Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Saturday, May 25, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Cosby Faces Another Round in Assault Case

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CN) — Bill Cosby returns to court Tuesday to argue that prosecutors waited too long to charge him with aggravated indecent assault, just before the 12-year time limit expired.

In an Oct. 6 motion to dismiss the charges against him, 79-year-old Cosby says that the pre-arrest delay violates Cosby's rights to due process. In addition to near blindness, Cosby says he suffers memory problems in his advanced age, "preventing him from assisting in his defense."

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele brought the charges against Cosby in the Court of Common Pleas on Dec. 30, 2015, as allegations about the comedian hit a crescendo.

In the year prior, dozens of women had come forward with stories going back decades of having been drugged and raped by the entertainer most famous for his role as Dr. Cliff Huxtable.

Andrea Constand was among the few Cosby accusers to have voiced such allegations a decade before the scandal, but the details of her 2005 case had been under seal as part of a settlement.

Constand had gone after Cosby in civil court after the Montgomery County DA in office at the time had declined to prosecute her case.

As the allegations against Cosby ramped up in 2015, a federal judge cited the public interest in opting to release materials from the sealed Constand case.

The document of critical importance to Cosby's current prosecution is a deposition in which Cosby admitted to buying quaaludes to give to women before having sex with them.

Cosby has pleaded not guilty and made multiple attempts over the past many months to duck trial and limit evidence. Each attempt to date has been unsuccessful.

The latest motion says Cosby's 11-year crawl to prosecution has prejudiced him in part because of the death of his longtime attorney, Walter M. Phillips Jr.

It was this attorney who represented Cosby back when Constand first came forward with her claims against the comedian in 2005.

Phillips could have offered proof "of the commonwealth's promise not to prosecute Mr. Cosby based on Ms. Constand's allegations," the 4-page motion says.

But the motion also says prosecutors had no valid justification for their delay, "even if there had been no such promise."

"It simply did nothing for over a decade," the motion continues, signed by Brian McMonagle, with the Philadelphia firm McMonagle, Perri, McHugh & Mishak.

Despite McMonagle's latest protest, the attorney had no qualms at a September hearing about delaying Cosby's trial date to June 2017.

Now the attorney says prosecutors are using Cosby to advance their own careers.

Steele "made the prosecution of Mr. Cosby a focal point of his campaign for district attorney in October 2015, generating a great deal of negative publicity directed towards Mr. Cosby," McMonagle wrote.

Angela Agrusa, of Los Angeles-based firm Liner LLP, joined McMonagle in a 29-page memorandum accompanying the motion.

Another 42 pages of exhibits includes copies of news articles on the Cosby case by Rolling Stone Magazine, The Washington Post and CNN.

Judge Elizabeth McHugh will preside over the Monday hearing.

Constand met Cosby through her job at Temple University, where Cosby was a trustee. She says the comedian drugged and assaulted her at his Cheltenham home one night in January 2004.

After the encounter, Constand left her job and moved back to her parents' home in Pickering, Ontario. A year later, Durham Regional Police in Canada notified Montgomery County law enforcement that Constand had made sexual-assault allegations against Cosby.

In his 2005 statement to police about the case, Cosby admitted that he provided Constand with 1.5 pills of over-the counter Benadryl to help her sleep and ease tension.

The Montgomery County DA who declined to prosecute in 2005 now faces a federal defamation suit from Constand in Philadelphia.

A three-judge panel of the Third Circuit is weighing another Cosby legal battle. At an Oct. 10 hearing, the Third Circuit seemed poised to affirm dismissal of claims that Cosby defamed an accuser of his named Renita Hill.

Categories / Uncategorized

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.