The former district attorney who declined a decade ago to bring sex-crime charges against Bill Cosby has testified that he believes his decision is binding on his successors and forever closes the door on prosecuting the comedian.
Former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor took the stand as part of a bid by Cosby’s lawyers to get the case thrown out because of what they said was a decade-old non-prosecution agreement from Mr Castor.
The current district attorney has said there is no record of any such agreement.
Cosby, 78, was arrested and charged in December with drugging and violating former Temple University athletic department employee Andrea Constand at his Philadelphia mansion in 2004.
He could get up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
Mr Castor said he found serious flaws in the case in 2005 and declined to bring charges. He said that he made the decision as a representative of the state — as “the sovereign,” as he put it, over and over — and that it would last in perpetuity.
“For all time, yes,” Mr Castor said when pressed on the point.
VIDEO: Bill Cosby arrives at Pa. courthouse where his lawyers will ask judge to dismiss felony sexual assault case: https://t.co/Svauwf1usc— The Associated Press (@AP) February 2, 2016
He also suggested that Cosby and his lawyer at the time had the same understanding, because Cosby later agreed to testify without invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in a lawsuit brought against him by Ms Constand.
“Cosby would’ve had to have been nuts to say those things if there was any chance he could’ve been prosecuted,” Mr Castor said.
Mr Castor said he hoped, correctly, at the time that the decision would free the comedian to testify in the lawsuit and help Ms Constand win damages. She eventually settled for an undisclosed amount.
“I did not believe it was just to go forward with the criminal prosecution, but I wanted there to be some measure of justice” for Ms Costand, said Mr Castor.
He added: “I was hopeful that I had made Ms Constand a millionaire.”
Kevin Steele, the newly elected DA who is pursuing the case, has said Cosby would need an immunity agreement in writing to get the case thrown out. He has said he has no evidence one exists.
Dozens of women have accused the former TV star of drugging and sexually assaulting them since the 1960s.
However, this is the only case in which he has been charged.
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