Cosby citing systemic racism as he fights assault conviction

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FILE - In this Feb. 2, 2016, file photo, Bill Cosby waves to cheering fans as he leaves after a court appearance in Norristown, Pa. Cosby was convicted of sexual assault in 2018. He is serving up to 10 years in prison. Now in the midst of another historic reckoning, this time addressing the treatment of African Americans and other people of color by police and the criminal justice system, the 82-year-old Cosby has won the right to an appeal. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

PHILADELPHIA – In a nearly empty Philadelphia courtroom in June 2015, a lawyer for Bill Cosby implored a federal judge to keep the comedian’s testimony in an old sexual battery lawsuit under wraps. It was sensitive. Embarrassing. Private.

U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno had another word for it.

The conduct Cosby detailed in his deposition was “perhaps criminal,” Robreno wrote five years ago Monday, in a momentous decision that released the case files to The Associated Press, reopened the police investigation, and helped give rise to the #MeToo movement.

Cosby, the Hollywood paragon of Black family values, was convicted of sexual assault in 2018 as the movement exploded and women across the globe shared personal histories of sexual harassment and abuse. He is serving up to 10 years in prison.

And now in the midst of another historic reckoning — this time addressing the treatment of African Americans and other people of color by police and the criminal justice system — the 82-year-old Cosby has won the right to an appeal.

He hopes to use the moment to his advantage.

“The false conviction of Bill Cosby is so much bigger than him — it’s about the destruction of ALL Black people and people of color in America,” Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt said when the court accepted the appeal late last month.

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