Lawyers: Prejudice, delay make defending Cosby difficult
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.