NationalStacy M. Brown

Cosby Attorneys Move to Toss Comedian’s Conviction

Lawyers for Bill Cosby formally filed a motion to the state Supreme Court in Pennsylvania seeking to overturn the three guilty verdicts handed down in 2018.

The Aug. 11 filing states that trial court stripped Cosby of the presumption of innocence and relieved the prosecution of its burden of proof when it allowed the jury to hear decades-old, excessive uncharged bad act evidence that was absent a legitimate propensity purpose.

Specifically, the lawyers argued, it was wrong to allow testimony from five women who offered varying accounts of Cosby’s alleged sexual misconduct stemming from the 1980s, and Cosby’s highly prejudicial deposition testimony about his sexual behaviors in the 1970s that involved offering quaaludes to women he had shown sexual interest.

Cosby’s lawyers remain convinced that since Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele invited the testimony of five women who allegedly had encounters with Cosby in the 1980s, there was no reason to bring up the comedian’s alleged behavior from the 1970s.

In June, the state Supreme Court announced it would hear Cosby’s appeal.

Among other issues, Cosby’s attorneys argue that former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor previously agreed that Cosby would not be prosecuted in the matter of Andrea Constand if Cosby sat for a civil deposition arising from complaints made by Constand.

Castor has gone on record acknowledging the deal and has said he would testify to that fact. Incredibly, Montgomery County trial Judge Steven O’Neill declared Castor not credible. O’Neill did not offer justification for that decision even though Castor has enjoyed a stellar legal career.

“The [District Attorney’s] office issued a formal public statement reflecting that agreement, and Cosby reasonably relied upon those oral and written statements by providing deposition testimony in the civil action, thus forfeiting his constitutional right against self-incrimination,” the lawyers wrote in support of their argument for a new trial.

“The [appeals] panel erred in affirming the trial court’s decision to allow not only the prosecution of Cosby but also the admission of Cosby’s civil deposition testimony,” the lawyers wrote.

In 2006, Cosby agreed to pay Constand a $3.4 million civil settlement that arose from the relationship the two had between 2003 and 2004. Before the settlement, Cosby sat for civil depositions over several months.

Parts of the deposition were disseminated in the media and fail to show the full context in which Cosby responded to questions from Constand’s civil attorneys.

The full transcript of Cosby’s testimony, and statements provided to authorities over the years by Constand, revealed that the two engaged in a romantic relationship. It also revealed that Constand repeatedly called and interacted with Cosby after the alleged night in which she claims he drugged and fondled her.

Constand appeared angry when several telephone calls she made to Cosby on Valentine’s Day were not returned. The couple also exchanged gifts, and months after the alleged incident, Constand phoned Cosby to ask that he provide tickets to his comedy concerts to her and her parents.

Cosby has served about two years of a three-to-10-year sentence. He is represented by attorneys Jennifer Bonjean of New York and Barbara Zemlock and Brian Perry of Harrisburg, Pa.

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Stacy M. Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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