A judge ruled that the sexual assault case against Bill Cosby is worthy of a trial, despite Cosby’s defense that he was granted immunity a decade ago by a previous District Attorney.
Judge Steven O’Neil wasn't convinced that a word-of-mouth agreement between Cosby's lawyer and the former Montgomery County prosecutor Bruce Castor would get the case against him thrown out.
O’Neil also denied the defense’s plea to remove current District Attorney Kevin Steele, who they claim used Cosby’s case as “political football” to garner more votes for his election, from the case.
It appears judge did not believe oral promis not to prosecute was sufficient to dismiss charges. Comedian charged w indecent assault— Chad Pradelli (@chadpradelli) February 3, 2016
If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in jail.
Bill Cosby headed out to Pennsylvania this morning to see whether or not a judge deems the evidence in the criminal case against him worthy of a trial—however, there’s a big twist in this case that might get him off the hook.
Weeks before the statute of limitation was up on December 30, Cosby was charged with aggravated indecent assault (a felony) against Andrea Constand. If convicted, the 78-year-old comedian could spend up to 10 years in jail.
However, thanks to an agreement he said he had with the previous district attorney years earlier, he may be able to escape a trial by a technicality.
According to NBC, “Cosby's defense team claims the former Montgomery County district attorney made a deal with the comedian in 2005 not to prosecute him for an encounter with accuser Andrea Constand.”
The former DA made the deal so that the comedian could engage in a deposition in Constand’s civil case against him without using the Fifth Amendment—in other words, they wanted him to tell the truth without worrying about incriminating himself on the stand.
"With the agreement of the defense lawyer and Andrea's lawyers, I intentionally and specifically bound the Commonwealth that there would be no state prosecution of Cosby in order to remove him from the ability to claim his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, thus forcing him to sit for a deposition under oath," Bruce Castor, the former DA who offered the deal to Cosby years earlier, wrote in an email to the current DA’s office.
In this deposition, Cosby admitted that “he had affairs with young models and actresses, that he obtained Quaaludes to give to women he wanted to have sex with and that he gave Constand three pills at his home. He said he reached into her pants in what he insisted was consensual contact.”
He also admitted that he gained the Quaalude prescription under his own name with the intent of using them on women he wanted to have sex with.
That’s right: the way our legal system works, it’s entirely possible for a man to admit to drugging women (somehow arguing that it was consensual?) under oath and still wiggle his way out of charges.
Before you start pulling your hair out, there is still some hope.
The current DA argues that a promise like that could only be valid if it had been signed off, in writing, by a judge—something Cosby has no evidence of.
“There is a specific legal method to grant immunity. That was not done in 2005,” Kevin Steele, the current DA, told CNN.
It’s not clear when the judge will make his decision.
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