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Here's why Bill Cosby is back on trial nearly a year after he was released from prison

Kenan Draughorne, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

Huth initially alleged the assault happened in 1974 — when she was 15 — but later amended her account to say it happened in 1975, prompting Cosby’s legal team to ask for the case to be dismissed earlier this month.

Why did it take so long to go to court?

When Cosby was arrested in 2015 for alleged sex crimes, Huth’s and other civil cases were put on hold.

Two weeks after Huth filed suit, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office declined to charge Cosby, citing the statute of limitations. In 2019, however, a new California law extended the amount of time allowed for victims of childhood sexual abuse to file a lawsuit, in response to highly publicized allegations of abuse by Catholic priests and Larry Nassar, a former U.S. Olympics gymnastics team doctor.

Meanwhile, in 2015, Cosby was charged with drugging and assaulting another woman, Andrea Constand, in 2004. The trial began in June 2017, and after an initial mistrial, Cosby was convicted of sexual assault in 2018 and sentenced to three to 10 years.

Why was he released from prison?

Cosby appealed the conviction in the Constand case in 2019, saying the judge should not have allowed five additional women to testify that they drugged and assaulted him, among other complaints. The case eventually reached the Philadelphia Supreme Court, which overturned the conviction and freed Cosby on June 30, 2021.

In its decision, the court cited a “non-prosecution” agreement Cosby had made with former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor, after Constand initially came forward with her allegations. Castor had feared he would not succeed in the case without a Cosby confession, and agreed not to prosecute him so that Cosby could not use his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.


Although there was no evidence the promise was put into writing, the agreement came before the case, meaning Cosby should not have legally been prosecuted in the first place.

Can he be sent back to prison if he’s found guilty?

No. Huff’s lawsuit is a civil case, not criminal. Because she is suing for unspecified damages, Cosby cannot be sent to prison even if he is found guilty.

When does the trial start?

Jury selection began May 24, and opening arguments are scheduled for June 1.

Cosby is being represented by attorney Jennifer Bonjean, who also represented him in his criminal case and is representing R&B star R. Kelly in his Chicago child-pornography trial. Huth is being represented by renowned attorney Gloria Allred.

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