A trial in the Pennsylvania sex abuse case against Bill Cosby would put on display the complexities involved in reviving an old case in which the basic facts remain unchanged, says the New York Times. “This is a curious case for the prosecution to bring since nothing has really changed other than these other women came forward,” said Isabelle Kirshner, a criminal defense lawyer, referring to women who have made accusations against Cosby similar to the one that led to the Pennsylvania case. “This case has a lot of obstacles for both sides, and a lot of legal issues.” Kirshner pointed to the presence of a new district attorney where Cosby was charged, who won a heated election in which Cosby was a central issue. Monique Pressley, a lawyer for Cosby, said, “This charge is not about effectuating justice. This charge against Mr. Cosby is about fulfilling a campaign pledge.”
There are likely to be protracted legal struggles over those issues even before the case goes to trial. Cosby's team will presumably try to bar testimony from other women who have accused him of sexual misconduct over many years, and to stop the introduction of the entertainer's own testimony a civil lawsuit that parallels the criminal case. In Pennsylvania law, there is a general rule against admitting evidence from other cases in which no crime has been charged because it could prejudice the trial. Such evidence can be allowed under certain circumstances, lawyers said, for instance, if the other behavior is so similar that it can be said to demonstrate a “common scheme or plan,” a kind of unique fingerprint of the defendant.