Judge Rules Damaging Cosby Testimony Can Be Used Against him at Trial

A judge has ruled that damaging testimony Bill Cosby gave in his accuser's lawsuit can be used at the comedian's upcoming sex assault trial. (Photo: Mel Evans, AP)
A judge has ruled that damaging testimony Bill Cosby gave in his accuser’s lawsuit can be used at the comedian’s upcoming sex assault trial.
(Photo: Mel Evans, AP)

A Pennsylvania judge has ruled that damaging testimony Bill Cosby gave in an accuser’s lawsuit can be used at his criminal sex assault trial.

Cosby, 79, who is set to go to trial in June 2017, faces three counts of aggravated indecent sexual assault stemming from a 2004 encounter with Temple University employee Andrea Constand, who looked to Cosby as a mentor.

Constand, a 43-year-old Canadian now living in Toronto, says Cosby drugged her and assaulted her at his Montgomery County home, an account similar to that of five dozen other women who have come forward to accuse Cosby since the fall of 2014. Cosby insists the encounter with Constand was consensual.

Cosby’s defense lawyers have argued that Cosby only agreed to testify in a deposition in 2005, for a civil suit brought by Constand (and settled in 2006), after being promised he wouldn’t be charged in the case.

Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill concluded Monday that Cosby never had a promise from prosecutors that he could never be charged.

“Because there was no promise, there can be no reliance on the part of the defendant and principles of fundamental fairness and due process have not been violated,” O’Neill wrote, following a lengthy summary of his conclusions of law. “This court finds there is no Constitutional barrier to the use of the defendant’s civil deposition testimony.”

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The release of the deposition testimony last year prompted prosecutors to reopen Constand’s 2005 criminal complaint.

The prosecution aims to show that Cosby exhibited a pattern of sexual assault dating back to the 1960s and in multiple states. Cosby has not been charged in any of these other accusations, due to statutes of limitation in other states.

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SOURCE: USA Today – Andrea Mandell and Maria Puente