The Washington Post

Prosecutor­s ask Supreme Court to review Bill Cosby case

- BY AMY CHENG amy.cheng@washpost.com

Prosecutor­s in Montgomery County, Pa., have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a ruling by the state’s top court earlier this year that vacated the sexual assault conviction of Bill Cosby, who was one of the country’s most beloved celebritie­s before he was recast as a merciless predator and sexual deviant in the first celebrity trial of the #Metoo era.

Cosby, 84, was found guilty of sexual assault in 2018. He spent nearly three years behind bars before his sentence was reversed in June by the Pennsylvan­ia Supreme Court, which ruled that Cosby had believed he was operating under an immunity agreement offered by a prosecutor when the entertaine­r provided testimony that was damaging to himself.

Prosecutor­s have denied the existence of such a deal, and Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said in a Monday statement that the U.S. Supreme Court “can right what we believe is a grievous wrong.”

Cosby has always maintained his innocence. On Monday, his spokesman Andrew Wyatt lashed out at Steele, whom he accused of having a troubling “fixation” on Cosby.

“In short, the Montgomery County D.A. asks the United States Supreme Court to throw the Constituti­on out the window, as it did, to satisfy the [#Metoo] mob,” Wyatt said in a statement. “This is a pathetic last-ditch effort that will not prevail.”

Though the case was widely followed in the media, it appears unlikely that the Supreme Court will review it. The panel receives between 7,000 and 8,000 petitions each term and grants oral arguments to about 80.

“[Cosby’s case] is such a one-off situation that the U.S. Supreme Court might look at it and say, ‘It’s not worth our time because this will never happen again,’ ” Jules Epstein, a law professor at Temple University, told The Washington Post at the time of Cosby’s release.

From the onset of Cosby’s criminal trial, prosecutor­s and defense lawyers clashed over their differing interpreta­tions of a 2005 news release issued by thendistri­ct attorney Bruce Castor, who had declined to pursue a criminal case against Cosby, citing “insufficie­nt, credible and admissible evidence.”

The release did not mention an immunity deal, but Cosby’s attorneys said it buttressed an oral non-prosecutio­n agreement.

Cosby and Andrea Constand, an employee at Cosby’s alma mater, Temple University, who accused him of drugging and molesting her, later settled a civil lawsuit. The criminal case, which Castor had declined to prosecute, was reopened in 2015 after a judge unsealed parts of Cosby’s deposition during the civil suit. That decision came shortly after a dozen women came forward with allegation­s that Cosby had drugged and sexually assaulted them.

A particular­ly damaging deposition from the 2005 civil suit revealed that Cosby had acknowledg­ed intending to use quaaludes, a sedative, on young women with whom he wanted to have sex. He did not admit to criminal wrongdoing during the deposition.

By the time he was convicted in 2018, at least 60 women had accused Cosby of sexually assaulting or harassing them. The allegation­s spanned some 40 years, during which Cosby’s career took off and transforme­d him into a household name.

Cosby, 84, was found guilty of sexual assault in 2018. He spent nearly three years behind bars before his sentence was reversed in June.

 ?? Mark Makela/reuters ?? The Bill Cosby case hinged on a deposition in which he said he gave quaaludes to women he wanted to have sex with and whether that testimony was admissible in a criminal trial 10 years later.
Mark Makela/reuters The Bill Cosby case hinged on a deposition in which he said he gave quaaludes to women he wanted to have sex with and whether that testimony was admissible in a criminal trial 10 years later.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States