Cosby granted appeal in PA sex assault case

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Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial, Monday, April 23, 2018, at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

(AP) – Pennsylvania’s highest court said Tuesday it will review the trial decision to let five other accusers testify at Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial in 2018, which ended with his conviction.

Cosby, 82, has been imprisoned in suburban Philadelphia for nearly two years after a jury convicted him of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his home in 2004. He’s serving a three- to 10-year sentence.

The Supreme Court has agreed to review two aspects of the case, including the judge’s decision to let prosecutors call the other accusers to testify about long-ago encounters with the once-powerful actor and comedian.

Cosby’s lawyers have long complained the testimony is remote and unreliable.

The court will also consider, as it weighs the scope of the testimony allowed, whether the jury should have heard evidence that Cosby had given quaaludes to women in the past.

Secondly, the court will examine Cosby’s argument that he had an agreement with a former prosecutor that he would never be charged in the case.

Cosby has said he relied on that agreement before agreeing to testify in the trial accuser’s lawsuit.

Those issues have been at the heart of the case since Cosby was charged in December 2015, days before the 12-year statute of limitations expired.

Prosecutors in suburban Philadelphia had reopened the case that year after The Associated Press fought to unseal portions of Cosby’s decade-old deposition testimony in accuser Andrea Constand’s sex assault and defamation lawsuit against Cosby, which he had settled in 2006.

Cosby, in the deposition testimony, acknowledged a string of extramarital relationships. He called them consensual, but many of the women say they were drugged and molested.

Dozens came forward in the years that followed to accuse Cosby, long beloved as “America’s Dad” because of his hit 1980s sitcom, of sexual misconduct. Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill allowed just one of them to testify at Cosby’s first trial in 2017, which ended with an acquittal.

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