The trial in a civil suit against Bill Cosby got underway in a Santa Monica courthouse last week. Judy Huth is accusing the disgraced entertainer of sexually assaulting her in the 1970s when she was a teenager.
I reached out to one of Huth’s attorneys, Gloria Allred, and she emailed me her response: “Ms. Huth alleges in her lawsuit that she was the victim of sexual battery by Mr. Cosby when she was 16 years old,” she says. “We are honored to represent Ms. Huth and to seek justice for her in a California court of law.” Allred further tells me, “Bill Cosby’s lawyers said that my role as an advocate for various women claiming to be victims of his conduct might make me a witness in this case.” Since the defense may, in fact, call her to testify, Allred says, “I will not be speaking at the trial, unless I am called as a witness.”
Huth sued Cosby in 2014, but the case was put on hold while the disgraced entertainer was being criminally prosecuted for allegations of drugging and sexually assaulting a Temple University employee, Andrea Constand. Cosby was charged in 2015, convicted in 2018 and sentenced to three to 10 years in prison for aggravated indecent assault against Constand at his Philadelphia home in 2004. Cosby served three of those years, but in June 2021, he was released in a stunning turnabout after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned the conviction due to a prior agreement between Cosby and the former prosecutor in the case, which began in 2005.
I was horrified to think that this could possibly mean that Harvey Weinstein, who had been sentenced in March 2020 to 23 years in prison for sex crimes, could also possibly walk free if his appeal were upheld. Weinstein had been found guilty of two felonies, a criminal sexual assault in the first degree and third degree rape.
Last year, Weinstein’s lawyers appealed his conviction, arguing that the women who had accused him of sexual assaults for which he was not charged should not have been allowed to testify, nor should testimony have been admissible from actor Annabella Sciorra, who alleged that Weinstein had raped her in the early 1990s.
My fears of his getting out of prison were allayed last week when, on June 2, a New York appeals court upheld Weinstein’s conviction.
Weinstein, who is in prison in Los Angeles, is still awaiting trial in the city, where he’s been charged with several counts of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation and additional sex crimes. A trial date is expected to be set this week.
Like Weinstein, Cosby has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women.
Allred was also involved in Weinstein’s criminal litigation in New York and represents alleged victims in his upcoming L.A. case.
“I am thrilled that the criminal conviction of Harvey Weinstein was upheld,” says Allred, whose client Mimi Haley was the key prosecution witness in the case. “Based on her testimony Weinstein was convicted of criminal sexual assault and sentenced to 20 years in prison for that crime against her,” Allred notes, adding, “I am very proud of her and my two other clients who testified in this case. Justice was done, but now I am also looking forward to the criminal prosecution of Mr. Weinstein in Los Angeles, where I also represent alleged victims for whom charges have been filed there.”
There is still much ongoing interest in the trials of Cosby and Weinstein, whose next chapters will be written as their respective cases wind through the courts in our city