Lawyers: Prej­u­dice, de­lay make de­fend­ing Cosby dif­fi­cult

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD - By Maryclaire Dale

PHILADEL­PHIA — Bill Cosby’s lawyers blame his ar­rest on sex­ual as­sault charges on “a per­fect storm” of mis­takes by a fed­eral judge and mis­con­duct by an am­bi­tious prose­cu­tor and celebrity lawyer Glo­ria Allred.

In court pa­pers Thurs­day, they said Cosby can’t de­fend the decade-old ac­cu­sa­tion when key wit­nesses have died, meet­ing places have closed and evi- dence has been lost. The fil­ing rep­re­sents their lat­est at­tempt to have the case thrown out be­fore the June trial near Philadel­phia.

“Nu­mer­ous ac­tors — the Com­mon­wealth of Penn­syl­va­nia; a fed­eral judge with a base­less the­ory; a lawyer who pa­rades her clients’ un­timely, un­ver­i­fi­able claims be­fore the me­dia; and a district at­tor­ney who pub­licly Cosby branded a celebrity for his own po­lit­i­cal gain — created a per­fect storm of prej­u­dice, bias, and de­lay,” they wrote.

Cosby, 79, is ac­cused of drug­ging and mo­lest­ing for­mer Tem­ple Univer­sity em­ployee Andrea Con­stand in 2004. He has called her a will­ing par­tic­i­pant but ac­knowl­edged that he gave her three un­la­beled blue pills be­fore­hand for stress. Con­stand was 33 and dat­ing a woman at the time; the long-mar­ried Cosby was in his mid-60s.

De­fense lawyers called a fed­eral judge’s de­ci­sion last year to un­seal de­po­si­tion ex­cerpts from Con­stand’s 2005 law­suit against him “base­less.” U.S. District Judge Ed­uardo Ro­breno be­lieved that Cosby had nar­rowed his right to pri­vacy by speak­ing out about mar­riage, val­ues and fam­ily life and that the pub­lic had a right to know how “the pub­lic moral­ist” be­haved.

Cosby, in the de­po­si­tion, ac­knowl­edged ex­tra­mar­i­tal af­fairs and said he had ob­tained Quaaludes from a doc­tor in the 1970s to give women be­fore they had sex.

Given the tes­ti­mony, and the dozens of other women who­came for­ward ac­cus­ing him of sim­i­lar be­hav­ior, prosecutors ar­rested Cosby in De­cem­ber, days be­fore Penn­syl­va­nia’s 12-year statute for felony sex as­sault ex­pired.

The de­fense ac­cused District At­tor­ney Kevin Steele of ig­nor­ing a pre­de­ces­sor’s oral prom­ise not to charge Cosby and us­ing the case to win elec­tion last year. Steele now hopes to call 13 other ac­cusers at the trial. Cosby’s le­gal team will fight stren­u­ously to keep them out.

From 1984 to 1992, Cosby starred as Dr. Cliff Huxtable on “The Cosby Show,” a top- rated sit­com that helped him amass a rep­u­ta­tion as Amer­ica’s Dad.

In his de­po­si­tion, he said he gave Con­stand over-the­counter Be­nadryl, though she and other ac­cusers be­lieve they were drugged with some­thing stronger.

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