Former DA says Bill Cosby is shielded from prosecution


Raw: Bill Cosby Arrives for Sex Assault Hearing

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) -; The former district attorney who declined a decade ago to bring sex-crime charges against Bill Cosby testified Tuesday that his decision binds his successors and forever closes the door on prosecuting the comedian.

Former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor took the stand as part of a bid by Cosby's lawyers to get the case against the TV star thrown out because of what they say is a non-prosecution agreement from Castor.

The current district attorney has said there is no record of any such agreement.

Cosby, 78, was arrested and charged in December with drugging and violating former Temple University athletic department employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia mansion in 2004. He could get up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Castor said Tuesday that he believed Constand was violated but that proving it would have been problematic because of serious flaws in the case, and so he declined to bring charges in 2005.

He said that he made the decision as a representative of the state -; as "the sovereign," as he put it, over and over -; and that it would last in perpetuity.

"For all time, yes," Castor said when pressed.

And he suggested that Cosby and his lawyer at the time had the same understanding, because Cosby later agreed to testify without invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in a lawsuit brought against him by Constand.

"Cosby would've had to have been nuts to say those things if there was any chance he could've been prosecuted," Castor said, referring to the damaging testimony unsealed last summer.

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Former DA says Bill Cosby is shielded from prosecution
ELKINS PARK, PA - DECEMBER 30: Comedian Bill Cosby is seen leaving on December 30, 2015 at the District Court in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. Cosby has been charged for aggravated indecent assault for a 2004 incident involving Temple University employee Andrea Constand. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/WireImage)
Former Mrs America Lisa Christie, who alleges misconduct by Bill Cosby, holds up photos of her younger self during a news conference at the law office of attorney Gloria Allred in Los Angeles, September 30, 2015. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Actor and comedian Bill Cosby arrives for a Habeas Corpus hearing on sexual assault charges at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, July 7, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Makela TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Comedian Bill Cosby touches the metal detector after bumping into it as he arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse for a preliminary hearing related to assault charges, May 24, 2016, in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S.. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter/POOL TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
ELKINS PARK, PA - DECEMBER 30: (EDITORS NOTE: Best quality available) In this handout image provided by the Elkins Park, Montgomery County District Attorney's office, William H. Cosby poses for a mugshot photo during his arraignment December 30, 2015 in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. Cosby was arraigned at 2:30 p.m. before Magisterial District Judge Elizabeth McHugh and charged with Aggravated Indecent Assault. Bail was set at $1 million under the condition that he surrender his passport and have no contact with the victim. Cosby was released.after posting $100,000, the required 10 percent of bail. (Photo by Montgomery County District Attorney's Office via Getty Images)
A woman holding a sign that reads "Rape is No Joke" protests as people walk into the Centre In The Square venue where Bill Cosby is performing in Kitchener, January 7, 2015. Bill Cosby, the subject of more than a dozen sex abuse allegations over the past three months, will go ahead with three Canadian shows this week, coming as more women levelled accusations against the comedian. REUTERS/Mark Blinch (CANADA - Tags: CRIME LAW ENTERTAINMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Attorney Gloria Allred (L) speaks accompanied by Actress Lili Bernard (R) announcing allegations against comedian Bill Cosby in New York, May 1, 2015. REUTERS/Darren Ornitz TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
ELKINS PARK, PA - DECEMBER 30: Bill Cosby's home is seen after his arraignment at Montgomery County District Court on sexual assault charges December 30, 2015 in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. Cosby was arraigned at 2:30 p.m. before Magisterial District Judge Elizabeth McHugh charged with Aggravated Indecent Assault. Bail was set at $1 million under the condition that he surrender his passport and have no contact with the victim. Cosby was released after posting the required 10 percent of the bail, $100,000. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)
Actor and comedian Bill Cosby waves to cheering fans while departing a hearing on sexual assault charges at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Makela TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Linda Kirkpatrick, one of three women who allege they were sexually assaulted by comedian Bill Cosby, listens to a question after speaking at a news conference in Los Angeles, California, January 7, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT CRIME LAW TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
ELKINS PARK, PA - DECEMBER 30: Bill Cosby is led from the Cheltenham Police Station after his arraignment at Montgomery County District Court on sexual assault charges December 30, 2015 in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. Cosby was arraigned at 2:30 p.m. before Magisterial District Judge Elizabeth McHugh charged with Aggravated Indecent Assault. Bail was set at $1 million under the condition that he surrender his passport and have no contact with the victim. Cosby was released after posting the required 10 percent of the bail, $100,000. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)
ELKINS PARK, PA - DECEMBER 30: Bill Cosby's home is seen after his arraignment at Montgomery County District Court on sexual assault charges December 30, 2015 in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. Cosby was arraigned at 2:30 p.m. before Magisterial District Judge Elizabeth McHugh charged with Aggravated Indecent Assault. Bail was set at $1 million under the condition that he surrender his passport and have no contact with the victim. Cosby was released after posting the required 10 percent of the bail, $100,000. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)
