The judge overseeing the criminal case against Bill Cosby has issued a ruling on Monday denying the entertainer’s motion to suppress the contents of his civil deposition testimony and any evidence derived from it.
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Cosby’s lawyers had asked the court to disallow the use of the deposition at his criminal trial, based principally on the argument that Cosby sat for the depositions in 2005 and 2006 only after being assured by the then-district attorney that he would not face criminal prosecution.
The judge roundly rejected those arguments and found that there was no constitutional barrier to the use of Cosby’s civil testimony in the criminal case.
“There is no basis in the record to support the contention that there was ever an agreement or a promise not to prosecute the Defendant,” Judge Steven T. O’Neill wrote.
Former Montgomery County D.A. Bruce Castor testified in February that he promised immunity to Cosby more than a decade ago and gave several reasons why he didn't bring criminal charges against the comedian at that time.
Judge O'Neill must still decide whether the prosecution will be permitted to allow 13 other women who have said they were also assaulted by Cosby to testify. O’Neill has scheduled pre-trial hearings next week to hear arguments on that issue.
Cosby, 79, said in the deposition that he had a sexual encounter with Andrea Constand.
"I don’t hear her say anything. And I don’t feel her say anything," he said. "And so I continue and I go into the area that is somewhere between permission and rejection. I am not stopped."
He has maintained that the encounter was consensual.
He also said that he gave her a Benadryl after she complained of sleep trouble and tension and acknowledged that he had given Quaaludes to another woman.
The civil suit filed by Constand for which he was deposed was confidentially settled in 2006 and sealed.
After The Associated Press successfully fought for the release of portions of the deposition, dozens of women came forward with allegations of sexual harassment and assault.
Through his attorneys, Cosby has always denied accusations of wrongdoing. In May, his attorney Brian McMonagle said, “Mr. Cosby is not guilty of any crime and not one single fact presented by the Commonwealth rebuts this truth. … We have no doubt this case ultimately will be resolved in Cosby’s favor.”
Last December, just weeks before the criminal statute of limitations was to expire in the Constand case, newly-elected Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele announced criminal charges against Cosby.
Cosby's attorneys have filed multiple unsuccessful motions seeking the dismissal of the case.
Cosby's trial has been set for next June in Norristown, Pennsylvania, and if convicted, he could face up to 10 years behind bars and a $25,000 fine. He has pleaded not guilty and is free on $1 million bail. Cosby’s attorneys have indicated that they may seek a change of venue.