After a two-day pretrial hearing, Common Pleas Judge Steven O’Neill has refused to throw out the sexual assault case against Bill Cosby. Cosby’s lawyers previously hoped to have the case dismissed, after claims that a former district attorney had promised him immunity from prosecution more than a decade ago.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele says his predecessor, Bruce Castor, had no authority to make an agreement with the comedian’s lawyers that he would never face criminal charges in this sexual assault case.
On Tuesday, former District Attorney Castor, the key witness for the defense, testified that he gave an unwritten promise of immunity to Cosby.
“A secret agreement that allows a wealthy defendant to buy his way out of a criminal case isn’t right,” Steele told the judge.
Castor also argued that his team investigated the case thoroughly when it was first brought forward in 2004, but he did not pursue Cosby due to credibility issues with accuser Andrea Constand’s story. The judge however, said he’d had difficulty finding a case with similar circumstances in which a suspect was granted such immunity.
The case will now move to a preliminary hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to try the comedian for drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University employee, Andrea Constand, in 2004. The statute of limitations ran out on the case in January of 2016.
If convicted, Cosby could face up to 10 years in prison.
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