After an emotional turn on the catwalk, describing her being molested by a celebrity she admired, Jodi Huth responded to Bill Cosby’s attorneys in court on Tuesday as they attempted to distort her emotional testimony about her teenage sexual assault.
Mrs. Hoth, crying often, told the jury in Santa Monica how she and Mr. Cosby traveled to the Playboy mansion in 1975, where she said she came out of the bathroom to find the artist sitting on the bed in an adjoining secluded room.
“I patted the seat next to him,” she said. “I sat. He tried to pull me back, he tried to kiss me, he tried to put his hands under my belly button where my high-waisted pants were.”
Ms Hoth said she told Mr Cosby that she was on her period, in order to distract him. But then, she said, “he pulled his sweat, grabbed my hand, put it on his hand, and shut it” and forced her to have sex with him.
Mr Cosby has denied the sexual assault, and on Tuesday, one of his lawyers, Jennifer Bunjian, sought during cross-examination to discredit Ms Hoth’s account, questioning why she had changed the date she said it happened and accusing her of giving conflicting versions. Reading from earlier statements in which Ms Hoth said she could not remember how she felt in the days and months following her meeting with Mr Cosby, Ms Bonjian said it was contradictory to her statements at trial, when she described feeling depressed and isolated.
“It’s hard to keep lies straight,” said Ms. Bunjian.
“I’m not lying,” answered Mrs. Hoth.
Ms Hoth reported her accusation to police in 2014, but prosecutors refused to file criminal charges because the statute of limitations had passed. But her attorneys then filed a civil lawsuit because in California, the period a person is allowed to sue is extended to people who say they were abused when they were minors but suppressed the experience and did not realize its painful impact until they were older. .
Mr. Cosby’s team challenged whether Ms Hoth had actually concealed the memory of an encounter or whether she had simply come forward with accusations of joining others who were providing accounts of Mr. Cosby’s misconduct at the time.
Sexual Assault Cases Against Bill Cosby
After Bill Cosby’s 2018 criminal conviction for sexual assault was overturned, the first civil case accusing him of sexual misconduct reached trial.
Under repeated questioning from Ms. Bonjian, Ms Hoth denied that she coordinated her 2014 account with a friend, Donna Samuelson, who had accompanied her to the Playboy mansion on a visit with Mr Cosby decades earlier.
She also denied that she and her friend coordinated an effort in 2004 to reach out to a tabloid reporter to talk about her sexual assault accusation. Cosby’s defense suggested that the effort was evidence that Mrs. Hoth had a strong memory of her experience at the Playboy mansion a decade before she went to the police.
Ms. Samuelson snapped photos of Mr. Cosby and Mrs. Huth together at the Playboy Mansion, and Ms. Bonjean suggested the photos were key to getting tabloid pay for an article.
“I told her you were about to get up to $20,000, and you told her you would share the proceeds” if she provided the photos, Ms. Bunjian said.
But Ms Hoth, who backed up Samuelson’s account during her earlier testimony at the trial, said that was not the case.
Mr. Cosby’s attorneys suggested that the meeting at the palace did indeed take place years after the time Mrs. Huth says it did, and that Mrs. Huth was at that time an older and willing visitor to the palace, who had done so on her own account. Do not run away after the confrontation, but stayed for hours.
During her testimony, Ms Hoth spoke about how she felt after what she described as sexual assault. She said she was crazy – she felt deceived and deceived. You failed. You got hurt.”
But though she was “terrified” and “wanted to leave,” said Mrs. Samuelson, who was the one who drove them there, persuaded her to stay.
Ms. Hoth’s lawsuit has been largely on hold for years while Pennsylvania prosecutors have criminally prosecuted Cosby, 84, for sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee.
But Cosby’s 2018 conviction in that case was overturned last year by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on due process reasons, and Mr. Cosby walked away.
Ms. Huth, 64, told the court on Monday that she and Ms. Samuelson met Mr. Cosby on the set of a movie he was making in a California park. She said Mr. Cosby invited them to his tennis club, then gave them alcohol at the house he was staying at, before asking them to catch him in their car to the Playboy mansion.
The jury was shown a photograph taken by Mrs. Samuelson of Mr. Cosby and Mrs. Hoth walking together outside the mansion. Mr. Cosby later left for another engagement and the two friends stayed behind, she said, swimming in the outdoor pool. They ordered a sunrise tequila cocktail, and when Mr. Cosby came back, they watched a movie together until they left about midnight.
Mrs. Hoth told Mrs. Samuelson that Mr. Cosby had assaulted her, but asked her friend, she said, not to tell anyone because she was embarrassed and blamed herself for being there.
In the years that followed, she said she buried the traumatic experience.
“It’s like garbage,” she said. “You dig a hole and throw garbage in it.”
In an attempt to explain why a lawsuit was not filed until 2014, Ms Hoth said it was about time she saw several other women come forward to accuse Cosby of sexual misconduct and noted that her son was 15. She said the emotional damage from the assault has finally come to the fore.
“I got into an emotional spiral thinking if something like this had happened to him,” she said.
Mr. Cosby’s lawyers noted in court proceedings that Ms. Huth’s recollection when she was interviewed had changed. While she initially said it happened in 1974, when she was 15, she recently concluded that it happened in 1975, when she was 16.
Ms Hoth said she recently realized she had made a mistake, in part because she saw a picture of Mr. Cosby from 1975 wearing a beard and looking like he had, she said, when they went to the Playboy Mansion together.