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

  • This week in reality TV: Team Miley a no-go in 'The Voice' final four

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Team Miley shut out on The Voice, John Legend performs Joe Giudice's song for Teresa and more of what you missed this week 1. And then there were four With just a week before the Season 11 finale of The Voice, the determined Top 8 took the stage to sing, belt and croon for their lives in the competition, as only half of the remaining artists would be making it through the week. Source
  • Survivor's Will says watching his elimination episode was hard

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Senior year in high school is usually the time to work a grueling part-time job to save up for college. But for 18-year-old New Jersey student Will Wahl, he spent a chunk of his senior year on an island in Fiji playing Survivor. Source
  • 'Office Christmas Party' actor TJ Miller arrested, accused of battery

    Entertainment CTV News
    Los Angeles police say actor TJ Miller was arrested early Friday morning after a driver accused him of battery. The arrest of the "Silicon Valley" star came two days before Miller will host the Critics' Choice Awards in Los Angeles. Source
  • Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney donate to wildfire fund

    Entertainment CTV News
    NASHVILLE -- Artists and organizations in Music City are stepping up to help their neighbours after devastating wildfires damaged about 2,500 buildings and caused 14 deaths in the Gatlinburg area. Country star Kenny Chesney and the Country Music Association announced Friday they are collectively donating $500,000 to the Dolly Parton Foundation My People Fund, which was created to provide $1,000 each month to families whose homes were damaged or destroyed by the wildfires. Source
  • Docuseries about Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine in the works

    Entertainment CTV News
    In the four-part series called "The Defiant Ones," director Allen Hughes explores the relationship between two powerful figures in the music industry over a three-year period. The series looks at how the two men also helped shape some of the most buzz-worthy moments in pop culture in recent years and includes interviews with artists like Bono, Eminem, Nas, Ice Cube, Gwen Stefani, Tom Petty, Snoop Dogg and Bruce Springsteen, reports Deadline. Source
  • Iowa court clears way for 'Field of Dreams' baseball complex

    Entertainment CTV News
    DES MOINES, Iowa -- An Iowa Supreme Court ruling Friday cleared the way for a baseball complex at the "Field of Dreams" movie site in Dyersville, as the state's highest court upheld a lower court's decision that the City Council acted properly when it rezoned the property from agricultural to commercial. Source
  • Amy Schumer 'Barbie' trolls need to get a life... pronto

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Quite the brouhaha about Barbie this week. Social media went berserk over news that Amy Schumer has been cast to play Mattel’s most famous doll, with the usual pathetic trolls tossing insults about how Schumer’s appearance makes her entirely wrong for the role. Source
  • Watch the new trailer for 'War for the Planet of the Apes'

    Entertainment CTV News
    Twentieth Century Fox has released a new trailer for the next installment of the Planet of the Apes franchise, which pits the leaders of the apes and humans against each other in an epic face-off. Source
  • Gigi Hadid has Hashimoto’s disease

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Gigi Hadid may be one of the biggest names in fashion, but away from work she also has to live with a secret health condition. Hashimoto’s disease, also known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, is a condition in which your immune system attacks your thyroid, a small gland at the base of your neck below your Adam’s apple. Source
  • 'Spider-Man: Homecoming': Five things we learned from the first trailer

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    We can’t wait to go to Homecoming. On Thursday night’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the late-night host unveiled the first full-length trailer for next summer’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, the webslinger’s re-reboot under an unusual partnership between Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios. Source