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Foggy in Sight & Memory, Cosby Fights Delay to Trial

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CN) — Prosecutors who charged Bill Cosby with aggravated indecent assault brought the case just before the time limit to bring such charges had run out. But the elderly comedian argues in a new court filing that 11 years was too long.

The motion to dismiss charges against Cosby in the Montgomery Court of Common Pleas says that the pre-arrest delay violates his rights to due process.

In addition to near blindness, 79-year-old Cosby says he suffers memory problems in his advanced age, "preventing him from assisting in his defense."

Despite his claims of prejudice, however, defense attorney Brian McMonagle saw no harm at a hearing last month in delaying Cosby's trial date to June 2017 because of McMonagle's scheduling conflicts.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele brought the charges on Dec. 30, 2015, as allegations about Cosby's past hit a crescendo.

In the preceding year, dozens of women came 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 who had gone to authorities about Cosby in years past, but she reached a civil settlement with the comedian after the local DA declined to prosecute.

Details of Constand's case had been under seal for about a decade when the ramped-up allegations led a federal judge to find their release a matter of public interest.

One document in particular that led Steele to file charges in Constand's case was a deposition Cosby gave in which the comedian admitted to buying quaaludes to give to women before having sex with them.

With the comedian pleading not guilty, the court has rejected several attempts by Cosby in the intervening months to duck trial and limit evidence.

Cosby's attorneys filed the latest motion on Oct. 6, but the court did not make the filing available for another day. It says the 11-year crawl to prosecution has prejudiced Cosby 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, "even if there had been no such promise, ... there is no valid justification for the commonwealth's delay.

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

Prosecutors are also using Cosby to advance their own careers, the motion argues.

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 decide on this motion in coming weeks.

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.

Another legal headache for Cosby went to the Third Circuit just last week. At the hearing, the Third Circuit seemed poised to affirm dismissal of claims that Cosby defamed an accuser of his named Renita Hill.

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