Cosby lawyer says comedian was assured he was in the clear

NORRISTOWN, Pa. -- Bill Cosby's top legal adviser said Wednesday that he never would have let the comedian testify in a 2005 lawsuit if he thought Cosby could still face sexual assault charges in the matter.

See Full Article

Lawyer Jack Schmitt testified that Cosby's legal team considered the criminal case "irrevocably concluded" after a suburban Philadelphia district attorney told them he was closing the investigation into charges Cosby drugged and violated Andrea Constand.

Schmitt said Cosby later sat for a deposition in Constand's civil suit over four days and never once invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

"We did that knowing the criminal matter had been concluded and could not be reopened," Schmitt said.

Schmitt took the stand on Day 2 of a bid by the TV star's lawyers to get the sexual assault charges against Cosby thrown out. They say then-District Attorney Bruce Castor gave Cosby immunity from prosecution in the case a decade ago.

Cosby, 78, was arrested and charged in the Constand case in December by Castor's successors, who reopened the investigation after portions of the deposition were unsealed last summer and dozens of women came forward to say he assaulted them.

If criminal charges were still a possibility, "we certainly wouldn't let him sit for a deposition," Schmitt said.

Cosby is accused of drugging and violating the former Temple University athletic department employee at his suburban Philadelphia mansion in 2004. The TV star known as America's Dad could get 10 years in prison if convicted.

In the deposition, Cosby acknowledged obtaining quaaludes to give to women he wanted to seduce. He also admitted he reached into Constand's pants but said it was consensual.

The current DA, Kevin Steele, has argued that Castor's 2005 decision is not binding on current prosecutors. It was never put in writing in a legal document. The only written evidence of a no-prosecution pledge came in an opaque press release sent out by Castor.

Under questioning by Steele, Schmitt acknowledged that he relied on both the press release and assurances that Castor gave a decade ago to Cosby lawyer Walter Phillips -- who is now dead. "There was no other written agreement," Schmitt said.

Judge Steven T. O'Neill said he hoped to rule Wednesday on the request to throw out the charges.

In the morning, supporters yelled, "We love you, Bill!" as the comedian made his way slowly into the courthouse with assistants to either side of him. Cosby uses a cane, and his eyesight is said to be deteriorating.

On Tuesday, Castor was the star witness for the defence at the pre-trial hearing.

Castor testified that he believed Constand's story but found serious flaws in the case in 2005 and declined to bring charges. He said that as district attorney, he considered the decision final and binding "for all time" on his successors.

Castor said that in ruling out any prosecution of Cosby, he hoped to prod the TV star to testify in the lawsuit. "I was hopeful that I had made Ms. Constand a millionaire," he said. Constand eventually settled for an undisclosed sum.

"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. He also said Cosby was afraid such an agreement would make him look bad.

Dozens of women have accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting them since the 1960s, destroying his good-guy image as America's Dad. But the statute of limitations for prosecuting him has run out in nearly every instance. This is the only case in which he has been charged.

Castor defended his decision not to bring charges, citing among other things Constand's yearlong delay in reporting the allegations, her continued contact with Cosby, and suggestions that she and her mother might have tried to extort the TV star.

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



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • 'Da ya think I'm sexy?': Rod Stewart reworks '78 hit with Dnce

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Rod Stewart has reworked his classic hit Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? with Joe Jonas’ band Dnce - and they’ll perform the new version at the MTV Video Music Awards. The recording launches the rocker’s new era as a Republic Records artist. Source
  • Will Ferrell to star in 'The 100-Year-Old Man' movie adaptation

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Will Ferrell has signed on to star in the movie adaptation of Jonas Jonasson’s 2012 bestseller The 100-Year-Old Man, Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared. The funnyman will also produce the film with longtime collaborator Adam McKay and Jessica Elbaum via the trio’s Gary Sanchez production company. Source
  • Why a Joker origin film is worth the risk for DC [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    The Hangover director is developing a new movie about the early years of Batman’s nemesis The Joker. Todd Phillips is in talks to co-write and direct an origin film for the DC Comics villain, which, according to Deadline, will not feature Jared Leto, who played the maniacal bad guy in last year’s Suicide Squad, and will reprise the role in the film’s sequel. Source
  • When it comes to fashion, Celine Dion says she's 'not afraid to try things'

    Entertainment CTV News
    MONTREAL - Celine Dion says she's "very, very, very happy" these days and "not afraid to try things." The Quebec pop superstar attracted hordes of fans to a shoe store in downtown Montreal on Wednesday for the launch of a line of handbags and accessories. Source
  • 'Deadpool 2' stuntwoman killed during shoot wasn't ready for film work, crew member says

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    A Deadpool 2 stuntwoman who was training tragic Joi Harris for an action scene in the movie has revealed she knew the motorbike racer wasn’t ready for film work. The unidentified crew member tells The Hollywood Reporter she “cringed” every time Harris had to perform a stunt on set - because she was struggling to pick up pointers. Source
  • Mel B on why she stormed off 'America's Got Talent': Simon Cowell's 'stupid' comments made me angry [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Mel B stormed off the America’s Got Talent live show on Tuesday night, after Simon Cowell made an insensitive joke about her marriage. The former Spice Girls star is currently going through a messy divorce with husband Stephen Belafonte. Source
  • Taylor Swift announces new album 'reputation' in November [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — Yes, Taylor Swift fans, Wednesday was a lucky one for you. The pop star who whipped her army of Swifties into a frenzy with video snippets of slithery snake parts on social media posted the title of her new album, “reputation,” and announced on Instagram it will be out Nov. Source
  • ‘Hellboy’ casting prompts backlash over ‘whitewashing’

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — A Hollywood film yet again finds itself responding to a social-media outcry over the casting of a Caucasian actor in a role that was originally Asian-American. British actor Ed Skrein earlier this week joined the cast of the “Hellboy” reboot “Rise of the Blood Queen. Source
  • The Joker origin movie in the works [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    The Hangover director is developing a new movie about the early years of Batman’s nemesis The Joker. Todd Phillips is in talks to co-write and direct an origin film for the DC Comics villain, which, according to Deadline, will not feature Jared Leto, who played the maniacal bad guy in last year’s Suicide Squad, and will reprise the role in the film’s sequel. Source
  • Sesame Street parodies 'Despacito' with 'El Patito'

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    This summer's smash hit just got the PG-treatment from Sesame Street. In a parody of the Luis Fonsi's hit, Ernie is sings about his pal Rubbie Duckie or El Patito ("that’s Spanish for rubber duckie”). Despacito, which features Justin Bieber, has become only the second song in history to spend 15 consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Source