The nine women involved in funnyman Bill Cosby's sexual assault lawsuit have appealed to a Philadelphia judge for anonymity, fearing the exposing of their names would discourage other abuse victims from speaking out.

Canadian ANDREA CONSTAND accused the comedian of drugging and sexually assaulting her in a civil lawsuit in January (05) - a year after the alleged incident in his Pennsylvania home.

Cosby acknowledge he knows the woman and only gave her a sleeping pill and a muffin when she reported having problems sleeping, but vehemently denies assaulting her.

In court on Wednesday (22JUN05), attorney RALPH ATTORNEY, who represents one of the women called to testify, asked District Judge EDUARDO ROBRENO, "I urge the court not to say to these women that the price of coming forward is to be immediately swept into the publicity maelstrom."

While Cosby's attorney PATRICK O'CONNOR said he was not opposed to confidentiality, he was concerned the women would abuse their protection and "speak to the press under the cloak of anonymity".

Cosby, 67, was friends with Constand for several years, having go to know her through fundraising events at his former college Temple University - where Constand was once employed.

23/06/2005 13:36