Cosby lawyers allege bias
PHILADELPHIA Bill Cosby’s legal team has blasted his sexual assault trial as a ‘‘public lynching’’ and is looking ahead to an appeal, after the judge yesterday ordered house arrest for the 80-year-old comedian and said he would be fitted with a GPS ankle monitoring device.
Cosby’s appeal seems certain to focus on the judge’s decision to let a parade of women testify that they, too, were abused by the former TV star.
Defence allegations of a biased juror and the admission of Cosby’s explosive testimony about drugs and sex are among other possible avenues of appeal as he tries to avoid a sentence that could keep him in prison for the rest of his days.
Cosby remains free on US$1 million bail while he awaits sentencing, probably within three months.
Judge Steven O’Neill said Cosby would be confined to his suburban Philadelphia home in the meantime. He may leave to meet with his lawyers or for medical treatment, but must get permission first.
Cosby has kept out of sight and is spending time with his wife of 54 years, Camille, in the wake of his conviction on Friday on charges that he drugged and molested Temple University women’s basketball administrator Andrea Constand at his home outside Philadelphia in 2004.
Constand, meanwhile, took to Twitter to thank prosecutors in her first comment on the verdict. ‘‘Truth prevails,’’ she wrote.
Cosby’s publicists likened the comedian star to Emmett Till, a black teenager who was kidnapped and murdered after witnesses said he whistled at a white woman in a Mississippi grocery store in 1955. Constand is white.
‘‘He maintains his innocence, and he is going to walk around as a man who’s innocent, because he didn’t do anything wrong,’’ Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt said on ABC’s Good Morning America.
The conviction triggered more fallout for Cosby, whose career and reputation were already wrecked by a barrage of accusations from more than 60 women who said he drugged and molested them over a span of 50 years. Temple University, the Philadelphia school that counted Cosby as its most famous alumnus, revoked his honorary degree.
Cosby maintained close ties with Temple, serving as its public face and often turning out to support its basketball teams – an interest that connected him with Constand.
The defence is likely to focus its appeal on the judge’s decision to allow five additional accusers to testify. The women’s testimony introduced a ‘‘huge amount of prejudice and bias’’, Cosby spokeswoman Ebonee Benson said.
Generally, testimony about a defendant’s past misconduct is admissible only under certain circumstances – for example, if it shows motive or intent.
Only one other accuser was permitted to testify at Cosby’s first trial, which ended in a hung jury last year.
The Cosby camp also complained about a juror who allegedly said before the trial that he thought the comedian was guilty. Cosby’s legal team tried unsuccessfully to have the man removed.
The defence is also expected to raise on appeal O’Neill’s ruling that allowed jurors to hear portions of a deposition Cosby gave over a decade ago as part of Constand’s lawsuit against him.
In the deposition, Cosby acknowledged obtaining quaaludes to give to women he wanted to have sex with. AP
Bill Cosby has kept out of sight and is spending time with his wife of 54 years, Camille, in the wake of his conviction.