Bill Cosby had taken Judy Huth and her friend to the sport room of the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles in 1975 when she asked to make use of the lavatory in an adjoining bedroom, Ms. Huth’s lawyers said in court on Wednesday.
When she got here out of the lavatory, Mr. Cosby was sitting on the bed. “He taps on the bed,” said Nathan Goldberg, a lawyer for Ms. Huth who has said she was 16 on the time, as if to say, “‘Come here.’”
“When she did timidly, that’s when he pounced,” Mr. Goldberg said during opening statements within the trial of a civil case brought by Ms. Huth against Mr. Cosby for sexual assault.
Of their opening remarks, Mr. Cosby’s lawyers disputed Ms. Huth’s account, suggesting she had been an older, and willing, visitor to the Playboy Mansion who, by her own account, didn’t flee after an encounter with Mr. Cosby but quite stayed on for hours, swimming within the pool and watching a movie.
“Boy, did Judy and Donna enjoy themselves,” a lawyer for Mr. Cosby, Jennifer Bonjean, said, referring to Ms. Huth and her friend.
The trial, expected to last seven to 10 days, is being held on the Santa Monica branch of Los Angeles Superior Court.
Of their filings, Mr. Cosby’s lawyers have denied the allegations, describing them as a fabrication. “We imagine that Mr. Cosby will fully be exonerated once the jurors hear the evidence in addition to examine the numerous inconsistent accounts given by Ms. Huth,” Mr. Cosby’s spokesman, Andrew Wyatt, said in a press release.
The Sexual Assault Cases Against Bill Cosby
After Bill Cosby’s 2018 criminal conviction for sexual assault was overturned, the primary civil case accusing him of sexual misconduct has now reached trial.
In detailing Ms. Huth’s account, Mr. Goldberg said Mr. Cosby tried to kiss her and put his hands down her pants. When she told him she was on her period, he dropped his pants, and “took her hand along with his” and compelled her to perform a sex act, he said.
Mr. Goldberg spoke for a little bit greater than an hour, recounting how Ms. Huth and her friend were playing Frisbee once they spotted Mr. Cosby filming a movie in a park in San Marino, Calif.
He invited them onto the set and days later brought them to his tennis club, where, Mr. Goldberg continued, Mr. Cosby encouraged them to take a drink each time they lost at pool. Afterward, Mr. Goldberg said, Mr. Cosby had them follow him in a automotive to the Playboy Mansion, where the encounter in the sport room occurred.
Mr. Goldberg said Ms. Huth wanted to depart at that time, but her friend, Donna Samuelson, persuaded her to remain. Ms. Samuelson, who testified on Wednesday, said that Mr. Cosby had Ms. Huth “locked within the room,” and said Ms. Huth was crying once they went outside.
“She grabbed her purse and said we’re getting out of here,” Ms. Samuelson told the court. “She told me Bill Cosby tried to have sex together with her.”
She said she and Ms. Huth talked for about half an hour in her automotive, but she persuaded her friend to remain because she thought spending a night on the mansion would calm her down.
“She told me not to inform anyone,” said Ms. Samuelson. “It was embarrassing and humiliating to her.”
They swam and ordered drinks, mingled with famous actors and, later, watched a movie. Only years later, in 2014, when Ms. Huth’s son turned 15 and other women began to come back forward with similar accounts about Mr. Cosby, did the emotional damage of what had happened to Ms. Huth come to the fore, her lawyer said.
“It was like a cork popped out of the bottle and all of her buried feelings rushed to the surface,” Mr. Goldberg said.
Ms. Huth has produced photographs of the visit taken by Ms. Samuelson on the mansion showing Ms. Huth with Mr. Cosby. Ms. Bonjean accused Ms. Huth of “saving mementos” of a sexual assault, raising questions on why a victim would keep such tokens of the visit. The images were a part of “a plan to make a buck,” said Ms. Bonjean, who spoke for about an hour. “Judy Huth has been attempting to money in on these photos for many years.”
Mr. Cosby’s legal team has also introduced records from the Playboy Mansion that showed Mr. Cosby visiting with two unnamed guests, and said the records showed that the 2 guests had stayed on the mansion for about 12 hours.
Ms. Huth’s suit, first filed in 2014, had been largely placed on hold while Mr. Cosby was being criminally prosecuted in one other case in Pennsylvania where he was accused of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand. The 2018 criminal conviction within the Constand case was overturned last 12 months by an appellate court on “due process” grounds, and he was free of prison.
Ms. Huth’s case is now being followed by a few of the many other women who’ve accused Mr. Cosby of sexual misconduct, partially since it is the primary civil case accusing Mr. Cosby of sexual assault to achieve trial. Mr. Cosby has denied all allegations of sexual assault, and said any encounters were consensual.
Mr. Cosby has acknowledged meeting with Ms. Huth on the Playboy Mansion but denied her allegation of sexual battery and has challenged her contention that she was a minor on the time.
Ms. Huth’s legal team said it intends to introduce two other women to testify about similar encounters with Mr. Cosby.
One in all the ladies will testify, Mr. Goldberg said, that Mr. Cosby, whom she met at a doughnut store where she worked, was also taken to the Playboy Mansion by Mr. Cosby. In the sport room, Mr. Cosby gave her a pill, the lawyer said, and he assaulted her as she lost consciousness.
“In each instance, he meets them in circumstances that don’t appear threatening,” Mr. Goldberg said. “He takes them places where they appear comfortable. They don’t feel threatened on this mansion, the movie set. He doesn’t care about their family or friends nearby. He has no fear.”
Mr. Cosby, 84, has invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and is not going to testify or attend the trial, his spokesman has said. Ms. Huth, 64, attended court Wednesday and is anticipated to testify later within the trial.
Ms. Huth also reported her accusation to the police in 2014, but prosecutors declined to file criminal charges since the statute of limitations had passed.
She was in a position to file a lawsuit because under California law, in some cases, the statute of limitations may be prolonged for individuals who say they only recently recognized as adults the damage done by a repressed incident of sexual abuse they experienced as a baby.
The deadline to file such a suit is set partially by when the person, as an adult, becomes aware of the severe psychological effect of the abuse.
Mr. Cosby’s lawyers have questioned whether she had only remembered the alleged abuse a short while before filing the suit because, they said, she had contacted a tabloid about it 10 years earlier.
Additionally they tried to stop the trial from going ahead when Ms. Huth recently modified her recollection about when the encounter occurred. She initially said that it had happened in 1974, when she was 15. But more recently she concluded that it was actually in 1975, when she was 16. The law in California, then and now, holds that a 16-year-old is assessed as a minor, but Mr. Cosby has contended that he didn’t meet Ms. Huth until several years later.
She said she only recently realized she had the date improper after, amongst other things, reviewing documents recommend by Mr. Cosby that clarified when the movie filming she recalled witnessing had taken place.