Woman who says Bill Cosby sexually assaulted her as a teenager begins to testify


Judy Huth spoke in Santa Monica on Monday to describe a moment in 1975 when, as a teenager, she said she met Bill Cosby in a California park where he was filming a movie.

A few days later, at his invitation, she says, she and her friend went to his tennis club, and then eventually to the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles.

“It was an adventure,” Ms Huth said. “We were children. He was a celebrity.”

But later that day, the man she had admired as a famous comedian assaulted her, she said, after taking her to an isolated room in the mansion. Ms Huth said she was 16 at the time.

Mr Cosby has denied sexually assaulting Ms Huth or any of the other women who have come forward in recent years to accuse him of sexual misconduct. He said any relationship was consensual.

But Ms Huth, 64, sued Mr Cosby for sexual assault, and her story, which was not completed on Monday, is the centerpiece of her case against the entertainer, who completed his fourth day of testimony.

Ms Huth testified she and her friend were impressed when they saw Mr Cosby – along with other movie stars – in a park in San Marino on the set of the film ‘Let’s Do It Again’.

According to his account, Mr Cosby gave the two teenagers alcohol at a house he was staying at, told them to drink if he beat them at a game of pool, then asked them to follow him in a car until at the mansion.

“Are you ready for your surprise?” he said, according to Ms. Huth. “I had no idea what it could be,” she said.

Her lawyers showed the jury a photograph of Ms Huth standing with Mr Cosby in the mansion’s playroom, taken, she told the court, “before he assaulted me.” It happened 15 minutes later.

Ms Huth’s testimony was interrupted at the end of the day’s hearing before she could discuss what she has, in the court documents in her case, accused of doing: placing her hand in her pants, then force her to fondle him.

The impact of that event, his attorneys told the court, included depression and anxiety. She had a happy childhood, she said, growing up in Temple City, Calif. But her lawyers said the incident derailed her and she didn’t graduate from high school until she was 60.

Lawyers for Mr Cosby have disputed Ms Huth’s account, suggesting their meeting took place years later when she was a consenting older visitor to the mansion who, by her own account, did not fled after the encounter but stayed for hours, swimming in the pool and watching a movie.

Ms. Huth’s lawsuit, filed in 2014, was largely on hold while Pennsylvania prosecutors prosecuted Mr. Cosby, 84, on a criminal charge of sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a former employee of Temple University.

But Mr. Cosby’s 2018 conviction in the case was overturned last year by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on due process grounds, and Mr. Cosby was released after serving nearly three years of a sentence. from three to ten years.

Earlier on Monday, lawyers for Mr Cosby had cross-examined Donna Samuelson, Ms Huth’s friend who had accompanied her to the mansion. She told the court last week that Ms Huth had been distraught after her meeting with Mr Cosby but that Ms Samuelson persuaded her to stay.

Mr. Cosby’s defense has tried to undermine the credibility of this account, suggesting that the two friends had coordinated their stories before Ms. Huth first surrendered to police in 2014. (Prosecutors ultimately declined to bring criminal complaint because the statute of limitations had passed. )

But Ms Samuelson said she was simply mistaken when she initially reported to authorities that Ms Huth was 15 at the time, not 16 as Ms Huth now says.

Lawyers for Mr Cosby showed a plan of the playroom at the Playboy Mansion and said Ms Samuelson was wrong to say a person could only access the bathroom from an adjoining bedroom.

Lawyers for Mr Cosby also said it was impossible for Ms Samuelson to have played the arcade game ‘Donkey Kong’ there in 1975, as she testified in a deposition. The game wasn’t released until six years later.

Ms Samuelson said she meant she had played a game like Donkey Kong.

She denied that she and Ms Huth had coordinated their accounts before Ms Huth turned herself in to police in 2014. “We weren’t setting anything up,” she said. “We were just recounting our memories.”

Jennifer Bonjean, a lawyer for Mr Cosby, also broached the subject of race in a way that suggests Ms Samuelson was motivated to eliminate Mr Cosby because he is black. She said, for example, that Ms Samuelson, in her pre-trial deposition, described the decor of her Los Angeles home as “jungly” and “African”, referring to the leaf print on the wallpaper.

“It wasn’t unusual for members of your friend group to use racial slurs like the N-word,” the attorney claimed.

Mrs. Samuelson said she had never done that.

“I’m not racist,” she said.

Lawyers for Mr. Cosby noted during the court proceedings that Ms. Huth’s recollections of when his meeting took place have changed: while she first said it happened in 1974, then that she was 15, she more recently concluded that it was in 1975, when she was 16. California law classifies a 16-year-old as a minor. Disputing Ms Huth’s account, Mr Cosby’s lawyers have suggested they met years after she said they had, when she was no longer a minor.

Last week, Ms Huth’s legal team introduced two other women who testified to meetings with Mr Cosby. Kimberly Burr testified that she was 14 when he tried to kiss her in his trailer on the set of “Let’s Do It Again” in 1975 as well.

Margie Shapiro testified that she was 19 that year when Mr. Cosby met her at the donut shop where she worked and invited her to the set of another movie he was shooting in Los Angeles. Later that day, according to her testimony, she went to his house and then they went to the Playboy Mansion, where she said he drugged and assaulted her, a charge Mr Cosby denies .

Mr. Cosby is not expected to testify at trial, having asserted his Fifth Amendment rights. But Ms Huth’s lawyers filed it several years ago, and some of that testimony is expected to be presented in court before the end of the trial, which is expected to last all week.


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