Judge refuses to throw out sex assault case against Bill Cosby

NORRISTOWN, Pa. -- A judge refused to throw out the sexual assault case against Bill Cosby on Wednesday, sweeping aside claims that a previous district attorney had granted the comedian immunity from prosecution a decade ago.

See Full Article

Common Pleas Judge Steven O'Neill issued the ruling after a hard-fought two-day hearing.

The case now moves to a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence to try the 78-year-old Cosby on charges he drugged and violated former Temple University athletic department employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. The TV star could get up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

In 2005, then-District Attorney Bruce Castor decided the case was too flawed to prosecute. But Castor's successors reopened the investigation last year after Cosby's lurid, decade-old testimony from Constand's civil suit was unsealed at the request of The Associated Press and after dozens of other women came forward with similar accusations that destroyed Cosby's nice-guy image as America's Dad.

At the hearing this week, Cosby's lawyers tried to get the case thrown out by putting Castor himself on the stand. Castor testified that in deciding not to charge Cosby, he intended to forever close the door on prosecuting the comedian. He said he considered his decision binding on his successors.

Similarly, Cosby's lawyers said they never would have let the TV star testify in the civil case if they didn't believe criminal charges were off the table.

"In this case, the prosecution should be stopped in its tracks," Cosby lawyer Chris Tayback argued. "Really what we're talking about here is honouring a commitment."

But current District Attorney Kevin Steele questioned whether Castor ever made such an agreement, since it was never put in writing on a legal document and the Cosby attorney with whom Castor dealt is now dead. Steele argued that in any case, Castor had no legal authority to make such a deal.

"A secret agreement that allows a wealthy defendant to buy his way out of a criminal case isn't right," Steele told the judge.

On the stand, 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 comic.

The former DA said he made the no-prosecution commitment in hopes of prodding Cosby to testify in Constand's lawsuit without invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. In the end, Cosby testified, denying he assaulted Constand but admitting among other things that he obtained quaaludes to give to women he wanted to seduce, and Constand eventually settled for an undisclosed amount.

As the case goes forward, Cosby's lawyers are expected to fight mightily to keep the deposition from being introduced at trial.

Castor tried to make a comeback as DA last fall but lost to Steele in a hotly contested race, during which Steele ran ads criticizing Castor for not prosecuting Cosby when he had the chance. The tension between the two men was on display Wednesday when Steele accused Castor and the Cosby camp of engaging in "revisionist history."

Most of the back-and-forth in court hinged on the wording and interpretation of a 2005 press release in which Castor announced he would not prosecute Cosby. Castor found himself sparring with prosecutors over many seemingly inconsistent statements he made over the years on whether Cosby could still be charged.

The judge said he struggled to find similar cases where a suspect who was never charged received a promise that he would never be prosecuted. Normally, immunity is granted after a suspect is charged because he or she can provide testimony or information to prosecutors.

While more than 50 women have accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting them since the 1960s, the statute of limitations for prosecuting the comic has run out in nearly every instance. This is the only case in which he has been charged.

------

Sisak reported from Philadelphia.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Charlie Sheen gets sued by 2nd ex for exposure to HIV

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Actor Charlie Sheen has reportedly been sued by a second ex-girlfriend for exposing her to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The ex-Two and a Half Men star’s former fiancee Scottine Ross filed suit against him in December, 2015, accusing Sheen of exposing her to the virus, while alleging he had abused her physically and emotionally throughout their relationship. Source
  • 'She turns me on'; 50 Cent smitten with Helen Mirren

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    50 Cent has fallen for the charms of Dame Helen Mirren, insisting he finds it hard not to just stare at her whenever he’s in her company. The 69-year-old Oscar winner and the rapper, who is almost 30 years younger, met up on the red carpet at the 57th Monte Carlo TV Festival on Tuesday in Monaco, and he is happy to admit he now has a major new crush. Source
  • Queens of the ring: Netflix's Glow puts spotlight on women's wrestling, then and now

    Entertainment CBC News
    In the first episode of Netflix's Glow, Ruth Wilder, an aspiring, down-on-her-luck actor (played by Alison Brie), is training inside a wrestling ring. She's one of a dozen or so prospects for Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, a women's wrestling show headed by Sam Silvia (Marc Maron), an ornery director whose B-movie credits include titles such as Blood Disco. Source
  • Former 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' star Nicholas Brendon strangled woman, slit wrists with glass: Police report

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Buffy The Vampire Slayer star Nicholas Brendon just can’t stop getting himself into trouble, and this may be his worst incident yet. Brendon, 46, was arrested for domestic abuse on October 18, 2016, his fifth arrest in three years, in a shocking police report exclusively obtained by Radaronline.com. Source
  • Wonder Woman weds Deadpool at comics convention

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Imagine a wedding between Wonder Woman and Deadpool, attended by Mary Poppins, Superman, Dr. Who, Kylo Ren and the Little Mermaid. More than 100 costume-clad nerds, cosplayers, gamers and fantasists gathered June 17 to celebrate the real-life union of Megan Mattingly and Adam Merica, dressed as Wonder Woman and Deadpool, at Awesome Con, an annual Washington comic book and pop-culture convention that drew approximately 71,000 visitors last weekend. Source
  • Slip of tongue fuels speculation on Banksy identity

    Entertainment CTV News
    An unguarded moment in an interview has renewed speculation over one of contemporary art's great mysteries -- could elusive graffiti activist Banksy be Robert Del Naja of band Massive Attack? Goldie, a well-known DJ who was a friend and competitor of Del Naja as the two sprayed Bristol in southwest England with graffiti in the 1980s, made an apparent slip of the tongue in an interview this week. Source
  • More than meets the why? The cinematic slurry that is Transformers: The Last Knight

    Entertainment CBC News
    In the world of modern day blockbusters there is a phrase you hear a lot. "Trailer Moments." Every action film has to have a few. A trailer moment is something larger-than-life. The hero escaping just as the explosion blooms behind her. Source
  • 'The Fault in Our Stars' author announces next novel

    Entertainment CTV News
    John Green, author of the much-loved book "The Fault in Our Stars," has revealed that his next novel will come out on October 10 with the title "Turtles All the Way Down." According to the plot summary, the forthcoming novel focuses on Aza Holmes, a young woman "navigating daily existence within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. Source
  • Ron Howard hopes to honour 'great work' done on Han Solo film

    Entertainment CBC News
    Ron Howard says he hopes to honour the great work that's already been done on the Han Solo film and help to deliver on its promise. The Oscar-winner has only been in the pilot's seat on the Star Wars spinoff film for a day but is not wasting any time making his passion for the franchise known. Source
  • 'Transformers: The Last Knight,' Johnny Depp and the Bey-bies and other winners and losers in Hollywood this week

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    You know the song: Some gotta win, some gotta lose Good time Charlie's got the blues. Never mind about that Charlie dude though — let’s just get to the winning and losing this week: WINNERS 1) It was announced earlier this week that Jay-Z and Beyonce have new infant twins, a boy and a girl, although an exact birth date has not yet been confirmed. Source