Up until very recently, it looked as though Bill Cosby’s legal luck had run out; that the celebrity actor was finally going to face prosecution for at least one allegation of rape and sexual assault. That case stems out of Pennsylvania, and involves an alleged victim named Andrea Constand, who told police in 2005 that Cosby drugged her and then sexually assaulted her at his home in Pennsylvania in 2004. At that time, the former Montgomery County District Attorney, a man named Bruce Castor Castor, determined that there was not enough evidence to charge Cosby, but stated in a press release that all parties to this matter that he will reconsider this decision should the need arise.”
Fast forward ten years, and just last month, December 2015, Cosby was legally charged for the first time, even though almost 50 women have come forward claiming that over decades of time, Cosby drugged, then sexually abused and /or raped them. The specific crime that Cosby was charged with in Pennsylavnia in December was indecent aggravated assault, involving Andrea Constand’s 2005 allegations against Cosby. So it looked as though the law had finally caught up with the entertainer. But some interesting events over just the last few days may imperil that case being prosecuted.
Why? As a Boston sexual assault attorney, I’ll try to make this as simple as possible, as it involves some very technical legal issues. Really, it doesn’t center on whether or not sufficient evidence exists to prosecute or convict Cosby, but whether or not that evidence will ever make it into court. The hitch here boils down to an alleged promise that the former Montgomery County Pennsylvania District Attorney, a man named Bruce Castor, made ten years ago, in 2005, not to charge Cosby with any sexual crimes in connection with Andrea Constand’s case. (Of course, that was long before the allegations Cosby’s alleged assaults exploded onto the public scene.
As they are in Massachusetts, County District Attorneys are elected, not appointed. So why would an elected District Attorney enter into a promise with Cosby’s attorneys not to prosecute their client? Because, former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor claims, he was trying to maximize the chance that the alleged victim, Andrea Constand, could recover a substantial financial settlement with Cosby in a civil suit that she had simultaneously filed against him, seeking damages from the alleged sexual assault.
I’ll review what may happen with this one, very important, case against Cosby, in my next post in a few days. Stay tuned to this blog.