Prosecutors have asked the United States Supreme Court to review comedian Bill Cosby’s overturned conviction for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman 15 years ago.
District Attorney for Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, Kevin Steele, disclosed this in a statement on Monday, announcing that the appeal was filed last Wednesday.
“The US Supreme Court can right what we believe is a grievous wrong,” Steele said.
Cosby was freed from prison on June 30, following a ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that he had been denied a fair trial, a move seen as a blow to the #MeToo movement.
The comedian was jailed in 2018 for assaulting Andrea Constand at his Philadelphia mansion in 2004, when she was an employee at Temple University.
In its decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court focused on a non-prosecution agreement between a former district attorney and Cosby over evidence he gave in a civil case.
Cosby had admitted giving Quaaludes, a now banned party drug, to women with a view to having sex with them in deposition testimony in that case.
However, the testimony was then used against him in a criminal trial years later brought forward by Steele.
Cosby’s lawyers argued that they believed the testimony was immune from prosecution in criminal court when he gave it.
They argued that the non-prosecution agreement meant he should not have been charged, which the Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices agreed with.
But Steele said on Monday that, “petitioning to ask the High Court for review was the right thing to do.” He denounced the “far-reaching negative consequences” of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision.
In his appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Cosby presented a 2005 press release as evidence of the first prosecutor’s statement not to prosecute him.
Steele said that the decision merited appeal because it set a precedent “that prosecutors’ statements in press releases now seemingly create immunity.”
A spokesperson for the 84-year-old actor criticised the latest appeal as “a pathetic last-ditch effort.”
Cosby served more than two years of a three-to 10-year sentence for aggravated indecent assault and has always maintained his innocence.
Although more than 60 women alleged that they had been victims of sexual assault by Cosby, he was tried criminally only for Constand’s assault, since the statute of limitations had expired in the other cases.
Cosby shattered racial barriers with his Emmy-winning role on “I Spy” in the 1960s and also starred as a dad and doctor on the hit TV series “The Cosby Show” in the 1980s.