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

  • Liam Gallagher to make solo debut for Manchester relief

    Entertainment CTV News
    Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher on Friday announced his solo debut with a concert in his native Manchester to support families affected by the deadly suicide attack at the city's arena. The singer, infamous during the heyday of Oasis in the 1990s for his foul mouth and hard-living, said that Tuesday's show will raise money for a Red Cross-supported appeal following the blast that killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert. Source
  • Guitar king Clapton honoured by France

    Entertainment CTV News
    Guitar legend Eric Clapton has been honoured by France for his services to music, the French embassy in London said Friday. Clapton was made a commander in the Order of Arts and Letters (l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) on Thursday by French ambassador Sylvie Bermann, who called him an "ambassador of the blues in France". Source
  • Brad Pitt, Pharrell among mourners at Chris Cornell memorial [Photos]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES — Brad Pitt and Pharrell joined mourners Friday at Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell’s memorial service at a storied Hollywood cemetery. Soundgarden music played from a portable speaker outside the cemetery’s gates as a group of about a dozen fans gathered outside. Source
  • Ben Stiller and wife Christine Taylor split

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES — Ben Stiller and his wife announced Friday that they are separating after 17 years of marriage. Stiller and actress Christine Taylor released a joint statement Friday announcing their breakup. They were married in May 2000 and have two children, who they said will remain their priority. Source
  • Ben Stiller and wife Christine Taylor announce separation

    Entertainment CTV News
    Actor Ben Stiller, left, and wife Christine Taylor during Stiller's Hand & Footprint Ceremony at TCL Chinese Theatre on Tuesday, December, 3, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Richard Shotwell / Invision / AP) Source
  • David Hasselhoff denied Leonardo DiCaprio 'Baywatch' role

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Leonardo DiCaprio’s parents are still sore with David Hasselhoff for refusing to cast their son as his kid on Baywatch. Hasselhoff admits he ran into DiCaprio and his folks at the Cannes Film Festival premiere for The Great Gatsby in 2013 — and they still remembered the snub. Source
  • Anthrax wants to back up Lady Gaga

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Anthrax has offered to hit the road as Lady Gaga’s backing band after watching her front Metallica at the Grammy Awards. The Poker Face singer joined Metallica for a performance of their song Moth Into Flame at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and it was enough to convince guitarist Scott Ian that she should have a heavy rock act behind her at all times. Source
  • Chris Cornell of Soundgarden laid to rest in Hollywood

    Entertainment CBC News
    Music's elite and celebrities remembered Chris Cornell at a somber memorial service Friday that focused on the Soundgarden frontman's love of family and friends as much as it did on his musical achievements as one of rock's leading voices. Source
  • 'Embracing our girl power:' Alamo cinema chain doubles down with more ladies-only Wonder Woman screenings

    Entertainment CBC News
    The Alamo Drafthouse movie chain said this week it's "embracing our girl power" with women-only screenings of Wonder Woman at least two theatres in the U.S., but the move has left some men angry at being left out. Source
  • 'Embracing our girl power:' Movie chain doubles down on ladies-only Wonder Woman screenings

    Entertainment CBC News
    The Alamo Drafthouse movie chain said this week it's "embracing our girl power" with women-only screenings of Wonder Woman at least two theatres in the U.S., but the move has left some men angry at being left out. Source