Cosby appeal over sex assault conviction

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In this Sept. 25, 2018, file photo, Bill Cosby arrives for a sentencing hearing following his sexual assault conviction at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Comedian Bill Cosby has filed an appeal against the sex assault conviction that landed him in prison, complaining the testimony of five other accusers was "strikingly dissimilar" and should not have been aired in court.

The appeal on Tuesday challenges Judge Steven O'Neill's view that the women's testimony showed "chilling similarities" and pointed to a "signature" crime.

The 81-year-old Cosby has been serving a three- to 10-year prison term since September.

His insurance company this year recently settled lawsuits filed by at least eight other women who had accused Cosby of sexual misconduct and, in most cases, defamation.

The appeal, filed in Pennsylvania Superior Court, attacks Cosby's conviction on a number of grounds that have been argued repeatedly, since his December 2015 arrest.

The defence says any testimony from other accusers would unfairly stack the deck against Cosby, given that he was never charged in those cases.

And they say the five women who testified to bolster the prosecution case at Cosby's retrial last year alleged different types of sexual contact than Andrea Constand did.

"This evidence was used to strip Cosby of his presumption of innocence and to try to establish that Cosby had the propensity to sexually assault women. This evidence never should have been admitted at trial," wrote his legal team.

The judge in his memo this year, said the other women's accounts showed a long pattern of criminal behavior.

"In each instance, (Cosby) met a substantially younger woman, gained her trust, invited her to a place where he was alone with her, provided her with a drink or drug, and sexually assaulted her once she was rendered incapacitated," O'Neill wrote. "These chilling similarities rendered (their) testimony admissible."

Cosby's conviction came after a 50-year entertainment career in television, film and comedy.

© AP 2019