Former district attorney says he believes Bill Cosby can't be prosecuted

NORRISTOWN, Pa. -- The former district attorney who declined to arrest Bill Cosby on sex-crime charges a decade ago testified Tuesday that he essentially granted the comedian lifetime immunity from prosecution in the case.

See Full Article

Former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor took the stand in a bid by Cosby's lawyers to get the case against the TV star thrown out long before trial because of what they say is a non-prosecution agreement with Castor.

The current district attorney insists there is no record of any such promise.

Castor admitted the only place the matter was put in writing was in the 2005 press release announcing his decision not to prosecute.

He acknowledged that he didn't draw up a formal immunity agreement filed with a judge because, he said, Cosby was afraid that would make him look bad. Also, Castor said, "It was unnecessary because I concluded there was no way the case would get any better." And he said Cosby's lawyers did not insist on such a document.

The proceedings will resume on Wednesday, when Common Pleas Judge Steven T. O'Neill said he hopes to rule on whether to throw out the case.

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 believed Constand's story but that proving it would have been problematic because of serious flaws in the case, including what he called her inconsistencies and continued contact with Cosby. In deciding not to bring charges, he said, he meant to protect Cosby from prosecution "for all time."

And he suggested that Cosby and his then-lawyer understood it that way too, 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, referring to the damaging testimony unsealed last summer.

Castor said he hoped -- correctly, it turned out -- his ruling would prod Cosby to testify in the lawsuit and help Constand win damages. She eventually settled for an undisclosed amount.

"I was hopeful that I had made Ms. Constand a millionaire," the former DA said.

He said he and Cosby's then-attorney, Walter Phillips, did not have an actual agreement that Cosby would testify in exchange for not being prosecuted. Phillips has since died.

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.

Prosecutors on Tuesday pressed Castor on numerous, seemingly inconsistent statements he made over the years on whether Cosby could still face charges. Castor sparred with prosecutors, parsing the language in his press release and in various emails sent to his successor.

He said he was referring in some passages to bringing charges against Cosby in connection with other women and other crimes -- but not in connection with the Constand encounter in January 2004.

While Castor was called as witness by Cosby's side, the former DA said he is rooting for the prosecution.

"I'm not on your team here," Castor told Cosby lawyer Brian McMonagle. "I want them to win."

Cosby watched the back and forth between Castor and the lawyers from the defence table, swiveling his head slightly as if at a tennis match. He showed no reaction when the courtroom erupted periodically in laughter over a quip from the talkative Castor, though he frequently smiled as he made small talk with his lawyers.

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.

The unsealing of the testimony from Constand's lawsuit prompted 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 but insisted it was consensual.

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 problematic.

Castor said Constand's delay thwarted his ability to test her hair or fingernails for evidence she was drugged.

In related news, a Los Angeles judge ordered Cosby to attend another deposition in a lawsuit filed by a woman who says the comic forced her to perform a sex act on him at the Playboy Mansion around 1974, when she was 15.

Also Tuesday, model Chloe Goins dropped a lawsuit accusing Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting her at the Playboy Mansion in 2008. Goins gave no explanation.

------

Associated Press writers Michael R. Sisak and Errin Haines Whack contributed to this report.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Martin Scorsese's 'The Irishman' heading to Netflix

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro’s long-awaited mob movie The Irishman is heading to the small screen thanks to a distribution deal with streaming service Netflix. The longtime collaborators, whose previous hits together include Raging Bull and Goodfellas, were first linked to the biopic about real-life union official-turned-mafia hitman Frank ‘The Irishman’ Sheeran in 2008, but production plans with Paramount Pictures executives in 2011 stalled due to scheduling issues. Source
  • Oscars 2017: Andrew Garfield reflects on trading Spider-Man for 'Hacksaw Ridge'

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES – In Hollywood – if you’re lucky – when one door closes, another opens up. Just ask Oscar-nominee Andrew Garfield. The rising American-born, British star cut his teeth with dark dramas like David Fincher’s The Social Network (2010) and Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go (2010) before landing the coveted lead in the 2012 reboot of Spider-Man. Source
  • Director Kenneth Lonergan reacts to ‘Manchester by the Sea’ success

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Oscar-nominee Kenneth Lonergan reacts to the heartbreaking success of Manchester by the Sea Manchester by the Sea started life as a conversation between Matt Damon and John Krasinski. Damon took the project to award-winning playwright and filmmaker Kenneth Lonergan, who wrote a screenplay and eventually directed the movie himself. Source
  • Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams spotted singing karaoke in Calgary

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Maisie Williams, a.k.a. Arya Stark, has been spotted in Calgary and Banff over the last couple of days, apparently taking a break from shooting scenes with Alberta wolves for the seventh season of Game of Thrones. The 19-year-old actress reportedly sang karaoke at Ducky’s in Calgary and has visited various areas in Banff. Source
  • David Bowie, Emeli Sande among winners at 2017 Brit Awards

    Entertainment CBC News
    The Brit Award for album of the year has been awarded to David Bowie for Blackstar. It is the latest posthumous honor for Bowie, and the second Brit Award he won Wednesday. His son, film director Duncan Jones, accepted the award on his behalf, noting that his father died the same year Jones became a father. Source
  • David Bowie honours, George Michael tribute top 2017 Brit Awards

    Entertainment CBC News
    The Brit Award for album of the year has been awarded to David Bowie for Blackstar. It is the latest posthumous honor for Bowie, and the second Brit Award he won Wednesday. His son, film director Duncan Jones, accepted the award on his behalf, noting that his father died the same year Jones became a father. Source
  • Judge nixes Lisa Marie Presley's spousal support to husband

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Lisa Marie Presley will not have to pay spousal support to her estranged husband while they fight over her assets, but she will have to pay some of his attorney's fees, a judge ruled Wednesday. Source
  • Skepta, Beyonce and Bowie up for prizes at Brit Awards

    Entertainment CTV News
    LONDON -- Britain's music industry will salute chart-topping talent and departed icons at the Brit Awards, where nominees include Drake, Beyonce and David Bowie. Bowie, who died in January 2016, is nominated in the album of the year and male British artist categories at Wednesday's awards. Source
  • David Bowie honours, George Michael tribute top Brit Awards

    Entertainment CTV News
    LONDON -- The Brit Awards recognized big international stars including Drake and Beyonce and a cross-section of home-grown talent Wednesday -- but the ceremony was overshadowed by the much-missed David Bowie and George Michael. Bowie, who died in January 2016 at age 69, was crowned British male artist of the year and won British album of the year for "Blackstar," released days before his death. Source
  • Video shows Harrison Ford's mistaken flyover at airport

    Entertainment CBC News
    Newly released video shows a plane piloted by Harrison Ford suddenly and mistakenly flying low over an airliner with 110 people aboard at a Southern California airport. The 45 seconds of soundless video show the Star Wars and Indiana Jones star's potentially serious mishap last week at John Wayne Airport in Orange County. Source