Bill Cosby Prosecutors Ask US Supreme Court To Review Decision Overturning Sexual Assault Sentencing

Prosecutors have asked the US Supreme Court to review a decision overturning the sexual assault conviction of comedian Bill Cosby, arguing in a plea Monday that the trial announced in a media release does not give a defendant lifelong immunity. .

Prosecutors said the verdict could set a dangerous precedent if the suspects are convicted on closed-door deals.

Cosby, 84, became the first celebrity to be convicted of sexual assault in the MeToo era when a jury in her 2018 trial found her guilty of drugging and molesting Canadian women’s basketball administrator Andrea Constand in January 2004. He spent almost three years in prison. before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court freed him in June.

The petition called the verdict ‘grossly wrong’

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele wrote in the petition seeking the Supreme Court, “This decision will have far-reaching negative consequences for Montgomery County and beyond Pennsylvania. The U.S. Supreme Court can correct what we believe is a grave wrong.” Is.” Review under the Due Process Clause of the US Constitution.

Cosby’s lawyers have long argued that he relied on a promise that he would never be charged if an accused gave damaging testimony at a civil trial in 2006.

The admission was later used against him in two criminal cases.

The only written evidence of such a promise is a 2005 media release from then-prosecutor, Bruce Castor, who said he did not have enough evidence to arrest Cosby.

The release included a vague “caution” that Castor would “reconsider this decision if necessary.” The parties have debated for years what this means.

Castor’s successor, who gathered new evidence and arrested Cosby in 2015, says it falls short of a lifetime immunity agreement. He also doubts that Castor ever made such a deal. Instead, they say Cosby had strategic reasons for making the statement rather than giving his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, even if he “slipped” in his belligerent testimony.

However, defense lawyers say the case should never be heard because they call it a “non-prosecution agreement.”

The US Supreme Court in Washington, DC has been asked to review the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision that released Cosby from prison in early June. (Jose Luis Magana / The Associated Press)

Review bidding is considered a long shot

Steele’s bid to revive the case is a long shot. The US Supreme Court accepts less than one percent of the petitions it receives. Legal scholars and victim advocates will be watching closely, however, to see if the court takes an interest in a high-profile MeToo case.

Two of the court’s judges, Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh, were charged with sexual misconduct during their bitter confirmation hearing.

Appellate judges have sharply differed in view of the Cosby case. An intermediate state court upheld the sentence. Then seven judges of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court wrote three different opinions on this.

The majority found that Cosby relied on his decision not to prosecute him when he admitted to giving drugs and alcohol to young women prior to sexual encounters. The court stopped to rule out that there was such a settlement, but said that Cosby thought that dependence, he said, overshadowed his sentence.

But prosecutors call that conclusion flawed. They noted that Cosby’s attorneys strongly objected to questions of the statement rather than let him speak freely.

Cosby himself never testified about a settlement or promise. The only alleged participant to come forward is Castor, Steele’s political rival, who represented former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial. Castor said he had promised a deceased defense attorney for Cosby, and received nothing in return.

He never mentioned it to top assistant Risa Furman, who led his Cosby investigation.

She later became district attorney and reopened the case in 2015 after a federal judge stampeded Cosby’s statement.

In a notable pre-trial hearing in February 2016, Castor spent hours testifying for the defense. He said he himself typed the media release after office hours, and was intended to expose lawyers, the media and the public to different layers of meaning.

The judge did not find him credible and sent the matter for hearing.

Andrea Constand, left, reacts at a news conference with prosecutor Kristen Feden after Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years for sexual assault on September 25, 2018 in Norristown, Pa. He was found guilty of drugging and molestation in January 2004. , (Matt Slocum/Associated Press)

‘Insult to fairness’

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court in its June 30 decision called Cosby’s arrest an “insult to fundamental fairness.”

Weeks later, the ruling prompted the state attorney general to dismiss charges against prison guards accused of sexually abusing female inmates, as an earlier agreement with county prosecutors had let them resign rather than face charges. .

Cosby, a blatant Black actor and comedian, created The Cosby Show in the 1980s. A flurry of sexual assault allegations later destroyed his image as the “father of America” ​​and led to a multimillion-dollar court settlement with at least eight women. But Constand’s only case was one that led to criminal charges.

Five of those women testified for prosecutors to support Constand’s claims, a testimony that Cosby’s attorneys also challenged on appeal. However, the state’s High Court declined to address the thorny issue of how many other accused could testify in criminal cases before the evidence was inappropriate for defense.

In a recent memoir, Constand described the decision as less important than the growing support from sexual assault survivors inspired by the MeToo movement.

“The result of the test seemed strangely insignificant. It was as if the world had shifted again to something more significant,” Constand wrote in the book, moment.

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