A Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, judge ruled Monday that Bill Cosby’s deposition in his sexual assault accuser’s long-settled civil lawsuit against him can be used as evidence in his upcoming criminal trial.
Cosby’s attorneys argued in November that the judge should not allow the deposition to be used in the criminal case because, they claimed, former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. promised not to prosecute the 79-year-old Cosby in exchange for his cooperation with Andrea Constand‘s lawsuit.
The deposition became public in July 2015, prompting Castor’s successors at the DA’s office to quietly re-open Constand’s case, and they were key in the decision to charge the comedian last December. (Constand’s suit was settled in 2006.)
Cosby is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting Constand, a 43-year-old former Temple University employee, at his mansion in Ekins Parks, Pennsylvania, in January 2004. Cosby has pleaded not guilty to the charges and has denied similar allegations from more than 50 women.
“This Court concludes that there was neither an agreement nor a promise not to prosecute, only an exercise of prosecutorial discretion, memorialized by the February 17, 2005 press release,” Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill wrote in his six-page order Monday.
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This is the second time Cosby’s attorneys have raised the issue of Castor’s alleged promise not to prosecute Cosby. It was the subject of two days of hearings in February when Castor himself took the stand. After that hearing, O’Neill ruled Castor’s testimony was “not credible” and refused to dismiss the case.
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O’Neill elaborated on that in Monday’s order, saying there were “numerous inconsistencies” in Castor’s testimony and writings on the issue. (Castor could not be reached for comment.)
Cosby’s spokesman, Andrew Wyatt, had no comment on the ruling. Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said he was happy with the judge’s decision to allow the deposition.
“Allowing the jury to hear Mr. Cosby’s deposition testimony is another step forward in this case and will aid the jury in making its determination,” Steele said. “It’s important that we are able to present all of the evidence available, and Judge O’Neill’s ruling allows us to make this evidence part of the upcoming trial.”
Cosby’s trial is scheduled to begin in June.