The Pennsylvania Supreme Court questioned Tuesday whether Bill Cosby’s allegedly intoxicating and sexually abusive young female story fits the pattern of signature crime, according to studies showing that half of all sexual abuse involves drugs or alcohol.
Cosby, 83, is hoping to overturn his 2018 rape conviction because the judge allowed prosecutors to call five other prosecutors who say Cosby treats them the same as his victim, Andrea Constand. According to the defense, their testimony adversely affected the jury against the actor and should not have been allowed.
“This behavior you describe – the steps, the young women – is in the literature that says that 50% of the abuse – thousands of abuse – is typical across the country.” . – So how can this be a common system?
In response, the prosecutor offered more precise details of the relationship, saying he used Cosby’s reputation and fortune to mentor the women and then took advantage of it. And sometimes he became friends with their mothers or families.
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“There was a built-in level of trust because of his status in the entertainment industry and because he considered himself a public moralist,” said Adrienne Jappe, an assistant professor in Philadelphia’s suburban Montgomery County, where, according to Constand, Cosby’s estate was abused in 2004.
“The signature isolated and intoxicated young women with the intent to sexually abuse them,” Jappe said.
Cosby spent between three and ten years in prison for more than two years for Constand drug abuse and molestation, whom he met through his basketball program at Alma Mater, Temple University.
Courts have long struggled with decisions about when other prosecutors should testify in criminal cases. It’s not usually allowed, but state laws allow a few exceptions, including the presentation of a signing offense or proof of someone’s identity. The state’s supreme court appears to be happy to address the issue, taking on the first famous criminal case of the #MeToo era. The court usually takes several months to issue an opinion.
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Judge Steven T. O’Neill only allowed another prosecutor to testify at Cosby’s first trial in 2017, when the jury was unable to pass judgment. The #MeToo movement conquered months later in the media about Harvey Weinstein, a film mogul and other men accused of sexual abuse.
O’Neill then testified against five other prosecutors at Cosby’s retrial in 2018, when the jury convicted him of Constand drug and sexual abuse.
Cosby’s second-degree attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, said prosecutors took advantage of “all this vague testimony” about her past behavior and acknowledging that she wanted to give women alcohol or kala before a sexual encounter.
“Mr. Cosby was put in a position where he didn’t shoot.” The presumption of innocence simply did not exist for him. , ”Bonjean said in Tuesday’s arguments held online over the COVID-19 epidemic.
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The Constand went to the police in 2005, about a year after spending the night in his home. The other women knew Cosby through the entertainment industry in the 1980s and did not go to the police.
The defense also challenged the trial judge’s decision that the jury heard Cosby’s damaging testimony, which was brought against him by Constand in 2005 after Bruce Castor, then prosecutor, refused to arrest Cosby.
The testimony was sealed for nearly a decade until the Associated Press asked the federal judge to release the case documents as more Cosby prosecutors appeared. The judge agreed, and Castor’s successor reopened the case in 2015, barely a few months before his arrest expired.
Cosby, a once-beloved comedian and actor called America’s father, said he will serve his full 10-year term, not that he commits an offense on parole.
Criminal law professor Laurie Levenson said it was important for the court to examine Cosby’s convictions, given the attractiveness of the case, the legal issues he raised and the potential impact of the #MeToo movement.
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He was less sure that there were data showing that intoxication was as common in cases of sexual harassment in the 1980s and 2004 as it is today.
“We’ve heard a lot more about the types of doping for sexual abuse (recently), but I’m not sure how common this was at the time of the crime,” said Levenson of Loyola Law School. “I think the court is doing the right thing and asking,‘ Have you been convicted with legitimate evidence? “
The AP generally does not identify victims of sexual harassment without their permission from the Constand.