SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — The “Donkey Kong defense” came into play Monday in a civil trial on allegations of sexual assault against Bill Cosby, as his attorney pressed a key witness on previous statements according to which she had played the arcade game during a visit with Cosby to the Playboy Mansion in 1975, six years before its release.
The testimony came in the Los Angeles County trial of Judy Huth, who also began testifying on Monday but has yet to outline her allegation that Cosby sexually assaulted her at the Playboy Mansion when she was 16 years old. Cosby denies his allegations.
Donna Samuelson, a high school friend of Huth who accompanied her and Cosby on a visit to the mansion, returned to the stand on Monday, testifying to the playroom with an adjacent bedroom where Huth says Cosby forced her to perform a sexual act.
“You testified on several occasions that you played Donkey Kong,” Cosby’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, told Samuelson, referring to a 2014 police interview and a 2016 deposition in the Huth case. .
“If I did it, I did it,” Samuelson said. “I understand it wasn’t there yet.”
Bonjean played a clip from the deposition, in which Samuelson referenced the game several times.
When asked Monday to explain the discrepancy, Samuelson replied, “I got my name wrong. I kept saying that because it was a game. It could have been Atari.
She also said she was playing the game when Cosby came up behind her and put his hands on her shoulders before shaking them.
Bonjean showed Samuelson and the jury a photo of the game room taken in 2016, where a Donkey Kong game could be seen, and asked if similar photos taken years after 1975 might have affected his memory and testimony.
Samuelson replied that she had not seen such an image until the 2016 photo was shown to her in court during her testimony last week.
In his opening statement on Wednesday, Huth’s attorney, Nathan Goldberg, sought to sidestep the issue, telling jurors they would hear “Donkey Kong’s defense” from Cosby’s lawyers.
“So she got her name wrong,” Goldberg said, “so what?”
Bonjean embraced the term in his opening, saying Huth’s similar earlier statements about Samuelson playing the game, and photos showing him in the room later, were proof that the two women were coordinating a fake story.
The lawsuit represents one of the last remaining legal actions against Cosby after his Pennsylvania criminal conviction was thrown out and other lawsuits were settled by his insurer against his will.
Huth, 64, spoke briefly on Monday night, recalling the day in the spring of 1975 when she and Samuelson took her brother’s dog to play Frisbee at Lacy Park in San Marino, Calif., a place they frequented .
She said they noticed a production going on there that would turn out to be a shoot for the movie “Let’s Do It Again.” They saw stars Sidney Poitier, Jimmie Walker and Cosby, Huth said.
She recalled whispering “It’s Bill Cosby” to Samuelson, and Cosby playfully mimicking her whisper and pretending to leash his own dog.
She testified that after chatting for a while, Cosby invited them to watch him play tennis at a club in Los Angeles the following Saturday.
Huth said they were “excited, because we were kids and he was a celebrity. It was out of the norm, that was for sure.
The girls met Cosby at the club, where they briefly watched him play tennis, then went to the local house where he was staying.
There Cosby suggested they play a game of pool and suggested the stakes.
“He said for every game I lose I have to drink a beer, and for every game he loses he has to drink a beer,” Huth said.
Huth said she drank between one and three beers.
“I’m sure I felt the effects of the alcohol,” she said.
After about an hour, Cosby said he had a surprise for them, and they followed him in Samuelson’s Mustang to a gate, where the two cars were let in, Huth said.
They parked and walked into a game room, where country star and “Hee Haw” TV host Buck Owens was shooting pool, but left after a few minutes, Huth said.
She said she realized she was at the Playboy Mansion when she saw a drawing on the wall that was signed, “To Hugh,” slowly realizing it was referring to Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.
Asked by her lawyer about her reaction to his presence, she replied only with “Wow”.
He was shown a photo taken by Samuelson inside the playroom.
“It’s me and Bill Cosby,” she said.
The image, central to Huth’s case, has already been shown to jurors on several occasions. It shows Cosby wearing a red beanie and smiling next to the teenaged Huth.
Cosby’s attorneys acknowledge he took the girls to the mansion, but deny any sexual assault. They described Huth’s trial as a ploy to profit from photos taken that day.
The Associated Press does not normally name people who say they have been sexually abused unless they come forward publicly, as Huth did.
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