Bill Cosby trial: Jury selection to start in 1st civil trial suit

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Tuesday in a 64-year-old Riverside County woman's long-running suit against Bill Cosby, who alleges she was sexually abused by the comedian at the Playboy Mansion in the 1970s when she was a minor.

Plaintiff Judy Huth lives in the gated community of Canyon Lake and sued Cosby, now 84, in December 2014. Huth originally said she was 15 years old at the time and that the alleged attack occurred in 1974, when Cosby allegedly invited her and a 16-year-old friend into a house where he convinced her to drink a beer for every game of pool he won. Huth alleges Cosby later took her and her friend to the Playboy Mansion, where he molested her in a bedroom.

But according to the Cosby attorneys' court papers filed recently with Santa Monica Superior Court Judge Craig Karlan, Huth "has a whole new story now: she claims that the incident happened in February and/or March 1975 - - shortly before her 17th birthday."

Opening statements are scheduled for June 1 and the trial is expected to last about two weeks. Huth's case is the first civil suit against Cosby to reach trial after many others ended in settlements.

Huth reported her allegations against Cosby to the LAPD, but the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office declined to file criminal charges because the statute of limitations had passed.

Huth was able to bring the civil suit under a California law allowing adults who say they were victims of sexual abuse as minors, but repressed what happened to them for years.

Cosby was previously convicted in a retrial in Pennsylvania of allegations that he drugged and molested Temple University employee Andrea Constand. He was sentenced in 2018 to 10 years in prison, but that state's Supreme Court overturned the conviction last June after finding that Cosby had obtained a nonprosecution agreement from a prior prosecutor.

The Supreme Court in March rejected a request from Pennsylvania prosecutors to review the state Supreme Court decision. The criminal case had put the Huth civil case on hold.