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Bill Cosby's eyesight became the focus of a court hearing Wednesday, with defense lawyers arguing he is too blind to recognize his accusers — and prosecutors saying his vision report looks like it came from "a LensCrafters at the mall."
Cosby's attorneys submitted a report that says he has glaucoma in both eyes to the Pennsylvania judge presiding over his sexual abuse case. Prosecutors said it was meaningless.
"You take a look at that report," Montgomery County Deputy District Attorney Robert Fallin said during the hearing. "It’s really just a print out. It looks like something you’d get walking out of a LensCrafters at the mall.
"I don’t mean to slight LensCrafters," he added. "They’re great."
Cosby's vision is an issue because the defense claims that in the 11 years it took for prosecutors to bring charges against him, his eyesight deteriorated so much that he can't assist in his defense.
"In the materials the prosecution has turned over…there are photographs. Mr. Cosby cannot look at a photograph," defense lawyer Angela Agrusa said in court. “He can’t tell you what is in that picture."
That argument was picked apart by Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neil, who suggested that Cosby doesn't need to see anything to remember what happened in the past.
"There is no evidence in this case that Mr. Cosby doesn’t have the ability to recollect events," O’Neil said. "You’re taking the leap to say sight equals the inability to recollect events because you wouldn’t be able to see things that trigger memories.
"That’s a big leap."
Agrusa countered that Cosby's problems may not end with his failing eyesight.
"He is physically impaired," Agrusa said. "I do not have the skills to be able to explain to him how to see. We can’t test his memory because he can’t see. He’s 79 years old. He may very well have memory issues."
Cosby is charged in Pennsylvania with drugging and molesting Andrea Constand during an encounter in his home in 2004. It's the only criminal case stemming from accusations by nearly 60 women.
The star has denied all allegations and the statute of limitations has run out on most of the cases, but prosecutors want to bring 13 of his accusers to the witness stand to show a pattern of behavior.
In court papers, Cosby defense argued that some of the accusers may be too old to remember the events accurately.
Gloria Allred, the attorney who represents some of the women, scoffed at that outside court on Tuesday.
"I'm in my senior years, older than most of those women, and I think I can still recollect quite a bit. That's preposterous, and if that's all they have then they're in big trouble," she said.
The defense is pushing for a dismissal on several other fronts, too. They argue that a prosecutor's decision not to charge Cosby in 2005 shouldn't have been reversed by a successor, and that racial bias is fueling the move to put him on trial now.
"My client is not a meme. He’s a human being. And his rights have been trampled. By ego and ambition. I think the discussion stops there," Agrusa said.
Meanwhile, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele lambasted the defense for publishing the names of accusers who had not come forward publicly.
In motions filed on the eve of the first pre-trial hearing, Cosby’s defense team named all 13 potential witnesses, including one who accused Cosby publicly but under a pseudonym, and two who had not identified themselves.
"It’s another attempt to intimidate witnesses," Steele charged.