DA Rails Against Ex-DA's 'Secret Agreement' With Cosby

Cosby is back in court trying to get sex assault charges dropped
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 3, 2016 3:11 PM CST
DA Rails Against Ex-DA's 'Secret Agreement' With Cosby
Actor and comedian Bill Cosby arrives for a court appearance Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Norristown, Pa.   (Ed Hille/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP, Pool)

The prosecutor in the sexual assault case against Bill Cosby argued Wednesday that his predecessor had no legal authority to make a deal a decade ago that would shield the comedian from ever facing charges. District Attorney Kevin Steele said that the 2005 supposed no-prosecution deal—which was never put in writing and was only alluded to in a press release—ran afoul of the law and was a misuse of authority. "A secret agreement that permits a wealthy defendant to buy his way out of a criminal case isn't right," Steele said. Steele made the argument on Day 2 of a bid by Cosby's lawyers to get the sex-crime charges thrown out. They contend that then-District Attorney Bruce Castor's 2005 decision not to prosecute bars his successors from filing charges. Judge Steven O'Neill said he hoped to rule later in the day.

Cosby, 78, was arrested and charged in December with drugging and sexually violating former Temple University athletic department employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. Castor found the case too flawed to prosecute in 2005, but Steele's office reopened the investigation last summer, after the comedian's damaging, decade-old testimony from Constand's civil case was unsealed at the request of the AP and dozens of other women came forward to accuse Cosby of assaulting them. On Tuesday, Castor testified that as an elected representative of the state, he had the power to give Cosby a lifetime pass from prosecution. He said he wanted to use the agreement to force Cosby to testify in Constand's civil case without invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The strategy worked: Cosby testified, and Constand settled for an undisclosed amount. (Read more Bill Cosby stories.)

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