The alleged sexual assault case against entertainer Bill Cosby will move forward after a judge on Wednesday rejected his defense’s pleas to drop the case and allowed previous comments made about the attack usable by the prosecution in court, The Huffington Post reports.
Judge Steven O’Neill announced the ruling in Montgomery County, the same court where Cosby was tried in the original case brought against him by former Temple University women’s basketball assistant Andrea Constand. Cosby, 78, is being charged with aggravated indecent assault; this is the only criminal case to transpire from the dozens of women who accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting them.
Montgomery County DA Kevin Steele reportedly relied on Cosby’s 2005-2006 depositions during Tuesday’s hearing. During one of the recorded depositions, Cosby admitted to giving Constand three pills.
Under questioning then, Cosby admitted giving pills to Constand to “take some of the stress away” before he lifted her bra and slid a hand into her pants. The depositions conflict with statements Cosby made to authorities when they initially looked into Constand’s accusation. Constand and Cosby later reached a settlement out of court.
Cosby’s deposition shouldn’t be used, the defense said, because Cosby only agreed to testify in the lawsuit after then-District Attorney Bruce Castor said he wouldn’t prosecute the entertainer. Castor testified on Tuesday as a defense witness.
The former DA said he believed Cosby acted inappropriately, but raised doubt about whether the jury would convict him. He testified he hoped his decision not to press charges would encourage Cosby to cooperate. But, “An attorney for Cosby testified that he only let Cosby answer questions in the deposition because of oral assurances from Castor that there would be no criminal case,” says the report. Because the agreement was not made official by a judge, it was considered null and void by Judge O’Neill.
Judge O’Neill puzzled over Castor’s testimony and peppered him with questions.
“If there was an agreement, why didn’t you make that agreement in writing?” the judge asked Castor.
“It was unnecessary,” he said, “because I concluded there was no way the case would get any better.”
Portions of Cosby’s deposition became public and resurfaced during the height of publicity around the numerous accusations last year. If convicted, Cosby could face up to ten years in prison.
The next step is a preliminary hearing to determine if there is enough evidence for a trial.
During Wednesday’s edition of TV One’s NewsOne NowRoland martin and a select panel of guests discussed the Cosby case and the possibility of the comedian standing trial for sexual misconduct. Watch their conversation below.