July 21, 2024

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Supreme Court rejects bid to reconvict Bill Cosby

Supreme Court rejects bid to reconvict Bill Cosby

Last year, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court divided I ruled it Cosby shouldn’t have faced any charges, since the former district attorney had promised in 2005 not to prosecute him.

A Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling released Cosby from prison after nearly three years.

That court said Cosby believed he was operating under an immunity agreement filed by the attorney general when the artist gave testimony that was harmful and led to his conviction.

Prosecutors denied the existence of such a deal, though Bruce CastorCosby, who was then the attorney general for the suburban Montgomery County outside Philadelphia, said in a 2005 news release that he had decided not to prosecute Cosby.

The press release said Castor’s decision was based on an analysis of law and evidence, and that “under the circumstances of this case” a conviction “is not achievable.”

Andrea Konstandan employee of Cosby University’s Temple University, accused the actress of drugging and harassing her in 2004. The two later settled a civil lawsuit.

The criminal case was reopened in 2015 after a judge exposed parts of Cosby’s testimony during the civil lawsuit. This decision came soon after a dozen women They made allegations that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them. Since then, the number of women filing similar charges has increased.

A new district attorney in Montgomery County filed charges, and Cosby was convicted.

But the divided Pennsylvania Supreme Court said the use of Cosby’s testimony violated his due process rights.

The current Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele has asked the US Supreme Court to intervene.

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Steele wrote in his petition to the US Supreme Court: “The press release said that no charges would be brought, and never would, and in fact, could be read to say that the attorney general could reconsider if new evidence was found.” Court. “Cosby’s presentation of such evidence in a supposed reliance on a vague press release may have been prejudicial — but it was not reasonable.”

Steele added, “The issue here is whether the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment turns this mere declaration into a binding promise to never prosecute, upon which the accused is entitled to rely in perpetuity.”

Cosby’s attorney Jennifer Bunjian countered that Steele was misrepresenting the Pennsylvania court’s decision by saying the promise came only in a press release.

The Pennsylvania court relied on a “strong and unique factual record when it concluded that the district attorney made an “unconditional undertaking” not to sue Cosby for the purpose of getting him to waive his Fifth Amendment right in a prospective civil suit,” Bonjian wrote.

She added that the attorney general “provides no compelling reason for this court to block a state Supreme Court decision that is legally uncontested and based on a set of circumstances that are “rare, if not entirely unique” that are unlikely to occur again in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or elsewhere. .”

Steele said in a statement that it was difficult to ask the US Supreme Court to review the state court’s decision, but that it was “the right thing to do.”

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He thanked Konstand for his progress and said, “All victims of crimes deserve to be heard, treated with respect and support during their day in court.”

Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt told The Associated Press that the court’s decision not to review the case “is really a victory for Mr. Cosby, but it shows that cheating will never benefit you in life, and the corruption that lurks in the Montgomery County attorney’s office has been put center stage in the world.” .

White also told the Associated Press that Cosby remains in good health despite being legally blind. He said that “a lot of people are asking for projects for him” and that he is considering one last round.

Amy Cheng contributed to this report.