October 16, 2018

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Cosby Prosecutors Want Other Accusers to Testify at Sentencing

Cosby Prosecutors Want Other Accusers to Testify at Sentencing
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Prosecutors in the Bill Cosby sexual assault case asked a Pennsylvania judge on Tuesday to admit live testimony in the sentencing phase from women who say he molested them, but whose accusations did not lead to criminal charges.

The Montgomery County district attorney, Kevin R. Steele, filed a motion in the Court of Common Pleas requesting the admission as evidence of “uncharged criminal acts committed by the defendant” and saying he intends to present “numerous witnesses” at the sentencing hearing, which is set for Sept. 24 and 25.

Mr. Cosby was found guilty in April of three charges of aggravated indecent assault based on the accusations of one woman, Andrea Constand, who said he had drugged and sexually abused her at his home near Philadelphia in 2004.

Mr. Cosby, 81, faces up to 10 years in prison on each of the three convictions. Judge Steven T. O’Neill, who presided over the trial, will determine his sentence.

During the trial, in response to a request by the prosecution, Judge O’Neill allowed five other accusers to testify under Pennsylvania’s “prior bad acts” law, which admits such evidence if it shows a pattern of behavior by the defendant. Dozens of women have accused Mr. Cosby of having assaulted them over a span of decades.

In his motion Tuesday, Mr. Steele said the other accusers at the sentencing would “provide testimony relevant to the proper assessment of the defendant’s character, background, dangerousness to the community, and rehabilitative needs.”

Mr. Steele cited prior cases to support his argument that the information relevant at sentencing can include “uncharged criminal conduct” even if it involved a different victim and did not result in a conviction.

Live testimony from the other witnesses during the sentencing would provide a “necessary evidentiary link” between the defendant and the uncharged criminal conduct, he said.

Mr. Cosby’s publicist, Andrew Wyatt, and his lawyer, Joseph P. Green, issued a statement dismissing the prosecution motion as “another publicity stunt” that was unsupported by any Pennsylvania law.

The trial that ended in Mr. Cosby’s conviction this year was the second in the same case. The initial jury was unable to reach a verdict and Judge O’Neill declared a mistrial in July 2017.



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