Bill Cosby loses appeal on sexual assault conviction

Actor and comedian Bill Cosby returns to the courtroom after a break with his spokesman Andrew Wyatt at the Montgomery County Courthouse, during his sexual assault trial sentencing in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S. September 24, 2018. (Photo by David Maialetti-Pool/Getty Images)

Bill Cosby’s appeal was denied by a Pennsylvania court today.

In April 2018, Cosby was convicted of sexually assaulting Andrea Constand and he was sentenced to serve between three and 10 years behind bars. His lawyers sought to overturn that conviction on numerous grounds. First, they claimed his trial was unfair because five women were allowed to give testimony about “prior bad acts” that was not similar in nature to what he stood accused of by Constand, reported Variety. They also argued that jurors should not have been allowed to hear how Cosby’s civil cases were handled during his criminal trial.

The three-judge appellate panel disagreed with both assertions.

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“Here, the PBA evidence established Appellant’s unique sexual assault playbook,” the court held. “Indeed, not only did the PBA evidence tend to establish a predictable pattern of criminal sexual behavior unique to Appellant, it simultaneously tended to undermine any claim that Appellant was unaware of or mistaken about Victim’s failure to consent to the sexual contact that formed the basis of the aggravated indecent assault charges,” the panel wrote.

Cosby’s lawyers also told the panel that trial judge, Steven O’Neill, was not fair and impartial and should have recused himself due to an alleged bias the judge had against Bruce Castor, who formerly worked as the Montgomery County district attorney who declined to prosecute Cosby in 2005. O’Neill previously said this said hogwash.

The appellate court said Cosby waited too long to raise this potential conflict and essentially waived the claim, Variety said, reporting that Cosby’s team first learned of the conflict in March 2018 but didn’t raise it until just before the comedian was sentenced last September.

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Furthermore, the panel disagreed with Cosby’s lawyers’ contention that the district attorney’s office shouldn’t have prosecuted Cosby because of the earlier decision by Castor not to – saying Castor doesn’t hold immunity power to prevent Cosby from being charged in any other case.

“Even assuming Mr. Castor promised not to prosecute Appellant, only a court order can convey such immunity,” the panel decided, according to Variety.