D.A. fights Cosby’s lat­est at­tempt to dis­miss charges

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Mont­coCourtNews on Twit­ter

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.

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