Cosby seeks to block sex assault prosecution in Pennsylvania

Tue Feb 2, 2016 5:47pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Daniel Kelley

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (Reuters) - Comedian Bill Cosby on Tuesday sought to derail Pennsylvania prosecutors' effort to make him stand trial on sexual assault charges, contending that a deal reached over a decade ago gave him immunity from prosecution.

An entertainer who built a career on family-friendly comedy, Cosby now faces accusations from more than 50 women that he sexually assaulted them, often after plying them with drugs and alcohol, in a series of attacks dating to the 1960s.

Prosecutors late last year charged Cosby, 78, with sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a former basketball coach at his alma mater Temple University, just days before the statue of limitations to bring charges ran out.

Constand's allegations are the only ones to have resulted in criminal charges against Cosby, although he also faces a series of civil lawsuits related to alleged rapes.

Cosby has long denied wrongdoing, and his lawyers have asked the judge to dismiss the Constand case.

Former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor testified on Tuesday that he decided in 2005 not to bring charges over the Constand allegations.

A 2005 press release in which Castor said Cosby would never be prosecuted was read out in court, with defense attorneys contending it represented a non-prosecution agreement. No other written record of that agreement has been presented by either side.

Castor, called to testify at a pretrial hearing by Cosby's lawyers, said he feared Constand's credibility as a witness could have been undermined because she waited a year to file her criminal complaint against Cosby and hired a lawyer to explore a civil lawsuit.   Continued...

Actor and comedian Bill Cosby (C) arrives for a preliminary hearing on sexual assault charges at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania February 2, 2016.  REUTERS/Mark Makela