch of the Huxtable clan from the hugely popular 1980s sitcom, The Cosby Show. If convicted on the count, Cosby could do ten years in prison. But, regardless of how it goes in court, Cosby’s reputation is all but ruined. There were rumors of alleged crimes for decades. They remained only rumors as most people were unwilling to believe the creator of Fat Albert and Cliff Huxtable capable of this sort of behavior. But the rumors persisted.
Then, a few years ago, comic Hannibal Buress casually mentioned the allegations and a new generation, who only knew Cosby from pudding pop commercials, started digging. The internet provided a deep trove of “evidence” and innuendo. Suddenly, more and more women were coming forward, accusing Cosby of rape and assault. Some were doubted and discredited outright, but others told plausible stories … tales that, in some cases, Cosby did not immediately deny. He even agreed that sometimes he gave women both alcohol and drugs, though, he says only at their request and never with the intention of raping them. For the next year or two, the case was little more than a popular he said/they said on social media. Fodder for late night TV and Facebook. Then, a woman surfaced who said the alleged attack happened within the time allotted for prosecution. While most of the alleged cases were well outside the statute of limitations, Cosby really could go to trial on this one.
As prosecutors went to work, a shocked public came to grips with the news. Could it really be true? And, then they turned on Cosby, enraged at his double life, angry at being fooled by a man they now saw as an amoral predator. Cosby continued to deny the allegations of rape, though fewer and fewer people believed him. Now that he will finally get his day in court, there may not be any pieces to pick up … even if he wins.