Former district attorney says Cosby should be shielded from prosecution

NORRISTOWN, Pa. -- The former district attorney who declined a decade ago to bring sex-crime charges against Bill Cosby testified Tuesday that he believes his decision is binding on his successors and forever closes the door on prosecuting the comedian.

See Full Article

Former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor took the stand as part of a bid by Cosby's lawyers to get the case thrown out because of what they said was a decade-old non-prosecution agreement from Castor.

The current district attorney has said there is no record of any such agreement.

Cosby, 78, was arrested and charged in December with drugging and violating former Temple University athletic department employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia mansion in 2004. He could get up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Castor said Tuesday that he found serious flaws in the case in 2005 and declined to bring charges. He said that he made the decision as a representative of the state -- as "the sovereign," as he put it, over and over -- and that it would last in perpetuity.

"For all time, yes," Castor said when pressed on the point.

And he suggested that Cosby and his lawyer at the time had the same understanding, because Cosby later agreed to testify without invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in a lawsuit brought against him by Constand.

"Cosby would've had to have been nuts to say those things if there was any chance he could've been prosecuted," Castor said.

Castor said he hoped, correctly, at the time that the decision would free the comedian to testify in the lawsuit and help Constand win damages. She eventually settled for an undisclosed amount.

"I did not believe it was just to go forward with the criminal prosecution, but I wanted there to be some measure of justice" for Costand, Castor said.

He added: "I was hopeful that I had made Ms. Constand a millionaire."

He said he relayed word to Cosby's then-attorney, Walter Phillips, that Cosby would not be charged. However, Castor said the two lawyers did not have "an agreement" that Cosby would testify.

"Mr. Phillips never agreed to do anything in exchange for Mr. Cosby not being prosecuted," Castor said. "I thought making Mr. Cosby pay money was the best I was going to be able to set the stage for."

Phillips is now dead.

Kevin Steele, the newly elected DA who is pursuing the case, has said Cosby would need an immunity agreement in writing to get the case thrown out. He has said he has no evidence one exists.

In a barrage of allegations that have destroyed Cosby's image as America's Dad, dozens of women have accused the former TV star of drugging and sexually assaulting them since the 1960s. But this is the only case in which he has been charged.

Damaging testimony from Constand's lawsuit was unsealed last summer, prompting Castor's successors to reopen the case and ultimately charge Cosby.

Cosby admitted in the deposition that he had affairs with young models and actresses, that he obtained quaaludes to give to women he wanted to have sex with and that he gave Constand three pills at his home. He said he reached into her pants in what he insisted was consensual contact.

Castor defended his decision not to bring charges, testifying that he saw Constand's year-long delay in reporting the allegations, inconsistencies in her statements and her contact with a lawyer before going to police as red flags.

Castor said Constand's delay was of "enormous significance" in his consideration of the case. He said it thwarted his ability to test her hair or fingernails for evidence she was drugged.

Still, Castor said, he investigated the case thoroughly because he wanted to show authorities in Constand's native Canada that celebrities don't get preferential treatment in America.

Anne Poulin, a law professor at Villanova University, said the defence has a high bar to meet to get the case thrown out early on. But "if they can win without this ever going to trial, then they've done their client a big service."

It was not immediately clear when Common Pleas Judge Steven T. O'Neill would rule.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Collection featuring Group of Seven paintings donated to University of Lethbridge

    Entertainment CTV News
    LETHBRIDGE, Alta. - Margaret (Marmie) Perkins Hess spent a lifetime following her passion. A lifelong educator and art collector, the Order of Canada recipient bequeathed a collection worth as much as $5 million to the University of Lethbridge following her death at age 100 in 2016. Source
  • Incredibles 2 crushes animation record with $180 million US

    Entertainment CBC News
    Disney and Pixar's Incredibles 2 has broken the record for the best animated opening of all time and the biggest for a PG-rated film. Disney estimates Sunday that the film has earned $180 million US in its first weekend in theatres. Source
  • 'Incredibles 2' crushes animation record with US$180M

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- The combined powers of superheroes, the Pixar brand and a draught of family-friendly films helped "Incredibles 2" become the best animated opening of all time, the biggest PG-rated launch ever and the 8th highest film launch overall. Source
  • What we learned from Jay-Z, Beyonce album

    Entertainment CTV News
    Jay-Z and Beyonce late Saturday released "Everything is Love," a surprise album after years of speculation that they were working on a joint project. The album -- which came two years after Beyonce revealed Jay-Z's infidelity through lyrics -- again offers plenty of tidbits into the lives of music's most famous couple. Source
  • Beyonce, Jay-Z drop surprise album 'Everything Is Love'

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Jay-Z and Beyonce are keeping up a family tradition, dropping a surprise album before anyone knew it was coming. The couple released a joint album that touches on the rapper's disgust at this year's Grammy Awards and features a shout out from their daughter Blue Ivy to her siblings. Source
  • Chris Hardwick's talk show on hold amid allegations, network says

    Entertainment CBC News
    AMC Networks says Chris Hardwick's talk show is on hold and he has withdrawn as moderator of AMC and BBC America's Comic-Con panels in San Diego. The media company said that it's had a positive relationship with Hardwick but takes seriously what it calls "troubling" allegations against the host and producer. Source
  • Natalie Portman calls Harvard pal Jared Kushner 'a super-villain'

    Entertainment CBC News
    Natalie Portman says her Harvard classmate Jared Kushner has become a "super-villain." The Academy Award-winning actress said on CBS' Late Show with Stephen Colbert Thursday that there's not much funny to say about "someone you were friends with becoming a super-villain. Source
  • Canadian arts groups join call for release of Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- Two of Canada's top arts groups are calling on Russia to release an incarcerated Ukrainian filmmaker who has been on a hunger strike for 34 days demanding the release of Ukrainian prisoners in Russia. Source
  • 'There's a void I didn't know how to fill': Alessia Cara on rise to fame

    Entertainment CBC News
    Alessia Cara insists she doesn't want to sound ungrateful, but coming to terms with stardom hasn't been easy. The 21-year-old Canadian singer didn't anticipate her precipitous rise to success three years ago before it started — not the Grammy Award for best new artist, nor the two Juno Awards. Source
  • Giuliana Rancic returning to E! News as co-host

    Entertainment CBC News
    TV personality Giuliana Rancic will return to E! News this September as co-host of its nightly news program in the U.S. with Jason Kennedy, three years after leaving the gig. She will replace Maria Menounos, who left last July following surgery to remove a brain tumour. Source