A Pennsylvania judge did not err in allowing five women to take the stand against Bill Cosby to prove he was a serial sexual predator, an appeals court ruled Tuesday.
Lawyers for the 82-year-old appealed his conviction, arguing that Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge Steven O’Neill flubbed a decision to allow five accusers — including supermodel Janice Dickinson — to testify at retrial about being abused by the entertainer.
Only one additional accuser testified about being drugged and assaulted by Cosby during his first trial, which ended in a hung jury.
Long beloved as “America’s Dad,” Cosby was the first celebrity to be tried and convicted in the wake of the #MeToo era, and whose trial featured testimony regarding crimes with which he was not charged.
Prosecutors trying disgraced media mogul Harvey Weinstein also plan to call additional accusers, in an attempt to prove the conduct was part of a pattern.
The Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled that the testimony from additional accusers showed that Cosby exhibited a “signature” pattern of drugging and sexually assaulting his victims, as O’Neill found.
Bill Cosby is taken out of the Montgomery County Courthouse to state prison in shackles after being sentenced.Getty Images
Andrea ConstandGetty Images
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele lauded the decision, and celebrated Constand for her bravery in the face of continued litigation.
“First and foremost, it is my hope that with this last guaranteed step in the criminal justice process now complete, the victim in this case, Andrea Constand, can finally put this assault behind her and move on with her life as the strong survivor she is,” Steele said in a statement.
“Her bravery in coming forward when she did to report a sexual assault by a powerful, famous man led to the subsequent exposure of him as a serial predator and served as an example to other women, giving them the needed courage to step up and stand up against sexual assault. The world is forever changed because of Andrea’s bravery,” the DA said. “With this decision, it has been affirmed that no one is above the law.“
Under Pennsylvania law, Cosby’s lawyers can now ask if the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear their appeal.
Cosby’s spokesman Andrew Wyatt said the team would request the appeal and called the panel’s Tuesday decision “appalling and disappointing.”
“It shows the level of corruption that resides in the Judicial System of Pennsylvania,” Wyatt claimed. “We’re not shocked because it shows the world that this isn’t about justice, but this is a political scheme to destroy America’s Dad, however they will not stop us and we will prevail in the State Supreme Court. Mr. Cosby remains hopeful and he stands behind his innocence.”