Prosecutors asked the US Supreme Court to review the ruling that overturned Bill Cosby’s conviction, arguing in a petition Monday that a decision announced in a press release does not grant the defendant lifetime immunity.
Prosecutors said the ruling could set a dangerous precedent if convictions for dubious closed-door deals are overturned. They have also complained that the chief judge of Pennsylvania’s superior court appeared to misrepresent key facts of the case when he discussed the court’s ruling overturning Cosby’s conviction in a television interview.
“The United States Supreme Court can correct what we believe to be a grave error,” Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele wrote in the petition, which seeks a Supreme Court review under the due process clause. the United States constitution.
Cosby’s attorneys have long argued that he relied on a promise that he would never be charged when he gave damaging testimony in an accuser’s civil lawsuit in 2006.
Subsequently, the admissions were used against him in two criminal trials.
The only written evidence of such a promise is a 2005 press release from then-prosecutor Bruce Castor, who said he did not have sufficient evidence to arrest Cosby.
The statement included an ambiguous “warning” that Castor “will reconsider this decision if the need arises.” Since then, the parties have spent years debating what that meant.
Castor’s successors, who gathered new evidence and arrested Cosby in 2015, say he has not reached a lifetime immunity deal. They also doubt that Castor ever made such a deal. Instead, they say Cosby had strategic reasons for giving the deposition rather than invoking his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, even if it backfired when he “slipped” in his inconsistent testimony.
However, defense attorneys say the case should never have gone to trial because of what they call a “non-prosecution agreement.”
Cosby, 84, became the first celebrity convicted of sexual assault in the #MeToo era when the jury at his 2018 retrial found him guilty of drugging and sexually abusing college sports administrator Andrea Constand in 2004.
He spent nearly three years in prison before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court released him in June.
Steele’s bid to revive the case is a long shot. The Supreme Court of the United States accepts less than 1% of the petitions it receives. However, legal academics and victim advocates will be watching closely to see if the court is interested in a high-profile #MeToo case.
Two court judges, Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh, were charged with sexual misconduct during the confirmation hearings they bitterly held.
Cosby, an innovative black actor and comedian, created the premier Cosby Show in the 1980s. A barrage of sexual assault allegations later destroyed his image as America’s father and led to multi-million dollar court settlements with at least eight women. But Constand’s was the only case that resulted in criminal charges.
Five of them testified for the prosecution to support Constand’s claims, testimony that Cosby’s attorneys also challenged on appeal. However, the state’s superior court declined to address the thorny issue of how many other prosecutors can testify in criminal cases before the evidence becomes unfair to the defense.
In a recent report, Constand said the verdict is less important than the growing support for survivors of sexual assault inspired by the #MeToo movement.
“The outcome of the trial seemed strangely unimportant. It was as if the world had changed again in a much more significant way, ”Constand wrote in the book The Moment.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism