Bill Cosby appealed for his release on bail Wednesday, arguing that his efforts to overturn his conviction for sexual assault have been stymied by the trial judge’s delay in issuing an opinion that explains his decisions during the case.
Mr. Cosby is now in a maximum-security state prison in Pennsylvania, where he is serving three to 10 years.
“Mr. Cosby has been incarcerated for nearly seven months, yet review of his legally infirm and unsupported conviction by this Honorable Court is being delayed by the lower court, which has failed to file a timely opinion,” his lawyers wrote in a filing to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, which hears appeals.
Mr. Cosby, 81, was sentenced in September for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, in his home outside Philadelphia in 2004. He maintained his innocence and immediately said he would appeal.
The lawyers, for example, say Judge O’Neill wrongly ignored the testimony by a former district attorney who said he had promised never to prosecute Mr. Cosby and that he erred by allowing testimony from five other women who had accused Mr. Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting them.
“Bail is justified under the circumstances given Mr. Cosby’s advanced age and the strong likelihood that his conviction will not stand on appeal,” his lawyers, Brian W. Perry and Kristen L. Weisenberger, wrote in the latest request for bail.
In an Instagram post Wednesday that was attributed to Mr. Cosby, the entertainer characterized Judge O’Neill as a racist who holds a grudge against him.
While the Cosby appeal process will not move forward until Judge O’Neill issues his opinion, legal experts said the period of time that has elapsed since sentencing is by no means unusual in a case of such complexity.
“This was a long case,” said Dennis McAndrews, a Pennsylvania lawyer not connected to the Cosby case. “It’s fairly common for it to take at least this long to write up an opinion especially where the issues are fairly complex and extensive.”
Lynne M. Abraham, a lawyer and former Philadelphia district attorney, counseled Mr. Cosby to be patient. “He has forgotten who he is. He is now a defendant. He has to wait for the court,” she said.
She added: “If he thinks the trial court takes a long time, the appeals court sometimes doesn’t put an opinion out for a year or more.”