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Pennsylvania Court Rejects Bill Cosby’s Appeal to Overturn Sexual Assault Conviction

Actor and comedian Bill Cosby leaves the Montgomery County Courthouse in handcuffs after sentencing in his sexual assault trial in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S., September 25, 2018. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

A Pennsylvania appeals court on Tuesday rejected an appeal from Bill Cosby’s lawyers to overturn the disgraced comedian’s sexual assault conviction, saying additional witnesses in last year’s retrial were legitimate because they illustrated Cosby’s “signature” pattern of drugging and assaulting women.

In September 2018, Cosby was sentenced to three to ten years in prison for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his Philadelphia home in 2004. The first trial on the Constand charges, held in 2017, resulted in a hung jury. Five women testified against Cosby at the retrial, including television star and model Janice Dickinson, who alleged he drugged and sexually assaulted her when she was 27.

Cosby’s legal team had argued eight issues on appeal, including that the judge had improperly allowed the five women to testify at the retrial, after only allowing Constand to testify in 2017. His lawyers also contended that Cosby had a binding promise from a former prosecutor that he would never be charged in the case and could testify freely at a deposition in accuser Andrea Constand’s related lawsuit, a deposition that was later used against Cosby.

Cosby told a news outlet in November that he expects to serve the maximum 10-year sentence if he loses the appeal, because he would never express remorse to the parole board.

Citing precedent, Pennsylvania’s Superior Court rejected Cosby’s arguments and upheld the judge’s classification of Cosby as a sexually violent predator.

“We disagree that these differences render the PBA evidence inadmissible under the common plan/scheme/design or absence of mistake exceptions. It is impossible for two incidents of sexual assault involving different victims to be identical in all respects,” the court’s ruling reads.

Cosby, 82, can now ask the state Supreme Court to consider his appeal.

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