Bill Cosby sexual assault retrial set to begin in Pennsylvania

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Mr Cosby had enjoyed a family-friendly reputation for years before numerous sexual assault allegations came to light in 2015

The retrial of the American actor and comedian, Bill Cosby, is due to begin in Pennsylvania on Monday.

Mr Cosby, 80, denies drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand 14 years ago.

The first trial, in June 2017, ended when the jury failed to reach a verdict.

The actor, who starred in the 1980s TV series The Cosby Show, has faced allegations from dozens of other women but has denied them all.

Once affectionately referred to as “America’s Dad”, Mr Cosby enjoyed a family-friendly reputation for years before numerous sexual assault allegations came to light in 2015.

The retrial takes place in the light of the #MeToo movement, which has raised awareness of alleged sexual misconduct by a number of powerful media figures.

Other accusers

Mr Cosby has been charged with aggravated indecent assault, a second degree felony, by the Pennsylvania prosecutor. The charge could carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

His lawyers say Mr Cosby and Ms Constand shared a romantic relationship.

Around 60 women over five decades have publicly accused the Emmy award-winning actor of being a sexual predator. But statute of limitation laws mean that only one charge has been brought to trial.

The retrial will be before the same judge and district attorney as the first trial.

The judge will this time allow other accusers to give evidence, BBC correspondent Nada Tawfik reports.

From trailblazer to alleged assaulter

Mr Cosby has long been considered a Hollywood trailblazer for African Americans.

He rose to fame as the first black actor to star in a major drama series, I Spy, in 1965.

The role earned him three of his four Emmy awards before he created several shows including the influential The Cosby Show in 1984.

In January, the comedian performed his first stand-up gig since 2015, for which he was criticised by some on social media.