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Montgomery County, Pa., Prosecutors are appealing to the United States Supreme Court to review a state high court ruling that allowed comedian and actor Bill Cosby to be released within three years after being convicted of assaulting a woman in a high-profile #MeToo case.
Cosby’s April 2018 indecent assault conviction was overturned last June, after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the actor’s due process rights had been violated.
He was charged with an alleged 2004 assault against Andrea Constand, who worked for the Temple University women’s basketball team in Philadelphia, after prosecutors told him they would not prosecute against him. By the time the decision was overturned, Cosby had served more than two years of a planned sentence of three to 10 years.
In his appeal to the state Supreme Court, Cosby argued that a statement made by then-attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. in 2005 promised Cosby would not be subject to harassment. criminal charges stemming from Constand’s allegations that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in her home. .
Castor said he verbally told Cosby’s lawyer that he would not prosecute the actor and comedian, and then issued a press release announcing his office’s criminal investigation was over. . In court, Castor said he took those steps to try to get Cosby to testify in any civil lawsuit brought by Costand. In its June ruling, the state’s Supreme Court ruled that the no-prosecution agreement was binding.
In a press release on Monday, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele said the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling could set a precedent that “prosecutors’ statements in press releases now apparently create immunity “.
“This decision as it stands will have far-reaching negative consequences beyond Montgomery County and Pennsylvania,” Steele said. “The United States Supreme Court can right what we believe to be a serious wrong.”
In a statement sent to NPR, Cosby spokesman Andrew V. Wyatt claimed the Montgomery County DA was asking the highest court in the land to “throw the Constitution out the window, like it did , to satisfy the #metoo “crowd.
“This is a pathetic last-ditch effort that will not prevail,” he wrote, adding that “Steele’s fixation with Mr. Cosby is troubling to say the least.”
According to the official US courts website, the Supreme Court is called upon to review more than 7,000 cases per year and hears only 100 to 150 appeals per year.