Bill Cosby’s lawyers filed two motions on Thursday requesting that the sexual-assault case against the comedian be tossed just months out from a retrial. Cosby is being tried again on three charges of indecent sexual assault against Andrea Constand after a first trial ended with a hung jury last June. According to the defense, the prosecution withheld and destroyed evidence they say would’ve helped prove their client’s innocence. They say prosecutors notified them only last week that they’d interviewed a former colleague of Constand’s at Temple University last year prior to the first trial. The woman, Marguerite Jackson, had stated that Constand told her she made up the sexual-assault allegations to extort Cosby. Cosby’s lawyers say they have now been told notes from that interview were destroyed.
In the first trial, Judge Steven O’Neill, who will preside over the retrial, did not allow Cosby’s previous defense to call Jackson to the stand because Constand had testified that she did not know her, making the testimony hearsay, though Jackson told detectives last year that she and Constand had worked closely together. Cosby’s lawyers now say that because prosecutors withheld this evidence, Cosby does not have “any meaningful right to a fair trial.” Their second motion argues that prosecutors’ failure to establish with “absolutely certainty” a date when the alleged assault occurred – Constand has testified that it happened between December 2003 and January 2004 – could put it outside the 12-year statute of limitations. Recently, Cosby returned to stand-up comedy for the first time since the allegations, though he did not address the case. The retrial is set to begin in April.