The judge who presided over Bill Cosby's criminal case revealed Tuesday that he let five other sexual assault accusers testify at the comedian's trial because their allegations had "chilling similarities" that pointed to a "signature" crime.
The jury in the case heard not only from Constand, but also five of Cosby's other accusers.
The 81-year-old comic is appealing his conviction based on the five other accusers' testimony and several other of Montgomery County Judge Stephen O'Neill's rulings in the trial.
O'Neill wrote in an opinion on Tuesday, "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. These chilling similarities rendered [the five accusers'] testimony admissible."
Cosby and his wife, Camille, responded in a furious statement Wednesday morning.
“Now, after more than 50 years of work, that humanized the dehumanized; which also challenged the perpetual architects of racist, exploitive and greedy maneuvers that have enabled them to divide and conquer … my husband has been severely redefined by Judge O’Neill, despite having zero proof,” a rep for Camille told Fox News in a statement. “Judge O’Neill, with a great deal of help from the media, has tried to turn Bill Cosby into one of the most insidious stereotypes of African American men … the brutal, black buck."
Cosby himself said in a statement, "I stand firmly with my wife on the foundation of solidarity and truth. Camille has always been a fearless warrior against corruption and bigotry. She’s not afraid of this unethical judge, nor am I afraid of O’Neill’s grossly immoral tactics."
In Cosby's first trial, in June 2017, O'Neill allowed only one other accuser to testify. After a jury deadlock led to a mistrial, Cosby was re-tried in April 2018.
O'Neill said in Tuesday's opinion that Cosby's defense team in his retrial never directly challenged him on the difference in his two trial rulings about the other accusers' testimony, also noting that judges are not bound by their prior decisions.
The defense also argued in their appeal that Cosby had a binding agreement with a former prosecutor, Bruce Castor, that he would never be charged in the case. O'Neill shot down the defense's the claim in his opinion Tuesday, claiming that the signed press release presented was not an immunity agreement.
Castor investigated Constand's allegations in 2005. Castor declined to prosecute Cosby at the time, citing Constand's yearlong wait in reporting her sexual assault claim to police.
When Constand filed a civil lawsuit against Cosby, 13 other accusers came forward; Cosby settled with Constand for $3.4 million.
The criminal case against Cosby was reopened in 2015 after his deposition went public; Castor reportedly told his successor about his "non-prosecution" agreement with America's Dad. Castor forwarded their correspondence to Cosby's defense and testified as a defense witness at a 2016 hearing, O'Neill noted in his opinion Tuesday.
Cosby's defense implored O'Neill to recuse himself from the case, citing alleged bias, which O'Neill also shot down.
The Associated Press also contributed to this report.