Cosby team asks judge to toss damaging testimony from trial
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.
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