'Donkey Kong Defense' Comes Into Play at Bill Cosby Trial

Defense team says video game statements prove women's story is false
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 7, 2022 12:07 AM CDT
Why Donkey Kong Is Playing a Role in Bill Cosby Trial
Judy Huth appears at a news conference outside the Los Angeles Police Department's Wilshire Division station in Los Angeles on Dec. 5, 2014.   (AP Photo/Anthony McCartney, File)

The “Donkey Kong defense” came into play Monday at a civil trial over sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby, as his attorney pressed a key witness over previous statements that 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 over the lawsuit of Judy Huth, who also began testifying Monday, but did not yet describe her allegation that 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 stand Monday, testifying about the game room with an adjacent bedroom where Huth says Cosby forced her to perform a sex act, the AP reports.

“You testified multiple times that you were playing Donkey Kong,” Cosby attorney Jennifer Bonjean told Samuelson, referring to a 2014 police interview and a 2016 deposition in Huth’s case. “If I did I did," Samuelson said. “I understand it wasn't around yet.” Bonjean played a clip from the deposition, in which Samuelson referred to the game several times. Asked Monday to explain the discrepancy, Samuelson answered, “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 she shook them off.

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 whether similar photos taken years after 1975 could have affected her memory and testimony. Samuelson replied that she hadn't seen such an image until the 2016 photo was shown to her in court during her testimony last week. During his opening statement on Wednesday, Huth's attorney Nathan Goldberg sought to head off the issue, telling jurors they were going to be hearing “the Donkey Kong defense” from Cosby's lawyers. “So she got the name wrong,” Goldberg said, “so what?” Bonjean embraced the term in her opening, saying Huth's similar prior statements about Samuelson playing the game, and photos showing it in the room later, were evidence that the two women were coordinating a false story. (Click for more on Huth's testimony.)

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