Bill Cosby loses appeal after sexual assault conviction

Washington (AFP) –


US comedian Bill Cosby, who is serving a three and a half year jail sentence, on Tuesday lost his appeal against his conviction for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman 15 years ago.

Cosby had appealed to Pennsylvania's Superior Court, which issued a 94-page ruling upholding his conviction. He could now take his case to the state's Supreme Court.

The 82-year-old, who shattered racial barriers with his role as a dad and doctor on the hit TV series "The Cosby Show," (1984-1992), was found guilty in 2018 of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his Philadelphia mansion.

It was the first celebrity trial and first guilty verdict for sexual assault since the advent of the #MeToo movement.

A Pennsylvania judge sentenced the actor to three and a half years in prison on three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

An earlier trial in June 2017 ended in a mistrial after the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

Although more than 60 women charged that they had been victims of sexual assault by Cosby, he was tried criminally only for Constand's assault, since the statute of limitations had expired in the other cases.

Cosby insists he was unjustly convicted, and his lawyers argued in the appeal that five women should not have been allowed to testify at the retrial.

But the appeals court ruled that their evidence had established Cosby's "unique sexual assault playbook."

The women's evidence "tended to undermine any claim that appellant was unware of or mistaken about victim's failure to consent to the sexual contact," the ruling said.

A dozen women who say they were victims of Cosby have filed civil suits against the actor seeking compensation for damages.

Film producer Harvey Weinstein, whose case sparked the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment, is due to stand trial in New York in January.