Prosecutors request Supreme Court review of Bill Cosby's release
Three years after a court found Bill Cosby guilty of multiple counts of sexual assault, the disgraced comedian's sentence was reversed due to a technicality.
Cosby reportedly celebrated his freedom by taking to social media and tweeting, "I have never changed my stance nor my story. I have always maintained my innocence. Thank you to all my fans, supporters and friends who stood by me through this ordeal. Special thanks to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for upholding the rules of law."
But a prosecutor in the case neither believes the above statement nor the basis of the technicality that resulted in Cosby's freedom, so he's asking the Supreme Court to reinstate Cosby’s conviction.
According to Variety, Kevin Steele, the district attorney from Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, who put Bill Cosby in prison in 2018, filed the appeal.
In his petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, Steele’s office calls the court’s reversal ruling, “a dangerous precedent.”
“A prosecution announcement not to file charges should not trigger due process protections against future criminal proceedings because circumstances could change, including new incriminating statements by the accused,” the prosecutor’s office argued.
The 84-year-old entertainer was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his Philadelphia home in 2004.
He served nearly three years of his sentence and was released in June.
The D.A.’s petition pushes for a review of Cosby's case by arguing, "The question presented to the Court is: ‘Where a prosecutor publicly announces that he will not file criminal charges based on lack of evidence, does the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment transform that announcement into a binding promise that no charges will ever be filed, a promise that the target may rely on as if it were a grant of immunity?'”
Cosby’s spokesman, Andrew Wyatt, fired back by saying the prosecutor’s office was trying to push the Supreme Court to, “throw the Constitution out the window.”
“There is no merit to the DA’s request which centers on the unique facts of the Cosby case and has no impact on important federal questions of law,” Wyatt said. “This is a pathetic last-ditch effort that will not prevail. The Montgomery County’s DA’s fixation with Mr. Cosby is troubling to say the least.”
Constand reported the assault to police in January 2005 and a month later, the then Montgomery County District Attorney, Castor, issued a press release stating his office decided against filing charges.
After that, Cosby gave deposition testimony in a civil lawsuit Constand filed and in so doing, acknowledged giving Quaaludes to other women.
Cosby was charged in December 2015, but his attorneys argued at the time that Steele’s office ignored Castor’s promise not to prosecute. They added that Cosby would have used his Fifth Amendment right not to testify in the civil case if he believed he was in danger of criminal prosecution.
The trial court held a hearing on that issue, and found Castor hadn't made such an agreement.
Though Castor pointed to the press release as the written record of the agreement, the release does not include language about immunity from future prosecution.
Cosby’s first trial ended in a hung jury, but he was convicted at the second trial in 2018 and in both trials, Prosecutors made use of Cosby’s deposition testimony.
In June, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned the conviction on a 6-1 vote, concluding that Cosby trusted Castor’s promise not to prosecute when he gave his incriminating deposition testimony.
According to the Washington Post, though Steele's request for a Supreme Court review of Cosby's case has made national headlines, it's unlikely the Supreme Court will actually review it as the panel typically gets between 7,000 and 8,000 petitions each term, and grants oral arguments to a mere 80.
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