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Cosby files appeal over testimony from other women accusers

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Comedian Bill Cosby has filed a lengthy appeal of the sex assault conviction that landed him in prison, complaining the testimony of five other accusers was “strikingly dissimilar” to the pending felony charges and should not have been aired in court.

The appeal Tuesday challenges Judge Steven O’Neill’s view that the women’s testimony showed “chilling similarities” and pointed to a “signature” crime.

The 81-year-old Cosby has been serving a three- to 10-year prison term since September at a state prison near Philadelphia. His insurance company this year recently settled lawsuits filed by at least eight other women who had accused Cosby of sexual misconduct and, in most cases, defamation.

The appeal, filed in Pennsylvania Superior Court, attacks Cosby’s conviction on a number of grounds that have been central to the case, and argued repeatedly, since his December 2015 arrest. The defense has long argued that any testimony from other accusers would unfairly stack the deck against Cosby, given that he was never charged in those cases. Cosby’s lawyers have also complained that many of the accounts are decades old, and nearly impossible to defend.

And they say the five women who testified to bolster the prosecution case at Cosby’s retrial last year alleged different types of sexual contact than Andrea Constand did.

“This evidence was used to strip Cosby of his presumption of innocence and to try to establish that Cosby had the propensity to sexually assault women. This evidence never should have been admitted at trial,” lawyers Kristen L. Weisenberger, Brian Perry and Sarah Kelly-Kilgore wrote.

They also said O’Neill should have stepped down over an alleged feud with a former prosecutor who had declined to charge Cosby when Constand first went to police in 2005.

And they said the jury should not have heard Cosby’s 2006 deposition testimony from Constand’s civil case, in which he talked of getting quaaludes in the 1970s to give women before sex. That testimony, unsealed after a decade, led a new district attorney to reopen Constand’s police complaint and ultimately charge Cosby.

O’Neill, in his memo this year, said the other women’s accounts showed a long pattern of criminal behavior.

“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,” O’Neill wrote. “These chilling similarities rendered (their) testimony admissible.”

Cosby’s conviction came after a storied, 50-year entertainment career in television, film and comedy, and he’d earned the moniker “America’s Dad” through his top-ranked sitcom, “The Cosby Show.”

Camille Cosby, in a statement Tuesday, called her husband “one of our great American treasures,” and said his appeal was important for all “wrongfully convicted of a crime,

 

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DEMI LOVATO TO SING NATIONAL ANTHEM AT SUPER BOWL LIV

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Multi-platinum singer, songwriter, DEMI LOVATO will sing the National Anthem as part of Super Bowl LIV pregame festivities at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on Sunday, February 2, the NFL and FOX announced today. 

The pregame show, including the National Anthem, will be broadcast live worldwide.

Lovato is a Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, actress, advocate, philanthropist, and business woman. Within hours of the release of Lovato’s fifth studio album, CONFIDENT, the first single, “Cool for the Summer” trended worldwide and hit #1 on iTunes in 37 countries.

Lovato will join a prestigious line up of Super Bowl National Anthem performers, including: Gladys Knight, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Luke Bryan, Whitney Houston, Diana Ross, Jennifer Hudson, Billy Joel, P!NK, Jordin Sparks, Idina Menzel, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, and Neil Diamond.

In addition, on behalf of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), CHRISTINE SUN KIM, internationally renowned sound artist and performer, will sign the National Anthem in American Sign Language.

The NFL previously announced that Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will headline the Pepsi Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show.

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Tyler Perry Will Make His Netflix Debut With ‘A Fall From Grace’

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Now that Tyler Perry has ended the Madea franchise, and has his very own state-of-the-art production facility in Atlanta, GA, Perry is trying his hand at another thriller movie with his upcoming Netflix film, A Fall From Grace,

Crystal Fox, Phylicia Rashad, Bresha Webb, Mehcad Brooks, Cicely Tyson (Academy Award® Nominee) and Perry round out the cast. Perry also writes and directs A Fall from Grace, and it was the first to be completely filmed at his Atlanta studio.

The film follows a newly divorced woman named Grace Waters (Fox) who falls in love with a young man named Shannon (Brooks). But when secrets erode her short-lived joy, Grace’s vulnerable side turns violent

After being arrested for killing her new husband and awaiting for her upcoming trial, her lawyer (Webb) digs deep to find out the truth behind her husband’s alleged death and find a way to try to prove her innocence. “When you wake up, you don’t know that today will be the day to change your life,” says a disheveled and hand-cuffed Grace in the new montage of scenes.

A Fall from Grace arrives on Netflix on January 17th; add it to your watch-list here and check out the official trailer above.

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Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, returns to Canada after bombshell announcement

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The Duchess of Sussex has returned to Canada after she and Prince Harry announced they were “stepping back” as senior members of Britain’s royal family.

Prince Harry remains in the UK and Meghan is expected to come back to London on Tuesday, when the couple are set to attend an event with Janice Charette, High Commissioner of Canada to the UK, at Canada House.

Meghan and Harry wanted to meet with Charette “as well as staff to thank them for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada,” according to a statement from Buckingham Palace.

The couple recently returned from Canada, where they spent the Christmas holidays with the duchess’ mother, Doria Ragland.

“The Duke and Duchess have a strong connection to Canada. It’s a country The Duke of Sussex has visited many times over the years and it was also home to The Duchess for seven years before she became a member of The Royal Family,” the royals said on their Instagram page, Sussex Royal, on Wednesday.

The latest developments follow the shock announcement that the pair plan to “transition into a new working model” and become “financially independent” after stepping back from their roles as senior members of the British royal family.

There was said to be a mood of deep disappointment in the palace following the announcement, and senior members of the family are hurt as a result of the news.

Meghan and Harry’s desire to become “financially independent” has also sparked questions as to how they will be able to do this.

The pair published detailed documents outlining the structure and funding of their household, which revealed they receive 5% of their income from the Sovereign Grant — a lump sum of UK taxpayers’ money given to the Queen every year — and 95% from the Duchy of Cornwall, the private estate controlled by Prince Charles, Harry’s father.

Media reports have suggested that Meghan was independently worth around $5 million before she married Harry, who inherited millions from his mother Princess Diana.

However UK newspaper The Times reports that Charles may withdraw funding from the couple if they completely withdraw from their royal duties.

Observers say the couple are unlikely to struggle for money and could generate income from a UK trademark for their brand ‘Sussex Royal,” which the couple applied for in June, as well as sponsorship or speaking tours.

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