Facing up to 10 years behind bars and millions of dollars in fines on three felony charges of second-degree aggravated indecent assault, much-accused Bill Cosby and his attorneys are now brazenly trying to get public opinion on his side as his 2017 trial date in Pennsylvania looms.
“The Commonwealth admits that it wants to try [Cosby] for 40- and 50-year-old accusations, many of which were raised for the first time in press releases and on talk shows, and that have never made their way to any courtroom or police station in this country,” said the actor’s lawyers yesterday. The statement came in reaction to a scathing response from Montgomery County D.A.’s office on the latest attempt by Cosby to dismiss the only criminal case in the country against him.
“If our justice system is allowed to be distorted and abandoned for Mr. Cosby, none of us are safe,” Cosby’s lawyers said.
This comes as a series of potentially pivotal hearings starting November 1 could determine whether the expected June 2017 trial of the 79-year-old Cosby goes forward. Part of those pre-trial motions will likely determine whether some of the more than 50 other women who have gone public saying the actor assaulted or drugged them over the decades will be allowed to take the stand. The hearings also will evaluate whether jurors can hear a deposition by The Cosby Show star from a decade ago in which he admitted having drugs for the purpose of having sex with women.
“He is an individual who has used his fame and fortune for decades to conceal his crimes and hide his true nature,” said D.A. Kevin Steele’s office earlier in a 26-page rejection of the dismissal motion (read it here). Late last year, the newly elected Steele charged Cosby with the 2004 rape of then-Temple University employee Andrea Constand just before the statute of limitations expired in the Granite State. Cosby is now out on $1 million bail.
“He is not entitled to a dismissal now that the law has caught up to him,” the D.A.’s response adds, noting the revelations of Cosby’s use of drugs on women in that 2006 deposition in the Constand civil case that was made public last year. Dismissing the other side’s contention that Cosby’s right to due process was violated by the decade-plus delay in arresting him, the response also notes the reopening of the Constand matter as a criminal issue — a previous D.A. had declined to prosecute in 2005 — was partially based on “more accounts by women that defendant had sexually assaulted them like he did the victim in this case.”
Then the Montgomery County D.A.’s office really takes off the white gloves, so to speak, and goes for what it calls Cosby’s “unclean hands.”
“Defendant blames his current legal situation on everyone from a federal judge and the Commonwealth to Gloria Allred and the media,” the October 18 filing says, slamming Cosby with some of the bluntest language yet in a case that has seen many a harsh phrase from both sides. “But he overlooks one person — himself. He has unclean hands. He has persistently attempted, since as early as 2005, to conceal the deposition testimony that triggered the renewed investigation. His attempt to repackage the years he successfully kept the deposition hidden into a pre-arrest delay claim is as bold as it is fundamentally flawed. The law does not, and should not now, permit such gamesmanship.”
“A reader need look no further than the first few sentences of the Commonwealth’s brief to see its true agenda,” Cosby’s team replied yesterday with loaded language of its own. “Civil rights, human rights, and constitutional rights are abandoned.”
Whether the strategy from Cosby’s recently newly retained lawyer Angela Agrusa of LA and New York firm Liner Llp gets anywhere with Judge Steven O’Neill will be revealed next month. However, it sure looks like a long shot, with the Norristown, PA-based judge rejecting every other move by Team Cosby to shut the case down – as have higher courts in the state.
Meanwhile, numerous civil cases of defamation and more are pending against Cosby nationwide, despite the actor’s efforts to halt them to concentrate on the criminal case.