More than seven years after Judy Huth filed a lawsuit alleging Bill Cosby sexually assaulted her when she was a minor, Huth and Cosby’s lawyers delivered vastly opposing closing arguments in court on Wednesday. Huth’s attorneys implored the jury to hold Cosby accountable for his actions, while Cosby’s team said Huth lied about many aspects of her case and sought to discredit her claims altogether. The jury is now expected to begin deliberations on Thursday.
“You have to decide what’s right,” Huth’s attorney Nathan Goldberg told the jury at the end of his initial closing statement. “But please bear in mind that you have to hold Mr. Cosby wholly and completely accountable for the harm he did.”
Goldberg harkened back to Huth’s testimony from a week ago — her first time publicly recounting her allegations since filing her suit in 2014 — in which Huth, now 64, detailed meeting Cosby as a teenager when Cosby was shooting the film Let’s Do It Again in 1975. Cosby eventually took Huth and her friend at the time Donna Samuelson to the Playboy mansion, where he allegedly went to another room with Huth and forced her hand on his penis and masturbated with it.
Samuelson supported the claim in early June in her own testimony, which Goldberg also referenced in his closing statement. Samuelson recalled that she convinced Huth to stay at the mansion for several more hours after the alleged assault, and she also previously gave Huth photos she’d saved of Huth with Cosby at the mansion.
Goldberg also went back to the testimonies of Kim Burr and Margaret Shapiro, who both testified in the trial alleging that Cosby sexually harassed or assaulted them as well. Burr was 14 when Cosby allegedly brought her into his trailer on a film set and kissed her, she said. Shapiro alleged that Cosby also assaulted her at the Playboy mansion when she was 19. She claimed she took a pill there and fell unconscious before she woke up with Cosby inside of her.
Goldberg said that Cosby’s actions toward Huth were premeditated and thought out, reflecting Cosby’s purported pursuit of sexual favors toward Huth or Samuelson. “I suggest to you this was planned,” he said. “They were [at the Playboy mansion] because he wanted to engage in sex and he didn’t care if they were minors.”
Huth’s suit is the first civil case against Cosby to reach trial. Filed in 2014, the case faced multiple delays amid the pandemic, and because of the criminal trials he faced in Pennsylvania as well. While Cosby was convicted in 2018, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court overturned the case last year.
Cosby’s team had denied all the claims but acknowledged he was at the mansion and took photos with Huth. Cosby’s lawyer Jennifer Bonjean addressed the jury after the court’s lunch recess, telling the court that Huth was a liar and that she colluded with Samuelson to capitalize amidst the other allegations that surfaced against Cosby before she filed her lawsuit.
Bonjean focused mainly on discrepancies in key testimonies, such as Huth and Samuelson’s claims about their ages when the assault would’ve happened. Until about a month ago, Huth said she was 15 when the alleged incident occurred, but she revised the timeline after conceding her meeting would’ve been in 1975, not 1974. Bonjean tried poking other holes about whether or not Cosby could’ve known Huth was not 18, along with questioning the credibility of Shapiro’s allegations. She called Huth’s case a “he said/she said claim.”
“We’re the ones who put in evidence of her age at the time. We did it by obtaining a butler log from Playboy enterprises. You have a plaintiff who isn’t sure this happened in 1973, 1974, or a week before she turned 17,” Bonjean said. “The proof is their burden. They could’ve come with better evidence but they did not.”
Bonjean finished her closing statement with a graphic she and her team placed on her screen that read “game over,” a play on the so-called “Donkey Kong defense” they’d used earlier in the trial. Huth and Samuelson previously said they were playing the arcade game Donkey Kong at the mansion the night of the alleged assault in 1975, but the game didn’t come out until years later. When Bonjean pushed on that fact, Samuelson acknowledged she said the incorrect game name and used the Donkey Kong name as a sort of sobriquet for arcade games in general.
Andrew Wyatt, Cosby’s spokesperson, says Cosby and his team feel confident in their case. “We’re tired and Mr. and Mrs. Cosby want to get on with their lives. Mr. Cosby, we believe, will be vindicated,” he told Rolling Stone following the hearing.
As he started his final rebuttal, Goldberg was visibly upset about Cosby attorney’s gesture that he thought made light of the alleged assault claim, addressing it immediately during his final rebuttal at the end of the trial.
“This is a game?” Goldberg asked with a raised voice. Goldberg and Bonjean bickered with one another multiple times during the court hearing, including during Goldberg’s final rebuttal. At one point Goldberg told Bonjean to “have some respect” for the alleged victims she was cross examining. “We are not here for a game. We have a client who was sexually assaulted by Mr. Cosby in 1975.”