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Cosby Charged in Montco Court

Cosby-MugshotThe eyes of the nation turned to a Philadelphia suburb today.

Bill Cosby, a famous comedian and TV star for decades, was charged with felony indecent assault.

The indictment is the result of years of accusations against Cosby that finally boiled over in 2014 after a comedy routine from Hannibal Buress went viral.

The allegations in this case were made by Andrea Costand. In a 2005 filing, Costand stated that the previous year Cosby drugged and assaulted her. At the time, Costand was working for the Temple University basketball team. Cosby is a well-known Temple alum.  

After the renewed uproar, Montgomery County DA Risa Vetri Ferman reopened the case which was rejected a decade ago. Additionally, the statute of limitations in this instance is twelve years so prosecutors were racing against the clock.

Cosby is facing a maximum of five to ten years in jail as well as a $25,000 fine.  

20 Responses

  1. Good afternoon all. I believe David Diano may be slightly incorrect. There is a method of proof called; “Common scheme plan and design” Accused use the same method in his crimes. Not the best to bring into a case and if the DA’s can prove these women have discussed the accusations and gave statements to the police that only they may know and it matches the Cosby MO it may be something the DA’s may use. I do agree Statue of Limitations is a real problem

  2. Bill Cosby had to submit a deposition. It was a choice. And, I suspect, that there was evidence of drugs well before the deposition so he could not credibly deny it. The question is: did Andrea Constand take the drug voluntarily.

  3. Why would Cosby have agreed to a deposition if he thought it could be used against him in a future criminal case? Bad lawyers? Or more likely he was promised it would not be used to make him testify. Otherwise, Cosby has a whopping malpractice suit against his lawyers from the civil suit.

  4. eagleswing

    There’s no ability to cross-examine the ONLY witness at the criminal trial. The deposition thus seems inadequate. And the testimony of the other women, while potentially demonstrating a pattern, is not evidence of what happened in this particular case.

    Cosby could stipulate to molesting/raping all of the ones outside the statute of limitations, and void their testifying as non probative/informative. The DA wants to heap the emotional testimony on the jury to get them to use this case to convict Cosby of his past crimes. That tactic is designed to be highly prejudicial, and Cosby might well stipulate to it, to avoid it.

    In the Paula Jones case against Clinton, the judge ruled that if everything she said was true, and if Clinton had failed to testify or agreed with her, there wasn’t enough to justify damages. (Which tells me that the case should have been dismissed before it began.)

    In this case, the deposition was part of an out of court settlement. Cosby’s attorneys could claim that the woman lied/misinterpreted, but Cosby settled to avoid the publicly, even if innocent, for a consensual affair gone wrong. Or maybe his past lawyers took it easy because it wasn’t a criminal trial.

    Basically, without the witness present, and with new criminal defense attorney, Cosby could get away with it.

    Now, maybe the DA already has assurances the woman will testify/cooperate. Otherwise, I think it would be tough to convict.

  5. the DA in the criminal prosecution has the advantage of having the civil-suit deposition transcripts in which both victim and defendant gave ‘their’ versions of how cosby came to have sexual relations with a young woman he had drugged. . in PA it’s a crime to have sexual relations with some one who’s been drugged into near-unconsciousness. Cosby admitted to drugging her then having relations — but claimed ‘she consented’ ( having been plied with alcohol and drugs…) hmmm he just admitted close to guilt under PA rape/sexual assault laws. and if the victim does not show – then her former testimony under oath at her deposition becomes admissible. then there’s no shortage of 50 or so victims all saying cosby did the same thing to them.

  6. rsklaroff-

    The “pattern” of incidents from 50 other women is meaningless unless the actual victim testifies. Duh.

  7. @ d2:

    Actually, you again are incorrect when you claim, “Without the cooperation of the (alleged) victim, the case would be hard to prosecute (especially if she’s living in Canada).”

    The prosecution can invoke ~50 alleged victims to show a pattern of misbehavior, even if the index-victim were to become recalcitrant with regard to her personal experience.

    It should be recalled that the impetus to file belatedly was predicated on release of the transcript of his depo, in which he made damaging admissions.

