PHILADELPHIA – Lawyers for Bill Cosby argued in an appeal filed Tuesday that it was “fundamentally unfair” to let prosecutors use Cosby’s prejudicial testimony following a sex accuser against him at trial.
Cosby believes he had an executory promise from a prosecutor that he could never be indicted in the case, and said the testimony of five other accusers about meetings that had taken place for years – even decades – had unduly harmed the jury against him.
A spokeswoman for the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office declined to comment, but said prosecutors would file a response in the coming month.
Cosby, 83, is serving three to ten years in prison after a jury in his 2018 sexual assault trial found him guilty of three counts of sexual assault after a 2004 meeting with accuser Andrea Constand .
The record claims a testimony by Cosby regarding the use of Quaaludes and allegations of uncharged sexual misconduct with about a half-dozen women “was irrelevant evidence that did not serve any legitimate purpose of non-propensity.”
Cosby’s lawyers have argued that these incidents happened too long ago, in some cases dating back to the 1970s, and that they lacked “striking similarities” or comparable facts to the crimes for which he was tried.
A former prosecutor had refused to prosecute Cosby when she went to police in 2005. However, another prosecutor reopened the case in 2015 after the Associated Press successfully asked a federal judge to unearth the documents in the trial she had filed against him, including Cosby’s testimony about a series of sexual encounters with young women over the years and his admission that he had persuaded Quaaludes to give women before sex.
Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O’Neill allowed another prosecutor to testify for the prosecution at the Cosby trial in 2017, when the jury is deadlocked, and five when he was tried. and convicted at a new trial the following year.
“The age-old ban on bad character evidence was effectively dismantled in Cosby’s trial,” when the court upheld “decades-long unaccused allegations of sexual misconduct,” lawyer Jennifer Bonjean wrote in the case. call.
Cosby said he relied on prosecutors’ promises not to press charges when he filed his testimony despite the constitutional right not to incriminate himself.
“Although the evidence was allegedly allowed for a limited purpose, the prosecution’s final argument shows that the jury was asked to reach a verdict against Cosby on the basis of a portrayal of him, unsupported by evidence. real, as a predator who drugged and raped women for decades. Said Cosby’s new record.
The result, defense lawyers said, was a violation of Cosby’s “right to be tried on the crimes charged, rather than a life-long indictment.”
The record noted that Cosby’s attorneys did not disclose an earlier Pennsylvania case that directly addresses whether a prosecutor can make an unwritten promise not to sue that their elected successor must honor.
“Fundamental fairness and due process principles” mean this promise binds Montgomery County prosecutors, Cosby’s lawyers argued.
In June, Pennsylvania’s highest court agreed to review those two issues, overturning a lower court that had dismissed Cosby’s appeal.
Cosby has been imprisoned in the suburbs of Philadelphia for almost two years.
This story has been corrected to show that the filing of appeals was Tuesday and not Thursday.
Maryclaire Dale, The Associated Press
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