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The Post  
Pa Supreme Court Hears Bill Cosby Appeal; Philabundance Victim of $1M Scam; Instagramer Found Dead
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 12/02/20 12:17 am | updated: 12/02/20 12:17 am
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard an appeal on Tuesday, 12/1, of the sexual assault conviction of Bill Cosby. The 83-year-old entertainer has served two years of a 3-10 year sentence. The proceedings were held online and Cosby was not present. At question was trial Judge Steven T. O'Neill's decision to allow five other women testify about their alleged assaults at the hands of Cosby. During the first trial that ended in a mistrial, O'Neill had allowed only one other woman to testify. Dozens of women have gone public alleging sexual assault by Cosby over the decades. Prosector's argue that the testimony was necessary to show a pattern of him using his celebrity to drug and attack young women. The defense argued that they prejudiced the jury against their client. Despite all of the allegations and other women, Cosby was on trial for his attack on one women, Andrea Constand.

The defense also challenged the use of testimony from a 2005 deposition in a civil case related to the incident. They say that the prior Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor promised Cosby that charges would never be brought if he participated in the deposition. That was an oral arrangement and no record exists. In that testimony, Cosby talked about giving quaaludes to women. The case was reopened in 2015 by a different DA, just before the statute of limitations expired. The justices could take several months to return a decision.

Philabundance, the largest hunger relief organization in the Delaware Valley, was targeted by a cyberattack and scammed out of almost $1 million over the summer. The thieves infiltrated the organization's e-mail server and sent out a phishing e-mail. The fraudulent message appeared to come from a construction company that Philabundance had previously done business. They sent an invoice along with instructions to send $923,000 to a bank account. Someone at the organization sent the money. Philabundance reassures donors that its online donation system and donor database were not affected and are secure.

"This theft is an outrageous crime and at the worst possible time for Philabundance," CEO Loree D. Jones said in a statement. "In this pandemic, the hunger crisis in the Philadelphia region has grown to unprecedented dimensions. Many of the people coming to us for help are people who've never before relied upon a charitable food system. And we are serving far more people than we have in years past."

"It's increasingly difficult for any operation - nonprofit or for-profit - to protect itself from cybercrime. And it's unfortunate that we have been preyed upon as a social philanthropic organization and must increase our security efforts. We are encouraging other nonprofit organizations to do the same," Philabundance wrote in a statement.

A Pennsylvania native and Instagram influencer was found dead on the side of the road in Houston on Saturday morning, 11/28. 26-year-old Alexis Sharkey was discovered in a bush and naked with no visible injuries by a garbage truck driver. She had gone missing on Friday night. An autopsy will determine cause of death. Homicide detectives are looking into the incident. Sharkey is originally from Northwestern Pennsylvania. She moved to Houston in January with her husband. Her family and friend's believe her death may have been the result of foul play. "I do believe she was murdered. Yes. From what I've been able to gather as well as a mother's gut," her mother Stacey Robinault said. Her friend's say that Alexis recently confided in them that she was afraid for her safety. "I looked at her and I was like she's petrified. This girl is scared for her life," her friends said. The investigation is currently underway.

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