Bill Cosby’s defense team sought to discredit Judy Huth during the trial on a number of points. His lawyers noted that she had changed the year she said she was assaulted, asked why she did not come forward for decades and questioned her depiction of the encounter, suggesting she was an unreliable witness who had invented her account so she could file a lawsuit.
“I do not think you can believe anything Ms. Huth says, frankly, ”said Jennifer Bonjean, a lawyer for Mr. Cosby. “I am not going to credit her just because we live in a time where, if she says it, it must be true,” she added. “There’s no evidence.”
Ms. Bonjean noted that Ms. Huth had changed her recollection of when the episode took place. While Ms. Huth initially said it had happened in 1974, when she was 15, she more recently concluded it was in 1975, when she was 16.
Ms. Huth said she realized she had made a mistake about the date, in part because she only recently saw a photograph of Mr. Cosby from 1975 wearing a beard and looking like he had, she said, when they went to the Playboy Mansion together.
Mr. Cosby’s defense team also questioned how Ms. Huth could have suffered what she described as callous sexual molestation at the Playboy Mansion and then, by her own account, remained there for hours, swimming in the outdoor pool, ordering cocktails and mixing with celebrities.
Ms. Huth testified that she had been angry and wanted to leave after the encounter, but her friend Donna Samuelson, who accompanied her to the mansion, persuaded her to stay. Ms. Samuelson testified that she had wanted Ms. Huth to calm down.
And Mr. Cosby’s lawyers asked why she had not come forward with her accusation for decades, only deciding to file a lawsuit in December 2014, long after the encounter in 1975.
Ms. Huth said that she had only come forward in 2014 because that was when she had recognized that the anxiety, depression and other difficulties she had suffered later in life had been caused by what she described as Mr. Cosby’s sexual assault.
But Mr. Cosby’s lawyers suggested that any emotional distress she had experienced in her life had grown out of any number of other painful episodes, including what she reported as being an encounter with a family member who tried to molest her as a young child. “She can not demonstrate that there was causation between this incident and the alleged trauma 40 years later,” Ms. Bonjean said.
Mr. Cosby’s legal team accused Ms. Huth of pretending to have just suddenly realized the emotional damage caused by an event so many years earlier because that was what was required under California law for her to qualify to file a lawsuit decades later.
His lawyers asked how she could only have recently remembered the encounter when she had contacted a reporter from The National Enquirer about it 10 years earlier, and suggested she had been trying to make money by selling photographs of herself with Mr. Cosby. They introduced the former reporter, arguing that the reporter’s depiction of Ms. Huth’s encounter with Mr. Cosby contradicted Ms. Huth’s own account from the stand.
Ms. Huth testified at the trial that Mr. Cosby took her hand and forced her to perform a sex act on him. But the reporter, Robin Mizrahi, in a personal essay published in 2018, said that Ms. Huth, identified by a pseudonym in the essay, had said in a 2005 interview that she was too scared to touch Mr. Cosby and had only watched as he performed a sex act on himself.
But Ms. Huth denied that money was her motivation for coming forward and said the essay was not accurate.
Ms. Mizrahi, a witness for the defense, said she, too, could not vouch for her essay’s accuracy, saying she had tried to reconstruct the 2005 interview to the best of her recollection, not from any contemporaneous notes of their conversation.
Mr. Cosby did not testify at the trial, but in a video deposition played for the jury, he denied having any sexual contact with Ms. Huth. He said he did not know her, could not recall taking her to the Playboy Mansion and would not be able to recognize her.
Ms. Bonjean argued in court that Ms. Huth was motivated by money, coordinated with her friend, Ms. Samuelson, and saw an opportunity in 2014 to join other accusers who were providing accounts of misconduct by Mr. Cosby at that time.