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Cosby judge will allow witness who paints accuser as gold digger

The judge will also let jury hear how much Cosby paid his accuser to settle a lawsuit.
Bill Cosby, left, holds on tight to Andrew Wyatt as they make their way at the Montgomery County Courthouse during jury selection in his sexual assault retrial on April 3, 2018, in Norristown, Pennsylvania.Michael Bryant / The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP, Pool

NORRISTOWN, Pa. — A judge handed Bill Cosby's defense lawyers a pretrial victory on Tuesday, ruling they can call a witness who claims accuser Andrea Constand once boasted she could fabricate sex allegations against a celebrity for money.

Cosby's lawyers hope to use testimony from Marguerite Jackson to impeach the credibility of Constand, who alleges the comedian drugged and molested her at his Pennsylvania home in 2004.

Jackson, who worked at Temple University at the same time as Constand, was not permitted to testify at Cosby's first trial, which ended with a deadlocked jury.

Bill Cosby, left, holds on tight to Andrew Wyatt as they make their way at the Montgomery County Courthouse on April 3, 2018.Michael Bryant / The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP, Pool

Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill did not explain in his written order why he changed his mind about Jackson but did say he could decide at the last minute to keep Jackson off the stand.

In a separate ruling, O'Neill said the jury could hear about the 2006 civil settlement between Constand and Cosby, including the payout. The amount has never been disclosed but was reported to be millions of dollars in one court action.

Although Cosby has been accused of a range of misconduct by dozens of women — and denies all the allegations — he faces criminal charges only in connection with Constand's allegation.

Last month, in a huge blow to the defense, the judge ruled that five other accusers can testify as part of the prosecution's effort to show the jury a pattern of behavior. At the first trial, only one extra accuser was allowed to take the stand.

Jury selection for the retrial began Monday, and eight jurors have already been seated, with the rest likely to be selected on Wednesday.

The defense raised an objection Tuesday -- claiming prosecutors were striking older white men from the pool -- but the judge shot down the challenge.