Bill Cosby’s lawyers have presented expert testimony about memory ahead of closing arguments in his sexual assault case.
The legal team’s witness is part of their bid to discredit a woman’s account of Cosby allegedly sexually assaulting her 47 years ago.
Dr Deborah Davis, a psychologist and expert in sexual communication, told a court in California memories can fade over time and a person can develop false recollections based on details of unrelated events that happen later.
She said: “Distortion of memory can be because of things like societal change or the #MeToo movement.
“It can cause you to think about it differently and remember it differently.”
Dr Davis is part of one of three experts Cosby’s legal team was expected to call as it tries to persuade a jury in the trial in Santa Monica the comic’s accuser Judy Huth fabricated an account of a sexual assault that she said happened in 1975 at the Playboy Mansion.
Huth, 64, testified earlier this week Cosby, 84, invited her to the house where he allegedly tried to put his hand down her pants and then forced her to perform a sex act on him.
She said she and her friend Donna Samuelson, then 17, met the comic while he was shooting a film in a park.
They walked over to the filming of ‘Let’s Do It Again’ and Cosby is said to have approached the girls and “bantered” with them before inviting pair to meet him the following Saturday at a tennis club.
Huth’s testimony came after Cosby’s lawyers employed their ‘Donkey Kong defense’ in the case.
Its name refers to their response to Samuelson’s claim of playing the video game at the Playboy Mansion in 1975, six years before its release.
Huth previously said the incident occurred in 1974, when she was 15, but recently said she now believes it was 1975.
The 12-person jury sitting on the case is expected to begin hearing closing arguments in the coming days.
Only nine of the 12 jurors must agree on a verdict.
Their decision must be based on a preponderance of the evidence, which is a different standard than that used in criminal trials, where proof must be found to be convincing beyond reasonable doubt.
Earlier in the trial, a forensic psychiatrist called by Huth’s team said that traumatic memories from sexual assault were strongly embedded in a person’s brain and victims could accurately recall the details of their trauma years and decades afterwards.
The civil trial is one of the last legal cases against Cosby.
It is taking place 11 months after ‘The Cosby Show’ star was freed from prison when Pennsylvania’s highest court threw out his sexual assault conviction in a different case.
The comedian and actor saw his lovable family man reputation – built up playing dad Cliff Huxtable in the 1980s television comedy series – shattered when more than 50 women accused him of sexual assaults over nearly five decades.
In 2018, Cosby was found guilty of drugging and molesting Andrea Constand, 49, who worked at Temple University in Philadelphia, in his home in 2004.
Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court last June overturned the conviction after the comic had served more than two years of a three to 10-year sentence.
The court said Cosby should not have faced the charges as a previous district attorney had publicly promised in 2005 not to prosecute the comedian and in March, the US Supreme Court declined to review the move.