December 31, 2015 / 3:47 PM / 2 years ago

No plea bargain for 'not guilty' Bill Cosby, lawyer says

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.Mark Makela

(Reuters) - Comedian Bill Cosby's lawyer said on Thursday that the entertainer would not consider a plea bargain on charges he sexually assaulted a woman in 2004 after giving her drugs and alcohol.

Lawyer Monique Pressley, speaking on NBC's "Today Show," also accused the district attorney's office in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, of playing "political football" with Cosby by making the case a focal point in a recent election.

Asked 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, 78, was charged on Wednesday in 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.

Pressley 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 such 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 which carries a maximum penalty of 5 to 10 years in prison.

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.

Constand, who now lives in Toronto, has declined to speak to reporters but she tweeted on Thursday, "Let's all stay classy plz! That includes anybody who may be inserting their opinion as to whether anything was fully investigated period."

Lawyer Gloria Allred, who represents some of the other women who have accused Cosby or drugging or assaulting them, said on Wednesday that word of the charges "is the best Christmas present they have ever received."

Model Beverly Johnson, who has accused the comedian of drugging her in the mid-1980s, said on Twitter: "When it comes down to it, truth is simple. There is nothing that we give to others that does not come back to us in some shape of form."

Another of the comedian's accusers, Beth Ferrier, told People magazine on Thursday that the charges against Cosby were "the moment we've all been hoping for."

"I'm totally doing back flips. It has been such a totally horrific journey," Ferrier added.

Kevin Steele, the newly elected Montgomery County district attorney, had made his intent to prosecute Cosby a campaign issue in November. His office filed the case against before the statute of limitations deadline for criminal prosecution was due to lapse in January.

"First, before we even have to mount a defense, we'll have to look at the game of political football that this Montgomery County DA's office has played with my client's life," Pressley told ABC's "Good Morning America" show.

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

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