Pennsylvania Supreme Court hears arguments in Bill Cosby appeal - CBS News
Dec 02, 2020 1 min, 16 secs

Pennsylvania's highest court questioned Tuesday whether Bill Cosby's alleged history of intoxicating and sexually assaulting young women amounted to a signature crime pattern, given studies that show as many as half of all sexual assaults involve drugs or alcohol.

Cosby, 83, hopes to overturn his 2018 sex assault conviction because the judge let prosecutors call five other accusers who said Cosby mistreated them the same way he did his victim, Andrea Constand.

"That conduct you describe — the steps, the young women — there's literature that says that's common to 50% of these assaults — thousands of assaults — nationwide," Chief Justice Thomas G.

"The signature was isolating and intoxicating young women for the purpose of sexually assaulting them," Jappe said.

O'Neill had allowed just one other accuser to testify at Cosby's first trial in 2017, when the jury could not reach a verdict.

O'Neill then let five other accusers testify at Cosby's retrial in 2018, when the jury convicted him of drugging and sexually assaulting Constand. .

Cosby's appellate lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, said prosecutors exploited "all of this vague testimony" about his prior behavior and his acknowledgement that he had given women alcohol or Quaaludes before sexual encounters.

The testimony was sealed for nearly a decade until The Associated Press asked a federal judge to release documents from the case as more Cosby accusers came forward.

Criminal law professor Laurie Levenson believes it's important for the court to scrutinize Cosby's conviction given the publicity the case attracted, the legal questions it raised and the potential influence of the #MeToo movement.

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