Andrea Constand, the woman whose drugging and sexual assault allegations against entertainer Bill Cosby led to more than 50 women with similar accusations coming forward, filed a defamation lawsuit Monday against former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr., the prosecutor who decided not to press charges against Cosby in 2005.
In the lawsuit, filed by Dolores Troiani and her former law partner Bebe Kivitz and obtained by PEOPLE, Constand, now 42, says Castor has “chosen to make plaintiff collateral damage for his political ambitions” by defaming her in comments he made to various news organizations over the past several weeks.
“She’s devastated,” Troiani tells PEOPLE. “It’s bad enough to go through this once but to have it happen to her twice?”
In January 2005, Constand told authorities Cosby had drugged and sexually assaulted her at his Elkins Park, Pennsylvania mansion in January 2004. On Feb. 18, 2005, Castor announced he was not filing charges against Cosby, citing “insufficient credible and admissible evidence.”
Monique Pressley, Cosby’s lead spokeswoman, did not respond to requests for comment but has denied all the accusations against him saying “the sheer volume or number of people who are saying a particular thing does not make it true”.
Last month, Troiani and Kivitz sent an “open letter” to Castor demanding an apology from him for comments he made about Constand in The Philadelphia Inquirer and on his Twitter and Facebook accounts saying Constand’s statements to police differed from those in her civil suit.
“Our issue is not whether Bill Cosby should or should not be arrested,” Troiani says. ” That’s not our point. Our point is that you don’t treat victims this way.”
The lawsuit’s filing comes the week after Castor, a current county commissioner who is running for district attorney, and opponent, Republican-turned-Democrat Kevin Steele, launched dueling television ads about the Cosby case, each pointing the finger at the other for not prosecuting the entertainer.
Castor’s campaign released a statement blaming Steele for the lawsuit.
“The lawsuit filed today, seven days before an election, is the cheapest of Steele’s cheap campaign stunts,” the statement said. ” It is the act of a desperate candidate who is down in the polls and headed to defeat. It is totally without merit. ”
Castor also told The Philadelphia Inquirer Constand and her lawyers were engaging in “quite despicable behavior” in an effort to influence the Nov. 3 election.
“It really is stunning to see the lengths that these people will go,” he told The Inquirer. “I’m a lawyer. I’m not afraid of court. I think the people who filed this lawsuit ought to be afraid.”
Troiani denied the timing of the lawsuit was anything but coincidental.
“Castor continued to make defamatory statements after we asked him to stop,” she says. “So he shouldn’t be complaining about timing. He shouldn’t have continued to defame her. So we’re supposed to not do anything until after the election and let him continue to harm her reputation?”
In the lawsuit, Constand also accused Castor of trying to “thwart” the current district attorney’s investigation into the case with an interview he gave to a local newspaper reporter.
“From a political standpoint, it looks really bad to move on Cosby before the election and garner, presumably, favorable press at the time when the district attorneys knows there is no chance the viability of the prosecution will ever be a problem,” Castor told the paper on Sept. 24. “The district attorney I know would never do that.”
Since Castor made those comments, they have heard nothing from District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman’s office, Troiani says.
“The DA’s office committed an immense amount of resources to reopen this case,” she says. “They sent five people to Canada to interview Andrea. They re-interviewed all the witnesses. After that interview, it stopped cold.”
Castor “injected politics into a prosecutorial decision and that’s unfair not only to my client but unfair to Bill Cosby,” she says. “Nobody should be arrested or not arrested for political reasons.”
Ferman, who is running for judge, could not be reached for comment about Troiani’s statements. She has previously neither confirmed nor denied her office is reinvestigating the Cosby case.
Constand is asking for $150,000 in damages in the suit filed in federal court in Philadelphia.