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

  • 5 things you probably didn't know about the Oscars

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- You have a firm grip on this year's Oscar nominees, last year's winners and what host Jimmy Kimmel will undoubtedly joke about (and the best picture award goes to ... oops). But there are aspects of Hollywood's stellar night that may be a surprise. Source
  • Arcade Fire to perform, receive achievement award at the Junos

    Entertainment CBC News
    Arcade Fire have been added as performers to next month's Juno Awards broadcast. The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences says it will also give the Montreal indie rockers an international achievement award. Arcade Fire is a leading nominee with four nods — for best group, single, album and alternative album. Source
  • Arcade Fire to perform, and get achievement award, at the Juno Awards

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO - Arcade Fire have been added as performers to next month's Juno Awards broadcast. The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences says it will also give the Montreal indie rockers an international achievement award. Source
  • 'Black Panther': Wakandan language is real and hard to learn

    Entertainment CTV News
    JOHANNESBURG -- Much of what is seen in "Black Panther" is fictional, including the country where the movie is based. But in Wakanda, they do speak a language that is very much real, with distinctive clicks and other sounds that had some cast members struggling to speak it. Source
  • French customs officials recover stolen Degas from bus

    Entertainment CTV News
    PARIS -- French customs officers have found an impressionist painting by Edgar Degas stowed on a bus, more than eight years after it was reported stolen. The French Culture Ministry said Friday that customs agents in Marne-la-Vallee were surprised to find a work of art bearing the signature "Degas" inside a suitcase in the bus' luggage compartment. Source
  • Cops: Chevy Chase kicked in roadside altercation in New York

    Entertainment CTV News
    SOUTH NYACK, N.Y. - New York State Police say actor and comedian Chevy Chase was kicked in the shoulder during an altercation with another driver. Police say the 74-year-old Chase was driving in South Nyack on Feb. Source
  • Man says he kicked Chevy Chase in self-defence in dispute

    Entertainment CTV News
    SOUTH NYACK, N.Y. -- A New York man says he kicked Chevy Chase in self-defence after the comedian climbed into a vehicle and tried to punch him during a profanity-laced traffic dispute. Chase told police he was cut off by another driver on Feb. Source
  • Harvey Weinstein apologizes for citing Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence in court

    Entertainment CBC News
    ?Harvey Weinstein apologized to Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence after his lawyers cited them in asking a court to dismiss a sexual misconduct lawsuit. A spokeswoman for the disgraced movie mogul said Thursday that Weinstein has also directed his legal representatives not to use specific names of actors and former associates in the future. Source
  • Comedian Stephen Fry reveals he has prostate cancer

    Entertainment CTV News
    LONDON - British comedian and actor Stephen Fry has revealed that he is suffering from prostate cancer. The 60-year-old Fry said Friday on his Twitter page that he has been fighting the disease for the past two months. Source
  • Mary J. Blige, Andra Day, Common among Oscars music performers

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- The original singers of the year's five Oscar-nominated songs will reprise their performances live on the Oscar stage. Academy Awards producers said Friday that supporting actress nominee Mary J. Blige, Common, Andra Day, Gael Garcia Bernal, Miguel, Natalia Lafourcade, Keala Settle and Sufjan Stevens will perform during the March 4 ceremony. Source