Bill Cosby is completely blind, his lawyers claim, as sex assault trial date is set

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 September, 2016, 9:37am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 September, 2016, 9:37am

Bill Cosby will stand trial for the 2004 felony sexual assault of Andrea Constand in her Philadelphia home on June 5, 2017, a Pennsylvania judge ruled Tuesday.

But even with all the manoeuvring by his attorneys to avoid the trial, the more surprising news arrives in their declaration to the judge that the comedian and former TV star is completely blind.

That declaration led to the judge promising that the court would accommodate any special needs for the defendant.

The claimed loss of Cosby’s eyesight isn’t a small sidenote, especially in a trial that will require Cosby to identify those testifying for and against him. The prosecution is hoping that at least 13 women will testify about their alleged sexual assaults at the hands of Cosby.

There's also the potential that his advanced age of 79 years, coupled with the blindness and extra accommodations furnished by the court, could create some sympathy for the defendant.

Bill Cosby admitted to getting sedatives to give to women he wanted to have sex with

The most recent reports surrounding Cosby's eyesight came in July when The New York Post quoted unnamed sources claiming Cosby was not only “completely blind”, but also homebound as a result. It went on to say: “Cosby reportedly has a degenerative eye condition called keratoconus, a condition that causes the eye’s cornea to bulge.”

The comedian's attorneys didn’t comment on that story.

Before that, there was another round of reports that mentioned his eyesight. In December 2015, Cosby’s mugshot was released to the public and the appearance of his eyes quickly became a point of discussion. His right eye, especially, looked discoloured.

Cosby lawyer Monica Pressley was asked on CBS News in January to explain the appearance of Cosby’s eyes in his mugshot and whether it would be used as part of his defence.

“He’s a 78-year-old blind man who they’ve chosen to charge. That’s not a defence to a charge, that’s just a fact,” Pressley said.