PHILADELPHIA (AP) — 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 treated them the same way he did his victim, Andrea Constand. The defense said their testimony prejudiced the jury against the actor and comedian.
“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. Saylor said during oral arguments in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. “So how can that be a common scheme?”
The prosecutor, in response, offered more precise details about the relationships, saying Cosby used his fame and fortune to mentor the women and then took advantage of it.
“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,” said Assistant District Attorney Adrienne Jappe, of suburban Philadelphia’s Montgomery County, where Constand says she was assaulted at Cosby’s estate in 2004.