Bill Cosby criminal case to include old testimony
NORRISTOWN, Pennsylvania - As a sexual assault case against actor Bill Cosby moves forward, a key battle will be waged over explicit testimony he gave in a deposition more than a decade ago.
Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill on Wednesday rejected the testimony of a former suburban Philadelphia prosecutor who said he promised Cosby would never be prosecuted. The decision allows the case to move to a preliminary hearing on March 8.
Cosby, 78, was arrested in December and charged with drugging and violating former Temple University athletic department employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. The TV star could get up to 10 years in prison if convicted. He has not yet entered a plea.
At issue will be whether a civil deposition Cosby gave can be used in the criminal case. In his 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 but insisted it was consensual.
In 2005, then-Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor decided the case was too flawed to prosecute. But Castor’s successors reopened the investigation last year after Cosby’s lurid, decade-old testimony was unsealed at the request of The Associated Press. Dozens of other women also came forward with similar accusations that destroyed Cosby’s nice-guy image as America’s Dad. This is the only case in which he has been charged.
O’Neill issued his ruling after a hard-fought two-day hearing. He said witness credibility was a factor but he did not elaborate.
In another setback for the defense, the judge also denied a request to disqualify newly elected Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele from the case. Cosby’s lawyers had accused Steele of making a “political football’’ out of Cosby during his political campaign.
Cosby, who in his deposition called himself “one of the greatest storytellers in the world,’’ remained silent in court this week.