Legal team argues in Pennsylvania court that sexual assault charges from 2004 incident should be fell because DA declined to prosecute him in the past
Bill Cosbys legal squad launched its debate to drop the sexual assault charges against him on Tuesday, calling the former Pennsylvania district attorney who declined to prosecute the comedian and actor as the first witness.
Cosby, 78, was charged with felony worsened indecent assault on 30 December 2015 for an alleged sexual assault that took place at his home in 2004. Cosby was accused of exhorting Andrea Constand, who was 31 at the time, to eat pills and wine before assaulting her.
Cosby appeared in court on Tuesday dressed in a brown suit and flanked by his lawyers, who argued that he is immune from criminal prosecution because former district attorney Bruce Castor perpetrated not to file charges in exchange for Cosbys testimony in Constands civil example.
Castor testified that he intentionally declined to press charges in order to give Cosbys accuser the best chance at winning a civil lawsuit.
I was confident that I had made her a millionaire, Castor said.
Castor said that when Constands criminal complaint reached its term of office a year later, he decided that there was insufficient credible and admissible proof upon which any charges against Bill Cosby.
But whether Castors commitment not to prosecute Cosby at the time actually protects Cosby from these new charges will remain up to common pleas court judge Steven ONeill. Cosbys lawyers have cited Castors pledge in their motion to dismiss the case now before the court, while prosecutor Kevin Steele has said Castors verbal promise was not a legally binding agreement and should not avoid the charges against Cosby from going forward.
In explaining his decision not to prosecute, Castor quoth the time that had elapsed since the two attacks along with incompatibilities on material points in Constands testimony, and his opinion that Constand exhibited behavior inconsistent with a person who had been sexually assaulted. Castor also said what he saw as an inordinate number of bilateral relations between Constand and Cosby in the time between the incident and the criminal complaint played a role.
Still Castor said he thought Constand was entitled to some measure of justice, which he thought could best be achieved in a civil suit. Castor testified that he made the decision, acting as the monarch, entailing on behalf of the members of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, that Cosby would not be prosecuted.
It was his legal opinion that by making this declaration, Cosby would no longer be entitled to fifth amendment protections from self-incrimination and would be required to give testimony in any civil depositions. Constand did in fact file a civil suit shortly thereafter, which was resolved out of court in 2006. Cosby participated in a deposition in that case during which he admitted to giving Benadryl to Constand, misinforming her to their contents, and engaging in sexual acts with her though Cosby preserved it was consensual.
The decision on whether to go forward on Cosby was put to rest by my decision in 2005, Castor told, adding that Cosby wouldve had to have been nuts to tell those things if he thought there was any opportunity he would be prosecuted.
Of over 50 women who have publicly accused Cosby of rape or sexual assault, Constands case was the first to lead to a criminal lawsuit. Statutory limitations have prevented many of the alleged incidents, some dating back to the mid-1 960 s, from being considered by prosecutors. Recent public attention has encouraged many of Cosbys alleged victims to come forward only within the last two years.
Montgomery County district attorney Kevin Steele filed the present charges against Cosby simply one month before the statute of limitations operated out. Steele defeated Castor for the district attorney posture in November, and made Castors soft treatment of Cosby a campaign issue in the election. One campaign ad mentioned the example and concluded: Bruce Castor is not seeming out for the victims.
Constand filed a libel suit against Castor in October for commentaries he made in response to Steeles assaults. Castor said the differences in Constands testimony was troublesome for the good guys.
Direct examination is expected to continue into the day on Tuesday.
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