Cosby, 80, is charged with drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, 44, a former administrator of the women's basketball team at his alma mater, Temple University, at the television star's home near Philadelphia between December 30, 2003, and January 20, 2004. After the mistrial was declared past year, Cosby's wife called Steele "heinously and exploitively ambitious".
Earlier Monday, Cosby's retooled defense team, led by former Michael Jackson lawyer Tom Mesereau, had argued that telephone records, travel itineraries and other evidence show the alleged assault couldn't have happened when Constand says it did and thus falls outside the statute of limitations.
Before the first trial, prosecutors asked Judge O'Neill to allow 13 of the 19 women to testify against Cosby, but he allowed only one to do so because, in general, a defendant's history is not admissible as evidence that he or she committed a particular crime.
But Mr. Cosby's lawyers suggested Monday that they had evidence the two women did know each other and argued that investigators should have delved more deeply into their relationship.
All have maintained that they, too, were drugged and assaulted by Cosby in incidents strikingly similar to that described by Constand, Assistant District Attorney Adrienne D. Jappe said.
The defense contended that prosecutors want to call the other accusers to the stand because they're desperate to bolster an otherwise weak case.
Ms. Constand testified a year ago at trial that she did not know Ms. Jackson, and Judge O'Neill then blocked Ms. Jackson from testifying, asserting her evidence was hearsay. Constand testified she would have called Cosby to be let into his home, but his lawyers said her phone records don't reflect such a call within her time-frame.
The prosecution's argument centered on two precedents for allowing the other women to testify, the first allowing for the admission of prior bad acts when they are "distinctive and so almost identical as to become the signature of the same perpetrator".
The settlement ties directly to a claim from Constand's former co-worker who said Constand spoke about fabricating sexual assault allegations against a celebrity so she could sue and get money, Mesereau argued Tuesday. He has said the encounter was consensual.
The defense disputed Constand's testimony at last year's trial that he assaulted her at his suburban Philadelphia home in January 2004, when she was a Temple University women's basketball executive and he was a powerful Temple trustee.
Judge Steven O'Neill is presiding over the case.
Jury selection for Cosby retrial is scheduled to begin on March 29 and opening arguments are slated for April 2.
Cosby was arrested on December 30, 2015, meaning any encounter prior to December 30, 2003 would have fallen outside the 12-year statute of limitations. He paused as he entered the courtroom to offer condolences to Cosby on the death of his 44-year-old daughter, Ensa, 10 days earlier.
Cosby, 80, has faced dozens of claims of inappropriate behaviour, drugging, and/or sexual assault dating back to the 1960s.
During the first trial, Constand testified that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her while she was unconscious at his home in 2004. A judge had allowed just one other accuser to testify.
For embattled comedy icon Bill Cosby, the retrial on sexual assault charges is fast approaching.
The prosecutors' investigators interviewed Jackson and were successful in getting Jackson barred from testifying during Cosby's first trial. They say the testimony is needed to counter the defense team's "inevitable attacks" on Constand's credibility.