Cosby lawyers al­lege bias

Sunday News - - WORLD -

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.

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