Bill Cosby may escape charges for sexual assault because of an email obtained by CNN in which former Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, District Attorney Bruce Castor tells successor Risa Vetri Ferman that he verbally agreed over a decade ago not to use a civil deposition of Cosby in any criminal matters. Mr. Castor declined to comment on the news. This agreement could undermine the criminal charges against Cosby. Castor says that he made this agreement in order to prevent Cosby from invoking his 5th amendment right to not incriminate himself. The email was sent in September 2015. Part of the email reads,
“I can see no possibility that Cosby’s deposition could be used in a state criminal case, because I would have to testify as to what happened, and the deposition would be subject to suppression. I cannot believe any state court judge would allow that deposition into evidence….. Knowing this, unless you can make out a case without that deposition and without anything the deposition led you to, I think Cosby would have an action against the County and maybe even against you personally.”
Kevin Steele is currently the district attorney of Montgomery County. He says that the procedure required in order to obtain immunity was not followed with the deposition in question.
Cosby has been the target of previous civil charges, but this is the first time he has faced criminal charges. These charges are based on claims that were made by Andrea Constand. She was a Temple University basketball employee when she says the crime took place. She says the assault happened in Cosby’s home in 2004.
Cosby said in a signed affidavit that was part of the civil deposition taken in association with civil charges previously brought by Ms. Constand that he gave her three halved pills he described as “three friends to make (her) relax,” according to New York Daily News. He has also admitted under oath that he gave women Quaaludes in order to have sex with them. About 60 women besides Constand have claimed that Cosby sexually assaulted them in a manner similar to the one Ms. Constand has described. Cosby’s attorneys stated on Monday that the charges were “illegally, improperly and unethically brought by District Attorney Kevin Steele and his office.”
Raw Story reports that Cosby’s attorneys have filed a motion to dismiss the case.
Entertainment Tonight reports that defense attorneys are also taking issue with the delay in charges by Ms. Constand. A portion of a statement by the defense reads,
“The charges should separately be dismissed on due process grounds because the over a decade delay in bringing these charges, by a District Attorney’s office with subpoena power capable of obtaining Mr. Cosby’s deposition testimony since it was given 10 years ago, was inexcusable and has greatly prejudiced Mr. Cosby’s ability to defend himself.”
On the Today show, defense attorney Monique Pressley claimed no guilt on Cosby’s part and then proceeded to say that they would not consider a plea agreement.
Bill Cosby began his career as a stand-up comic in San Francisco. His fame took off when he landed a role in the 1960s TV show I Spy with Robert Culp. He created, produced, and hosted Fat Albert from 1972 to 1985 and both produced and starred in TV sitcom The Cosby Show from 1984 to 1992. This was followed by A Different World (a spinoff of The Cosby Show), Cosby, and Kids Say the Darnedest Things.
Cosby faces up to a 10-year prison sentence and $25,000 in fines if convicted of the charges. His preliminary hearing is set for February 2.
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