Judge could rule on Bill Cosby's bid to throw out sex assault charges

NORRISTOWN, Pa. - A suburban Philadelphia judge hopes to decide whether to dismiss a sexual assault case against actor Bill Cosby over an unwritten promise of immunity a former prosecutor says he gave Cosby's now-deceased lawyer a decade ago.

See Full Article

Judge Steven T. O'Neill puzzled over the testimony of former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor on Tuesday and peppered him with questions as Castor wrapped up hours of testimony for the defence. The proceedings resume Wednesday morning.

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 he found serious flaws in the case in 2005 and declined to bring charges. He said he steered the matter to civil court so Constand could become "a millionaire." But he also maligned her credibility throughout the day and questioned whether she and her mother set out to extort Cosby.

"If there was an agreement, why didn't you make that agreement in writing?" the judge asked Castor.

"It was unnecessary because I concluded there was no way the case would get any better," he said.

Castor said if Cosby's then-attorney, Walter Phillips, and other defence attorneys "wanted more than that to protect themselves, it was up to them to provide it."

He said that he made the decision not to bring charges 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.

He said he had his top assistant, Risa Vetri Ferman, who later succeeded him and is now a county judge, tell Phillips that Cosby would not be charged. However, Castor said the two lawyers did not have "an agreement" that Cosby would testify in exchange for not being prosecuted.

Phillips died last year.

Castor suggested that Cosby and Phillips 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, referring to the damaging testimony from a deposition unsealed last summer.

The former DA said he "wanted there to be some measure of justice" for Constand. "I thought making Mr. Cosby pay money was the best I was going to be able to set the stage for."

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

Kevin Steele, the newly elected district attorney who is pursuing the case, has said Cosby would need an immunity agreement in writing to get the case thrown out. He 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.

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 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.

-----

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



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • In Oscar winners about Hollywood, undercurrents of anxiety

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Hollywood is ready for its close-up. Again. If Damien Chazelle's "La La Land" is to win best picture at Sunday's Academy Awards -- and just about everyone thinks it's going to -- it will surely go down as another in a run of movies about Hollywood to be celebrated by Hollywood. Source
  • David Bowie, George Michael honoured at Brit Awards [Photos]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    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
  • 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