D.A. fights Cosby’s latest attempt to dismiss charges
NORRISTOWN >> The discovery of new evidence properly led to a renewed investigation of entertainer Bill Cosby in 2015 and his claims he was prejudiced by a decade-old delay in bringing sexual assault charges against him have no merit, prosecutors contend.
“This time he complains of prearrest delay. But he is an individual who has used his fame and fortune for decades to conceal his crimes and hide his true nature. He is not entitled to a dismissal now that the law has caught up with him,” Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele wrote in court papers filed Tuesday.
Steele urged county Judge Steven T. O’Neill to deny Cosby’s latest request to dismiss charges of aggravated indecent assault that were lodged against him last December in connection with allegations he had inappropriate sexual contact with Andrea Constand, a former Temple University athletic department employee, at his Cheltenham home between mid-January and mid-February 2004.
O’Neill is expected to hold a hearing on the matter next month. Cosby, 79, faces a June 5, 2017, trial on the charges.
Cosby’s lead defense lawyer Brian J. McMonagle filed papers in county court earlier this month asking the judge to dismiss the charges and rule that Cosby’s “due process rights were violated” by the prosecution’s “unjustified ten-year delay” in filing charges against Cosby.
McMonagle argued the allegations against Cosby first surfaced in January 2005 and he wasn’t charged until December 2015 and that that pre-arrest delay constitutes a denial of due process under the Pennsylvania and U.S. constitutions. McMonagle implied prosecutors cannot prove that there was a rational basis for the delay.
“He brushes aside the fact, however, that the commonwealth discovered new evidence in 2015,” Steele responded.
Steele said prosecutors reopened the criminal investigation in July 2015 after segments of Cosby’s deposition connected to a 2005 civil suit brought against him by Constand were unsealed by a federal judge. In that deposition, Cosby gave damaging testimony, allegedly admitting he obtained Quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex. Prosecutors contend Cosby also admitted for the first time that he had sexual contact with Constand.
Steele argued other women also came forward since 2005 to accuse Cosby of inappropriate sexual conduct and prosecutors plan to rely on their testimony at trial to prove a “common scheme” by Cosby.
“Here, the commonwealth de-
layed charges until the release of new information in 2015 prompted a renewed investigation. The delay in this case is thus excusable as a derivation of reasonable investigation,” Steele argued, adding “with a strengthened case and seemingly the only opportunity to hold (Cosby) criminally liable” Cheltenham police and county detectives filed charges.
McMonagle also has argued Cosby has been prejudiced by the delay in his
arrest because his eyesight and memory have considerably declined in the 11-year period since the assault was alleged to have taken place, thereby preventing him from assisting in his defense.
Cosby, McMonagle added, was prejudiced by the delay in filing charges because the death of his former lawyer, Walter M. Phillips Jr., prevented him from proving the existence of what Cosby has argued was a 2005 promise by former county District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. not to prosecute the entertainer based on the claims made by Constand.
But Steele, who claims no
immunity order or promise ever existed, pointed out a judge previously examined the issue and allowed prosecutors to proceed with the charges.
“Instead, he just repeats this fiction again and again, as if saying it enough makes it true,” Steele wrote.
The charges were lodged against Cosby on Dec. 30, 2015, before the 12-year statute of limitations to file charges expired.
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.