In a surprising development, former actor and convicted sex offender Bill Cosby will be able to appeal the results of his 2018 trial. Mr. Cosby’s lawyers have long railed against the 2018 ruling. Part of their reasoning for disagreeing with the ruling involves a 2006 deposition wherein Mr. Cosby himself made incriminating statements.
Mr. Cosby was found guilty on charges of drugging and raping a woman during a 2004 incident. Part of the evidence used against him including his own testimony during a deposition, which Mr. Cosby’s lawyers insist were improperly admitted as evidence.
The defense argued that the 2006 statements were made on the condition that a Montgomery district attorney promised not to prosecute Mr. Cosby over his contacts with Andrea Constand.
DA Used 2006 Deposition Anyway
In spite of this, the defense claims, the new DA, Kevin Steele, went back on his predecessor’s promise. Mr. Steele has argued that he is not bound by agreements made by former DAs, and that the statements made in the 2006 lawsuit were fair game.
This led to the defense filing an appeal for the 2018 case to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court has allowed this appeal to proceed. In the case, they will question whether Cosby “reasonably relied upon those oral and written statements by providing deposition testimony in the civil action, thus forfeiting his constitutional right against self-incrimination”.
Move Draws Mixed Opinions from Public
Andrew Wyatt, a spokesperson for Mr. Cosby, stated that this was a huge win for justice. Mr. Wyatt stated that he hopes this appeal exposes “the corruption that lies within the criminal justice system”. Mr. Cosby’s defense team echoed this sentiment on Tuesday.
However, women’s rights activists and Mr. Cosby’s own victims have decried the move. Ms. Constand herself posted a statement on Twitter that called on the court to review this decision.
She urged the court to consider how they could be “putting my perpetrator back into the community after being labelled a convicted sexually violent predator who has shown no remorse for his actions”.
This move has been seen by many women’s rights activists as a huge step backwards for the “Me Too” movement. Mr. Cosby’s arrest, trial, and sentencing were seen as a huge win for the movement in 2018.
Likewise, the conviction of film producer Harvey Weinstein was seen by many as a turning point for the movement. The prospect of a court overturning Mr. Cosby’s conviction has drawn criticism from leaders of the movement.