  8. Isaac L. and eagleswing –

    Thanks for the clarification. Without the cooperation of the (alleged) victim, the case would be hard to prosecute (especially if she’s living in Canada).

  9. David – this is a common misconception, but in the Commonwealth, alleged victims do not “press charges” or “drop charges”, rather the decision whether to press charges falls to the discretion of the prosecutor. An alleged victim can be cooperative or uncooperative and, if the case hinges on that, the prosecutor may decide that it is not worth bringing charges, but, at the end of the day, it’s the prosecutor’s call, not the victim’s.

  10. do not misapprehend the impact of a civil settlement between victim and defendant in a criminal case. the mere fact that defendant buys the victim’s silence– by money or threat– does not per se bar the commonwealth of PA’s rights to ,prosecute a crime. the prosecution of course may be complicated by a victim who suddenly can’t remember much because of the toxic effect of hush money having being paid. but the commonwealth has every right to prosecute such a a crime . (as to a DA’s political decision not to charge a powerful rich nationally known comedian in order to not hurt her judicial election chances.. well that happens a lot , and unfortunately can’t be prosecuted as a crime due to the legislature’s grant of ‘prosecutorial discretion.) all in all it looks like PA might be the only state with a long enough criminal statute to prosecute Cosby. we anxiously await the jury’s verdicts..

  11. This makes perfect political sense. Ferman certainly wanted no part of this ugly duckling case as she approached her common pleas judgeship election. But now that she’s won, she has nothing to lose. Meanwhile, Steele gets the best of both worlds – if the case tanks, he can at least claim some cover by saying it was brought by the previous DA. And if he gets the conviction-far from assured, no matter what the media may say — he also gets the credit.

  12. The statute of limitations is 12 years, and it was due to run out soon. So, now it’s a rush job to arrest him (after ignoring the problem for years).

    On a side note, it appears Cosby made some settlement with this woman. Seems to me, he should get his settlement back if she’s pursuing this.

    I fully support her fighting to put Cosby in jail, but if she made a settlement deal, she should either honor the deal or give the money back (since the deal implies she was willing to walk away for the money instead of pursuing it).

  13. Doesn’t this make Kevin Steele a big, fat, liar for getting elected by saying that his former boss should have arrested Cosby in 2005? Now he says he needed new evidence that came out last summer, so how could the other guy have arrested Cosby when the supposedly needed extra evidence didn’t get to Steele’s attention until a few months ago? How will the public trust Steele when he lied big time to win, and then effectively admits to lying less than two months after being elected? Cosby may be a psychopath, but Steele has shown he will do anything to win. Not the kind of prosecutor I would want if I lived there. Can’t trust the guy. What is it with that county and morally bankrupt politicians anyway?

  14. Strange timing. Now she (Ferman) will be handing off two high-profile prosecutions (Kane and Cosby) to her successor (Steele). So she wants the credit for filing charges and leaves the hard work to him?

  15. Tim: I certainly echo your sentiments with respect to the comedic icon/sexual predator. He is quite obviously a psychopath. One of many. Too many.

  16. Why now? Risa Ferman has held the Office of Distict Attorney for 8 years. 8 long years – particularly from the perspective of Cosby’s accusers. Why has this issue only arisen in the past 15 months or so? Why was this matter not a priority for Ferman during her first term or most of her second term? We are led to believe that significant new evidence has surfaced, and hence the charges. But upon close examination of today’s documentation, this contention appears patenly false. This evidence has been known to the D.A. for some time. And incidentally, why did the D.A. opt not to make an appearance today? She is still the incumbent until next week, after all. I am not suggesting the comedian/serial rapist is inncoent – by no means. No, I am merely suggesting that there are arcane motives here.

    Yes, yes – deadlines were fast approaching, etc., etc. That does not address the issue at hand. Why was no action taken at an earlier date? Unless, of course, the timing was deemed exquisite…

  17. Lock this rapist and serial predator up. Take away all of his honorary degrees[meaningless in the first place] and divvy up his estate to all his victims. He is a first class scumbag who is NOT funny. Put him away in his home state.

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