After an emotional turn on the stand describing being sexually assaulted by a celebrity she had looked up to, Judy Huth fended off questions from Bill Cosby’s lawyers in court on Tuesday as they tried to discredit her impassioned testimony about the sexual assault in adolescence.
Ms Huth, often crying, told the Santa Monica jury how she traveled with Mr Cosby to the Playboy Mansion in 1975, where she said she came out of the bathroom to find the entertainer sitting on her bed in an isolated adjoining room. .
“He patted the seat next to him,” she said. “I sat down. He tried to lean me back, he tried to kiss me, he tried to put his hands under my navel where my high waisted pants were.
To deflect it, Ms Huth said, she told Mr Cosby she was on her period. But then, she says, “he pulled down his tracksuit, grabbed my hand, put it on his hand, closed it” and forced her to perform a sex act on him.
Mr Cosby denied the sexual assault and on Tuesday one of his lawyers, Jennifer Bonjean, sought in cross-examination to undermine the credibility of Ms Huth’s account, asking why she had changed the date she had said it had happened and accused him of giving contradictory versions. Reading earlier statements in which Ms Huth said she could not remember how she felt in the days and months after she met Mr Cosby, Ms Bonjean said they contrasted with her statements at trial, when she described being depressed and feeling isolated.
“It’s hard to keep the lies straight,” Ms. Bonjean said.
“I’m not lying,” Ms. Huth replied.
Ms Huth reported her accusation to the police in 2014, but prosecutors declined to press criminal charges because the statute of limitations had expired. But her lawyers then filed a civil lawsuit because in California, the time period within which one is allowed to file a lawsuit is extended for people who say they were abused as minors but have repressed the experience and do not didn’t realize its traumatic impact until they grew up. .
Mr. Cosby’s team disputed whether Ms. Huth had in fact deleted a memory of an encounter or had simply come forward with an accusation to join others who were providing accounts of Mr. Cosby’s misconduct at that time .
The sexual assault cases against Bill Cosby
After Bill Cosby’s 2018 criminal conviction for sexual assault was overturned, the first civil case accusing him of sexual misconduct has gone to trial.
When repeatedly questioned by Ms Bonjean, Ms Huth denied coordinating her 2014 story with a friend, Donna Samuelson, who had accompanied her to the Playboy Mansion during the visit with Mr Cosby decades earlier.
She also denied that she and her friend coordinated a 2004 effort to contact a tabloid reporter to talk about the sexual assault accusation. Cosby’s defense suggested the effort was evidence that Ms Huth had a strong recollection of her experience at the Playboy Mansion an entire decade before she turned herself in to the police.
Ms. Samuelson had taken pictures of Mr. Cosby and Ms. Huth together at the Playboy Mansion, and Ms. Bonjean suggested the photos were essential for the tabloid to pay for an article.
“You told her you were about to get up to $20,000 and you told her you would split the proceeds” if she provided the photographs, Ms. Bonjean said.
But Ms Huth, whose account Ms Samuelson supported in pre-trial testimony, said that was not the case.
Lawyers for Mr Cosby have suggested that the encounter at the mansion actually happened years later than when Mrs Huth says it happened, and that Mrs Huth was an older visitor at the time and consenting manor who, by his own account, did not flee after the encounter but stayed for hours.
During her testimony, Ms Huth spoke about how she felt after what she described as a sexual assault. She was, she said, “crazy – I felt duped, duped. I’ve been disappointed. I was hurt.”
But even though she was ‘freaking out’ and ‘wanting to leave’, she said Ms Samuelson, who was the one who drove them there, persuaded her to stay.
Ms. Huth’s trial had been largely on hold for years while Pennsylvania prosecutors prosecuted Mr. Cosby, 84, on criminal charges of sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a former employee of Temple University.
But Mr. Cosby’s 2018 conviction in the case was overturned last year by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on due process grounds, and Mr. Cosby walks free.
Ms Huth, 64, told the court on Monday that she and Ms Samuelson met Mr Cosby on the set of a movie he was shooting in a California park. Mr. Cosby, she said, invited them to his tennis club, then gave them booze at a house he was staying in, before asking them to follow him in their car to the Playboy Mansion .
The jury was shown a photograph taken by Ms Samuelson of Mr Cosby and Ms Huth walking together outside the mansion. Mr. Cosby later left for another engagement and the two friends stayed, she said, swimming in the outdoor pool. They ordered tequila sunrise cocktails and, when Mr. Cosby returned, watched a movie together until they left around midnight.
Ms Huth told Ms Samuelson that Mr Cosby had assaulted her, but she asked her friend, she said, not to tell anyone because she felt embarrassed and blamed herself for being the.
In the years that followed, she said she buried the traumatic experience.
“It’s like a trash can,” she said. “You dig a hole and throw trash in it.”
In an effort to explain why she did not press charges until 2014, Ms Huth said that was a time when she had seen many other women come forward publicly to accuse Mr Cosby of sexual misconduct and noted that his own son was 15 years old. The emotional damage caused by the assault was finally brought to light, she said.
“I went into an emotional tumble wondering if something like this had happened to him,” she said.
Lawyers for Mr. Cosby have noted in court proceedings that Ms. Huth’s recollections of when her encounter took place have changed. While she first said it happened in 1974, when she was 15, she more recently concluded that it was in 1975, when she was 16.
Ms Huth said she had recently realized she had made a mistake, in part because she had seen a 1975 photo of Mr Cosby sporting a beard and looking like he had. she says, when they went to the Playboy Mansion together.