Bill Cosby’s Appeal in Sexual Assault Conviction Rejected

Bill Cosby’s attempt to have his sexual assault conviction overturned was denied by a Pennsylvania appellate court on Tuesday.

Cosby, 82, was convicted of sexual assault in 2018 and sentenced to 3 to 10 years in prison. He attempted to get that overturned in an appeal that argued that the judge had let five women testify at last year’s retrial in suburban Philadelphia, despite the judge allowing only one woman to testify during the first trial in 2017, reported Fox News.

But the Superior Court said the women’s testimony was valid because it established evidence of Cosby’s “unique sexual assault playbook” and undermined any claim that he “was unaware of or mistaken about victim’s failure to consent.”

In his appeal, Cosby’s lawyers also argued that the women’s claims were too old to be included and too different from Andrea Constand’s allegations, reported TMZ.

According to The New York Times, in the Pennsylvania courts—as well the courts of various other states—testimonies about criminal allegations that had happened in the past would be allowed only if it demonstrated a pattern of abuse that was specific to a certain person, in this case Cosby, among other conditions. Although they are allowed under certain specific conditions, the inclusion of these testimonies in courts have been rare, the news outlet reported.

However, the court stated that the testimonies were warranted and valid, according to TMZ, because it established a specific pattern of abuse, and in this case, Cosby’s “unique sexual assault playbook.” The court said that the women’s testimonies established Cosby’s pattern, or signature, for his sexual abuses.

According to the opinion file (pdf) from the Pennsylvania court, the former celebrity’s “sexual assault playbook” consisted of choosing women who were much younger than him, establishing himself as a mentor-type individual, and getting the young women to trust him because of his celebrity status. Cosby would later use drugs to incapacitate the women and sexually assault them.

“Here, the (prior bad act) evidence established appellant’s unique sexual assault playbook,” the court stated, according to Fox News. In response to Cosby’s appeal that the testimonies were too different, the court said that it would be “impossible for two incidents of sexual assault involving different victims to be identical in all respects,” according to The New York Times.

During the ruling, the court stated that “not only did the (prior bad act) 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.”

Following the rejection of his appeal, Cosby could technically appeal his case to the Supreme Court, although it is not certain whether the Supreme Court will consider hearing the case.

Cosby has been serving a 3- to 10-year prison sentence for the incident with Andrea Constand in 2004.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.