Emotional testimony as Cosby sexual assault trial begins

Emotional testimony as Cosby sexual assault trial begins

Bill Cosby's trial for sexual assault opened in Pennsylvania with tearful testimony from one of his alleged accusers as prosecutors painted the megastar turned pariah as a sexual predator who established trust with younger women before incapacitating them with drugs and wine.

Bill Cosby - afp

In one of America's biggest celebrity trials in years, the pioneering black comedian faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault, which each carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail and a $25,000 fine.

The 79-year-old, for years feted by millions as "America's Dad" on "The Cosby Show" is on trial for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting a university employee at his Philadelphia home 13 years ago.

Dressed in a navy suit, he sat next to his defense team at the Montgomery County Courthouse in the Philadelphia suburb of Norristown, starring in the direction of the jury or casting his eyes down. 

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Around 60 women have publicly accused the Emmy-winning television star and comedian of being a serial sexual predator for decades, ending his career and leaving him isolated by friends and celebrities.

Several of those accusers were in court on Monday, but his fate rests on the allegations of just one, Andrea Constand, related to just one encounter in January 2014. It is the only criminal case against him as most of the alleged abuse happened too long ago to prosecute.

Constand, a 44-year-old Canadian, was at the time director of basketball operations at Temple University, where Cosby served on the Board of Trustees at the time of the alleged assault in January 2004.

"This man used his power and his fame and his previously practiced method of placing a young, trusting woman in an incapacitated state so he could sexually pleasure himself," said assistant district attorney Kristen Feden.

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