SANTA MONICA, California. – The “Donkey Kong defense” came into play Monday in a civil lawsuit alleging sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby when his attorney pressured a key witness over earlier testimony that she watched the arcade game during a visit with Cosby to the Playboy Mansion had played in 1975, six years before its release.
The testimony came at the trial of the lawsuit from Judy Huth, who claims Cosby sexually assaulted her at the Playboy Mansion when she was 16. Cosby denies her allegations.
Donna Samuelson, a high school friend of Huth’s who accompanied her and Cosby on a visit to the mansion, returned to the witness stand Monday and testified about the playroom with an adjoining bedroom where Huth said Cosby took her to a sex act forced.
“You have testified numerous times that you played Donkey Kong,” Cosby’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, told Samuelson, citing a 2014 police interview and a 2016 testimony in Huth’s case.
“If I did it, I did it,” Samuelson said. “I understand it wasn’t there yet.”
Bonjean played a clip from the statement in which Samuelson made multiple references to the game.
“I played pinball and Donkey Kong,” she says at one point in the video.
When asked Monday to explain the discrepancy, Samuelson replied, “I got the name wrong. I just 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 off.
Bonjean showed Samuelson and the jury a photo of the game room taken in 2016 where a Donkey Kong game was featured and asked if similar photos taken years after 1975 might have affected her memory and testimony.
Samuelson responded that she had not seen such a picture until she was shown the 2016 photo during her testimony in court last week.
During his opening speech on Wednesday Huth’s attorney, Nathan Goldberg tried to avert the issue by telling the jury they would hear “the Donkey Kong defense” from Cosby’s attorneys.
“So she got the name wrong,” Goldberg said, “so what?”
Bonjean embraced the term in her opening, saying Huth’s similar earlier statements about Samuelson playing the game and photos showing it later in the room were evidence that the two women were coordinating a false story.
Samuelson testified last week that she didn’t realize Cosby and Huth went into a bedroom, but that Huth told her after Cosby left the two friends that he had molested her.
The process represents one of the last remaining legal claims Cosby after his sentencing in Pennsylvania was kicked out and other lawsuits were settled by his insurer against his will.
Cosby’s lawyers admit he brought the girls into the mansion but deny there was any sexual assault. Photos taken by Samuelson show the comedian and Huth together. They say visitor logs show it was April 5, 1975.
Bonjean also challenged Samuelson that the timing of the visit had changed by about a year in her and Huth’s accounts.
The original lawsuit, filed in 2014, alleged the incident happened in late 1973 or 1974, when Huth was 15 and Samuelson was 16. A few weeks before the trial began, Huth and her attorneys said that further examination of the evidence enabled them to determine that it did in fact happen in the spring of 1975, when Huth was 16 and Samuelson was 17.
“When you met Mr. Cosby, you always knew you were in high school, right?” Bonjean asked. Samuelson answered yes.
“So you knew you weren’t 16?” Bonjean asked.
“I didn’t realize I said the wrong year,” Samuelson said. She added, when she spoke to Huth about the incident in 2005 for the first time in decades, “she said she was 15 and I was 16 and I went along with it.”
Huth is yet to testify at the trial but is expected to comment soon after Samuelson.
The Associated Press does not typically name people who say they have been sexually abused unless they come forward publicly, as Huth did.
Follow AP Entertainment writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton
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https://www.local10.com/entertainment/2022/06/06/donkey-kong-defense-arises-at-bill-cosby-sex-abuse-trial/ “Donkey Kong Defense” originates from Bill Cosby’s sexual abuse trial