WHY DID THE COURT TOSS HIS CONVICTION?
The split court found that Bill Cosby was unfairly prosecuted. The previous district attorney had promised the comedian once known as “America’s Dad. He wouldn’t be charged over Constand’s accusations. Cosby was charged by another prosecutor who claimed he wasn’t bound by that agreement.
The court said that’s not the case. The justices found that Cosby relied on that promise. After he agreed to testify without invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Which was in a lawsuit brought against him by Constand.
The court concluded that the prosecutor. Later brought the charges was obligated to stick to the nonprosecution agreement, so the conviction cannot stand. The justices wrote that “denying the defendant the benefit of that decision is an affront to fundamental fairness. It results in a criminal prosecution that was foregone for more than a decade.”
WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH THE NONPROSECUTION AGREEMENT?
The promise not to prosecute Bill Cosby was made in 2005 by Bruce Castor. He was then the top prosecutor for Montgomery County. Castor was also on the legal team that defended former President Donald Trump. During his historic second impeachment trial over the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by his supporters.
During a court hearing weeks after Bill Cosby’s 2015 arrest. Castor testified that he promised Cosby he wouldn’t be prosecuted in the hopes that it would persuade the actor to testify in a civil case brought by Constand. And allow her to win damages. Castor acknowledged the only place the matter was put in writing was in the 2005 press release announcing his decision not to prosecute but said his decision was meant to shield Cosby from prosecution “for all time.”
His successor noted, during the appeal arguments, that Castor went on to say in the press release that he could revisit the decision in the future.
Castor had said that Constand’s case would be difficult to prove in court because she waited a year to come forward and stayed in contact with Bill Cosby.
More about the Agreements
The first jurors who heard the case may have agreed with him, as they could not reach a verdict in 2017. But a second jury empaneled after the #MeToo movement exploded found him guilty at his 2018 retrial. Constand settled her civil case against Cosby for more than $3 million.
Castor’s successor, District Attorney Kevin Steele, charged Cosby in 2015 after a federal judge, acting on a request from The Associated Press, unsealed documents from her 2005 lawsuit against Cosby, revealing his damaging testimony about sexual encounters with Constand and others. Castor has said Cosby “would’ve had to have been nuts to say those things if there was any chance he could’ve been prosecuted.”
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