December 31, 2015 / 3:32 PM / 3 years ago

Cosby sexual assault charge motivated by politics: lawyer

(Reuters) - Comedian Bill Cosby’s lawyer characterized the sexual assault case against him as a “political football” and said on Thursday the entertainer will not consider any plea deals because he is not guilty of a crime.

Actor and comedian Bill Cosby arrives with attorney Monique Pressley (R) for his arraignment on sexual assault charges at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania December 30, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Makela

Washington-based lawyer Monique Pressley accused the district attorney’s office in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, of playing with her client’s life by making the case a focal point in a recent election and unjustly accusing him of a crime.

Cosby, 78, was charged on Wednesday with sexually assaulting a woman after giving her drugs and alcohol in 2004. He posted a $1 million bond, turned over his passport and was ordered to avoid any contact with his accuser.

It is the only criminal case brought against the actor who has been accused by more than 50 women of sexually abusing them in incidents dating back decades.

“What we have is the fulfillment of a campaign promise from a prosecutor who used this case and used the climate about the allegations against my client in order to get into office,” Pressley said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Asked on NBC’s “Today Show” if the defense was open to a plea agreement, Pressley replied: “My client is not guilty, and there will be no consideration on our part of any sort of arrangement.”

Cosby’s lawyer said she expected prosecutors would try to establish a pattern of conduct against her client by bringing in allegations from his other accusers, but the defense would fight to keep inappropriate evidence out.

“I believe when you separate what happens in the court of law from what has been allowed to happen in the fictional court of public opinion you will get an outcome that justice requires,” she said on NBC.

Cosby, who exemplified the model family man in his long-running hit television series “The Cosby Show,” was charged with aggravated indecent assault, a second-degree felony carrying a maximum penalty of 5 to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

The charge stems from accusations leveled by Andrea Constand, 44, a former basketball team manager at Temple University in Philadelphia, Cosby’s alma mater. She settled a civil case against Cosby for an undisclosed sum in 2006.

Newly elected district attorney Kevin Steele made his intent to prosecute Cosby a campaign issue, and his office filed the case against the actor just before the statute of limitations deadline for criminal prosecution was due to lapse in January.

Steele said Constand, who now lives in Toronto, was willing to cooperate.

She declined to speak to reporters outside her home on Wednesday but tweeted early Thursday, “Let’s all stay classy plz! That includes anybody who may be inserting their opinion as to whether anything was fully investigated period.”

Reporting by David Alexander in Washington and Melissa Fares in New York; Writing by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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