Cosby filed a notice of appeal Wednesday in Montgomery County outside Philadelphia, asking the state Superior Court to overturn a ruling denying his writ of habeas corpus and ordering him to trial on three felony charges of aggravated indecent sexual assault.
At a July 7 preliminary hearing, Cosby's legal team sought to compel his accuser, Andrea Constand, to testify in person about what she says Cosby did to her in an encounter at his nearby home in 2004. In the absence of her in-person testimony at the hearing, Cosby argued, the case against him should be dismissed.
Under current case law in Pennsylvania, prosecutors may use police statements to spare accusers from having to repeatedly testify in court before trial, although the state high court has agreed to review the issue.
Cosby wants the high court to rule that Constand can be questioned on the stand at a preliminary hearing. His appeal is based, he argues in his petition, on an alleged violation of his "due process right to confrontation at a preliminary hearing."
Cosby argues there are "exceptional circumstances" that trigger a right to immediate appeal, including the prevention of a "great injustice" to Cosby; an issue of "basic human rights;" or an issue of "great public importance."
"The issues presented here are matters of great public interest that relate to safeguarding of basic constitutional/and human rights and they raise important constitutional questions that go to the heart of due process," Cosby's lead attorney, Brian McMonagle, says in the appeal.
Cosby, 79, says his 2004 encounter with Constand, 43, a former
So Constand sued Cosby in 2005 and settled for an undisclosed sum in 2006. A dozen women were prepared to testify in her suit that Cosby did to them what Constand says he did to her, but they never got the chance.
In October 2014, more Cosby accusers started to come forward publicly — they now total nearly 60 women — to allege Cosby drugged and/or raped them in episodes dating back decades. After portions of his deposition in the Constand suit were released in 2015, a new district attorney was elected, after campaigning to reopen Constand's case and pursue Cosby.
Thus, the charges Cosby now faces, filed just days before the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania was set to expire. They are the only criminal charges filed against Cosby so far and are likely to remain so because the others are too old to pursue.