Actor and comedian Bill Cosby departs the courtroom during the fifth day of deliberations in Cosby's sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, on June 16, 2017. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters, Pool)
**FILE** Actor and comedian Bill Cosby departs the courtroom during the fifth day of deliberations in Cosby's sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, on June 16, 2017. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters, Pool)

Prosecutors in the Bill Cosby sexual assault case on Thursday asked the judge for permission to call 19 other accusers as witnesses, as the retrial date for the embattled superstar approaches.

Montgomery County (Pa.) District Attorney Kevin Steele, who vowed to “get justice” after his first attempt to convict Cosby ended in a hung jury in July, has asked Judge Steven O’Neill to call the other accusers to try to show a pattern of “prior bad acts” over five decades.

O’Neill declined the prosecutor’s motion to call 13 other accusers during the initial trial.

Since 2014, more than 50 women have claimed Cosby sexually assaulted them. However, many of those claims stem from decades-old encounters, and some of the women who have filed lawsuits against Cosby have had their cases tossed out.

The criminal case against the man once known as “America’s favorite dad” also stems from an old claim. Former Temple University employee Andrea Constand claimed Cosby drugged and assaulted her at his Philadelphia-area home in 2004.

When she testified at last year’s criminal trial, Constand had difficulty explaining why she waited more than a year to contact authorities, why she called Cosby more than 50 times after she claimed he assaulted her and why she sent him gifts and insisted he provide concert tickets for her mother to see him.

Constand also wilted when confronted with evidence that she had attempted to hire civil attorneys before contacting the police.

Neither Cosby’s team nor prosecutors were available for comment Thursday.

But it stands to reason that if O’Neill allows hearsay evidence, then Cosby would also benefit as they have a sworn affidavit from Constand’s former roommate, who said Constand described how she could set Cosby up.

During the first trial, O’Neill also rejected the Cosby’s team’s attempt to call the roommate.

Cosby has denied the allegations against him. Jury selection for the retrial begins in two months.

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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