In a surprising choice that would check the authorized framework of #MeToo circumstances, comic Bill Cosby has gained the fitting to battle his 2018 sexual assault conviction within the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
The 82-year-old Cosby has been imprisoned in suburban Philadelphia for practically two years after a jury convicted him of drugging and sexually assaulting a girl at his dwelling in 2004. He is serving a three- to 10-year sentence.
The Supreme Court has agreed to overview two features of the case, together with the choose’s choice to let prosecutors name 5 different accusers to testify about long-ago encounters with the once-powerful actor and comic. Cosby’s legal professionals have lengthy challenged that testimony as distant and unreliable. The court docket may also think about, because it weighs the scope of the testimony allowed, whether or not the jury ought to have heard proof that Cosby had given quaaludes to girls prior to now.
Secondly, the court docket will look at Cosby’s argument that he had an settlement with a former prosecutor that he would by no means be charged within the case. Cosby has stated he relied on that settlement earlier than agreeing to testify within the trial accuser’s civil lawsuit.
Those points have been on the coronary heart of the case since Cosby was charged in December 2015, days earlier than the 12-year statute of limitations expired.
Prosecutors in Montgomery County had reopened the case that yr after The Associated Press fought to unseal parts of Cosby’s decade-old deposition testimony in accuser Andrea Constand’s intercourse assault and defamation lawsuit towards Cosby, which he had settled in 2006.
Convicted upon retrial
Dozens of different accusers had come ahead since then to accuse Cosby, lengthy beloved as “America’s Dad” due to his hit 1980s sitcom, of comparable misconduct. Montgomery County Judge Stephen O’Neill allowed simply one in every of them to testify at Cosby’s first trial in 2017, which ended with an acquittal.
But a yr later, after the #MeToo motion exploded within the wake of reporting on Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, the choose allowed 5 different accusers to testify on the retrial. The jury convicted Cosby on all three felony sex-assault counts.
Lawyer Brian W. Perry argued within the enchantment that letting different accusers testify “flips constitutional jurisprudence on its head, and the ‘presumption of guilt,’ rather than the presumption of innocence, becomes the premise.”
Spokesperson Andrew Wyatt stated Cosby was “extremely thankful” the court docket would hear the case. He stated the choice comes as demonstrators throughout the nation protest the loss of life of Black individuals by the hands of police and expose the “corruption that lies within the criminal justice system.”
“As we have all stated, the false conviction of Bill Cosby is so much bigger than him — it’s about the destruction of ALL Black people and people of colour in America,” Wyatt stated in an announcement.
Cosby’s legal professionals additionally challenged his classification as a sexually violent predator topic to lifetime supervision. The actor, who insists he had a consensual encounter with accuser Constand, has stated he would by no means categorical regret to the parole board.
The Associated Press usually doesn’t identify individuals who say they’ve been victims of sexual assault with out their permission, which Constand has granted.