An email about Bill Cosby, sent between two former district attorneys, is threatening to derail the legal case against the 78-year-old comedian. The email details a crucial deposition that Cosby did ten years ago, but it may not be able to be used in any criminal case brought against him. The ongoing legal case against comedian Bill Cosby has been thrown into doubt following the emergence of the recent email. Cosby, like many alleged criminals before him, may now get off on a technicality.
Months prior to Bill Cosby being named in a sexual assault case filed against him late last year, an email sent by the former District Attorney of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, to his successor, attempted to persuade the incoming DA to abandon the investigation, and undermines the deposition’s usefulness in court.
Explains CNN on Jan. 16: “The 2015 email – sent by former District Attorney Bruce Castor to his successor Risa Vetri Ferman, who is now a judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Montgomery County – details an apparent verbal agreement the prosecutor had a decade earlier with Cosby’s attorneys for Cosby to testify in a civil sexual assault case brought against him in 2005. In the email, Castor writes that his intent in making the deal was to create an atmosphere in which Cosby accuser Andrea Constand would have the best chance of prevailing in her civil suit against the him by removing the prospect of Cosby invoking his 5th Amendment right.”
The victim in the lawsuit is former Temple University employee Andrea Constand. The current District Attorney of Montgomery County, Kevin R. Steele, said the official charge brought against Cosby was “first-degree aggravated indecent assault,” defined by Steele as “penetration without the consent of his victim.”
The allegations, filed against the beleaguered comedian on December 30 just prior to the ten year statue expiration, marked the first time the iconic actor had been formally charged with assault, despite accusations that date back to incidents that reportedly occurred in the mid-1960s.
According to Philly.com, in the email obtained by CNN, Castor told then-District Attorney Ferman that he and Cosby had agreed to a deal a decade earlier where his office had agreed to never prosecute Cosby. In the exchange, Castor said he hoped his decision “would facilitate accuser Andrea Constand’s efforts to depose Cosby in a civil suit” she had planned to file.
In 2004, Constand accused Cosby of drugging and fondling her. A year later, the Montgomery County’s District Attorney dismissed the charge for a lack of “credible and admissible evidence.” Thereafter, Constand filed a civil suit, threatening to have over a dozen potential witnesses testify if the case went to trial. Cosby settled, out of court, and the monetary amount awarded to Constand was never disclosed.
A Common Pleas Court must now decide if the agreement refereed to in the email was in place. If so, it may shield Cosby from the triple counts of aggravated indecent assault. Ferman will not be the judge to make that decision.
The email from Castor to Ferman says, in part:
I can see no possibility that Cosby’s deposition could be used in a state criminal case, because I would have to testify as to what happened, and the deposition would be subject to suppression. I cannot believe any state court judge would allow that deposition into evidence… Knowing this, unless you can make out a case without that deposition and without anything the deposition led you to, I think Cosby would have an action against the County and maybe even against you personally.
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Citing the email, Cosby’s attorneys have already filed a motion for the case to be dismissed, calling the charges “illegally, improperly and unethically brought by Kevin Steele and his office.”
According to the statement, the charges “violate an express agreement made by the Montgomery County District Attorney in 2005, in which the Commonwealth agreed that Mr. Cosby would never be prosecuted with respect to the allegations of sexual assault made by complainant Andrea Constand.
“This agreement, made for the express purpose of inducing Mr. Cosby to testify fully in Ms. Constand’s civil litigation against him, led Mr. Cosby to give deposition testimony in 2005 and 2006 without invocation of his Constitutional rights against self-incrimination. Now, to fulfill campaign promises, the newly-elected District Attorney has repudiated the agreement and has based these criminal charges on the very testimony Mr. Cosby gave in reliance on the Commonwealth’s non-prosecution agreement,” Cosby’s attorneys said.
The criminal charges are the first Cosby has faced, despite the fact that over fifty women have accused Cosby of assault or rape. The deposition is a vital piece of evidence, and the email discussing Bill Cosby now calls the validity of the case into question.