Bill Cosby’s lawyers on Tuesday formally appealed his conviction for drugging and sexually attacking a former friend at his home near Philadelphia 15 years ago, citing what they called errors in legal procedure that allowed trial testimony and evidence the defense contends should have been excluded.
Attorneys for the once-beloved American actor and comedian, star of the hit television sitcom “The Cosby Show,” urged the appellate-level Pennsylvania Superior Court to either throw out his 2018 guilty verdict altogether or grant him a new trial.
The 348-page appeal asserts that Cosby, 81, was wrongly convicted on the basis of “flawed, erroneous, and prejudicial rulings” by the trial judge, including the admission of testimony from several accusers other than the woman he was charged with assaulting.
A jury in Norristown, Pennsylvania, found Cosby guilty in April 2018 of drugging and sexually violating former Temple University administrator Andrea Constand, at his home near Philadelphia in 2004.
It marked the first such criminal conviction of a celebrity accused of sexual misconduct since the #MeToo movement that has brought down dozens of powerful, privileged men in American media, politics and business since the autumn of 2017.
In September of last year, trial Judge Steven O’Neill designated Cosby a “sexually violent predator” under state law, requiring Cosby to register as a sex offender for life, and sentenced him to a term of three to 10 years in prison.
Cosby, who is married, has insisted all along that any sexual encounters he had were consensual. He was found guilty on three counts of aggravated indecent assault.