A surprise ruling from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Wednesday has overturned comedian/actor Bill Cosby's conviction for drugging and sexually assaulting Temple University employee Andrea Constand in 2003. The 83-year-old Cosby was sentenced to 10 years to a state prison near Philadelphia- a conviction Cosby vowed to fight. At the heart of the high court's ruling were the five additional accusers allowed to testify during Cosby's retrial about their past experiences with the defendant. According to the initial AP reporting, "The Pennsylvania Supreme Court said that testimony tainted the trial, even though a lower appeals court had found it appropriate to show a signature pattern of drugging and molesting women." For the justices of the high court, a major concern was "the judiciary's increasing tendency to allow testimony that crosses the line into character attacks." In addition, the high court's judges cited a prior agreement that Cosby had with a prior prosecutor that apparently shielded Cosby from being charged based on testimony Cosby gave in a civil case. It is still not clear what the prosecution's next steps will be. You can read the full ruling here for further details from the high court's judges.
Cosby's lawyer Jennifer Bonjean argues before the Pennsylvania high court that the prosecution "put on vague evidence about the uncharged conduct." For Cosby, Bonjean argued, "The presumption of innocence just didn't exist for him." Assistant District Attorney Adrienne Jappe made the argument that the testimony was necessary to show a long, sustained history on Cosby's part for drugging and sexually assaulting women. In particular, that Cosby used his public persona to hide his activities. "There was a built-in level of trust because of his status in the entertainment industry and because he held himself out as a public moralist," ADA Jappe argued to the court.
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