Cosby team asks judge to toss dam­ag­ing tes­ti­mony from trial

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

Bill Cosby re­turned to court yes­ter­day for a hear­ing to de­cide whether a judge will al­low dam­ag­ing decade-old tes­ti­mony from an ac­cuser’s law­suit to be used at his June sex­ual as­sault trial.

Cosby’s lawyers have said the co­me­dian agreed to an­swer ques­tions un­der oath only after be­ing as­sured he would not be charged with a crime. The de­fense has in­sisted Cosby had an oral prom­ise from the dis­trict at­tor­ney at the time that he would not be pros­e­cuted over a 2005 sex­ual en­counter with An­drea Con­stand, a for­mer Tem­ple Univer­sity bas­ket­ball man­ager.

The judge pre­vi­ously re­fused to dis­miss the charges on those grounds but is now be­ing asked to sup­press the de­po­si­tion when the case goes to trial. A hear­ing on the is­sue be­gan Tues­day and re­sumed Wed­nes­day. A new dis­trict at­tor­ney had Cosby ar­rested last year, after the de­po­si­tion was un­sealed and dozens of new ac­cusers came for­ward.

Cosby, now 79 and blind, has said his en­counter with Con­stand was con­sen­sual. He could get 10 years in prison if con­victed. He is free on $1 mil­lion bail.

Strate­gic

Judge Steven O’Neill, who is pre­sid­ing over the case, said Tues­day that Cosby’s de­ci­sion to tes­tify could have been strate­gic. He found no ev­i­dence Cosby’s lawyers tried to get the prom­ise in writ­ing be­fore al­low­ing him to give four days of tes­ti­mony.

They might have thought it was bet­ter for him to tes­tify than plead the Fifth Amend­ment and have a civil jury think he had some­thing to hide, the judge sug­gested.

De­fense at­tor­ney Brian McMona­gle said the judge would set a bad prece­dent if he let the tes­ti­mony in. “I don’t want DAs mak­ing prom­ises that they don’t later keep,” McMona­gle said. “That strikes at the heart of fun­da­men­tal un­fair­ness.” It’s not clear when the judge will rule.—AP

Bill Cosby, right, ar­rives for a hear­ing in his sex­ual as­sault case at the Mont­gomery County Court­house on Wed­nes­day, Nov. 2, 2016, in Nor­ris­town, Penn­syl­va­nia. — AP

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