Disgraced US megastar comedian Bill Cosby goes back on trial next week for alleged sexual assault dating back 14 years in a legal fight made tougher the second time round with more witnesses in a #MeToo world.
The now frail and isolated 80-year-old could spend the rest of his life behind bars if convicted of drugging and molesting former university employee Andrea Constand at his Philadelphia home in 2004.
The pioneering black entertainer’s first trial ended in a hung jury on June 17 with a sequestered panel hopelessly deadlocked after six days of testimony and 52 hours of deliberations.
But the case irrevocably damaged the legacy of an actor adored by millions as “America’s Dad” for his seminal role as a lovable father and obstetrician on hit 1984-92 television series “The Cosby Show.”
Around 60 women have publicly accused the Emmy-winner, who now claims to be legally blind, of being a serial sexual predator, alleging that he drugged and assaulted them over a span of 40 years.
But three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Constand, who now lives in Canada, are the only criminal charges to stick, with most of the alleged abuse too long ago to prosecute.
The second time around, no one expects a simple re-run at the court house in the Philadelphia suburb of Norristown in Pennsylvania.
Judge Steven O’Neill has agreed to let five other Cosby accusers testify, compared to just one the last time, handing a major victory to the prosecution, who will seek to paint Cosby as a serial predator.