The judge who presided over Bill Cosby's criminal case said he let five other accusers testify at the sex-assault trial because their accounts had "chilling similarities" that pointed to a "signature" crime. A jury last year convicted Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004, after hearing from her and the five others. Cosby, 81, is appealing his conviction based on the women's testimony and other key rulings by Montgomery County Judge Stephen O'Neill. Cosby began serving a three- to 10-year prison term in September at a state prison near Philadelphia. O'Neill, in a lengthy opinion filed Tuesday, said he found "striking similarities" in the women's descriptions of their encounters with the comedian, the AP reports.
"In each instance, (he) 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." O'Neill had allowed just one other accuser to testify at Cosby's first trial in June 2017, when a jury deadlock led to a mistrial. Cosby's latest team of lawyers has been awaiting the opinion so they can proceed with the appeal in Pennsylvania courts. Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt said the judge "has a habitual habit of always trying to cover his many errors, which continues to show his hatred towards Mr. Cosby." (Last month, Cosby's request to be released on bail was rejected.)