Cosby loses state court bid to dismiss sex assault charges
NORRISTOWN >> Entertainer Bill Cosby has lost his latest bid before a state court to dismiss the sex assault charges lodged against him in connection with an alleged encounter he had with a woman at his Cheltenham mansion.
The Pennsylvania Superior Court Wednesday quashed Cosby’s motion in which he sought the dismissal of three counts of aggravated indecent assault in connection with allegations he sexually assaulted Andrea Constand, a former Temple University athletic department employee, at his home in 2004.
In an appeal filed in August, defense lawyer Brian J. McMonagle, citing “exceptional circumstances,” asked the state court to review Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O’Neill’s July 7 determination that prosecutors, under current state law, were not required to present Constand’s live testimony during Cosby’s May preliminary hearing before a district court judge.
“These issues must be resolved now, because lack of immediate appellate review will cause Mr. Cosby’s interests to be irreparably lost, since he will forever be prevented from confronting his accuser before a trial,” McMonagle wrote in the appeal.
O’Neill ruled prosecutors’ reliance on so-called “hearsay evidence” at that preliminary hearing was “perfectly proper,” under current state law, to show sufficient evidence to move Cosby’s case to trial.
O’Neill subsequently urged the state court to quash Cosby’s appeal, claiming Cosby’s appeal of the July 7 pretrial ruling was “nei-
ther appealable by right… nor based on ‘exceptional circumstances.’”
Prosecutors also urged the state court to quash Cosby’s appeal and the state court, in its ruling on Wednesday, essentially granted the district attorney’s request.
During Cosby’s May 24 preliminary hearing, District Attorney Kevin R. Steele and co-prosecutors M. Stewart Ryan and Kristen Feden presented county and Cheltenham detectives as witnesses who testified and read into the record statements that Constand allegedly gave to detectives on Jan. 22, 2005, claiming Cosby had sexual contact with her while she visited his Cheltenham mansion.
McMonagle had argued that Steele relied on “hearsay” and detectives’ recollections about Constand’s statements and that Cosby should have had the right to confront his accuser.
Now that the state court has ruled, Cosby’s quest to dismiss the charges will return to the county court, where McMonagle last week claimed Cosby, whose “eyesight and memory have considerably declined” during the last 11 years, was prejudiced by prosecutors’ decade-old delay in bringing sexual assault charges against him.
McMonagle has asked Judge O’Neill to rule that Cosby’s “due process rights were violated” by the prosecution’s “unjustified 10year
Cosby’s quest to dismiss the charges will return to the county court, where McMonagle last week claimed Cosby was prejudiced by prosecutors’ decadeold delay in bringing sexual assault charges against him.
delay” in filing charges against him. William Henry Cosby Jr., 79, as his name appears on charging documents, faces charges in connection with the alleged sexual assault of Constand at his home in the 8200 block of New Second Street in Cheltenham between mid-January and mid-February 2004. The charges were lodged against Cosby on Dec. 30, before the 12year statute of limitations to file charges expired.
Cosby faces a June 5, 2017 trial on the charges.
The newspaper does not normally identify victims of sex crimes without their consent but is using Constand’s name because she has identified herself publicly.
If convicted of the charges at trial, Cosby, an entertainment icon who remains free on 10 percent of $1 million bail, faces a possible maximum sentence of 15 to 30 years in prison.
Bill Cosby departs after a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown on Sept. 6.