Bill Cosby leaves his arraignment at Montgomery County District Court in Cheltenham, Pa., on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, after county prosecutors filed sex assault charges against him. (Tom Gralish/Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS via Getty Images)
ELKINS PARK, PA - DECEMBER 30: Comedian Bill Cosby (C) arrives on December 30, 2015 at the District Court in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. Cosby has been charged for aggravated indecent assault for a 2004 incident involving Temple University employee Andrea Constand. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/WireImage)
US comedian Bill Cosby arrives December 30, 2015 to the Court House in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania to face charges of aggravated indecent assault. Cosby was arraigned over an incident that took place in 2004 -- the first criminal charge filed against the actor after dozens of women claimed abuse.AFP PHOTO/KENA BETANCUR / AFP / KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
US comedian Bill Cosby December 30, 2015 at the Court House in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania to face arraignment on charges of aggravated indecent assault. Cosby was arraigned over an incident that took place in 2004 -- the first criminal charge filed against the actor after dozens of women claimed abuse.AFP PHOTO/KENA BETANCUR / AFP / KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
Montgomery County First Assistant District Attorney Kevin Steele speaks during a press conference announcing the indictment of Bill Cosby for alleged sexual assault on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015. At left is Cheltenham Township police Chief John Norris, and at right is Samuel J. Gallen, chief of Montgomery County Detectives. (Alejandro A. Alvarez/Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, DECEMBER 30: Attorney Gloria Allred speaks during a press conference in response to the felony sexual assault charges levied against comedian Bill Cosby stemming from an alleged January 2004 assault of Temple University employee Andrea Constand at Cosby's Pennsylvania home December 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. Allred represents 29 alleged sexual assault victims of Bill Cosby. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
ELKINS PARK, PA - DECEMBER 30: Bill Cosby's home is seen after his arraignment at Montgomery County District Court on sexual assault charges December 30, 2015 in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. Cosby was arraigned at 2:30 p.m. before Magisterial District Judge Elizabeth McHugh charged with Aggravated Indecent Assault. Bail was set at $1 million under the condition that he surrender his passport and have no contact with the victim. Cosby was released after posting the required 10 percent of the bail, $100,000. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)
Actor and comedian Bill Cosby departs the Montgomery County Courthouse after a pre-trial hearing on sexual assault charges in Norristown, Pennsylvania May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Makela TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Attorney Gloria Allred holds a copy of a criminal complaint by Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, during a news conference in Los Angeles, California to comment on the aggravated indecent assault charges filed against comedian Bill Cosby by the Montgomery County, Pennsylvania District Attorney December 30, 2015. Cosby has been charged with felony sexual assault over an incident in 2004 at his Philadelphia-area mansion, a Pennsylvania prosecutor said on Wednesday, in the first criminal case involving the comedian after years of mounting accusations. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Actor and comedian Bill Cosby is helped through the metal detector as he arrives for the first day of his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S. June 5, 2017. REUTERS/David Maialetti/Pool TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Bill Cosby is helped by an aide as he returns into Courtroom A in the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S. September 6, 2016. REUTERS/Michael Bryant/Pool TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
NORRISTOWN, PA - JUNE 5: Bill Cosby arrives with actress Keshia Knight Pulliam (R) at the Montgomery County Courthouse before the opening of the sexual assault trial June 5, 2017 in Norristown, Pennsylvania. A former Temple University employee alleges that the entertainer drugged and molested her in 2004 at his home in suburban Philadelphia. More than 40 women have accused the 79 year old entertainer of sexual assault. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
NORRISTOWN, PA - JUNE 5: Brian McMonagle, an attorney for Bill Cosby, arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse before the opening of the sexual assault trial June 5, 2017 in Norristown, Pennsylvania. A former Temple University employee alleges that the entertainer drugged and molested her in 2004 at his home in suburban Philadelphia. More than 40 women have accused the 79 year old entertainer of sexual assault. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 23: Bill Cosby is escorted to the Allegheny County Courthouse before the second day of jury selection in his sexual assault case on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Andrew Rush - Pool/Getty Images)
NORRISTOWN, PA - JUNE 5: Attorney Gloria Allred arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse before the opening of the sexual assault trial of Bill Cosby June 5, 2017 in Norristown, Pennsylvania. A former Temple University employee alleges that the entertainer drugged and molested her in 2004 at his home in suburban Philadelphia. More than 40 women have accused the 79 year old entertainer of sexual assault. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
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Castor said he hoped, correctly, at the time that the decision not to prosecute would free the comedian to testify in the lawsuit and help Constand win damages. She eventually settled for an undisclosed amount.

The former DA said he "wanted there to be some measure of justice" for Constand, explaining, "I thought making Mr. Cosby pay money was the best I was going to be able to set the stage for."

He added: "I was hopeful that I had made Ms. Constand a millionaire."

He said he relayed word to Cosby's then-attorney, Walter Phillips, that Cosby would not be charged. However, Castor said the two lawyers did not have an actual agreement that Cosby would testify in exchange for not being prosecuted.

Phillips has since died.

Kevin Steele, the newly elected DA who is pursuing the case, has said Cosby would need an immunity agreement in writing to get the case thrown out. He has said he has no evidence one exists.

It was not immediately clear when Common Pleas Judge Steven T. O'Neill would rule.

While Castor was called as witness by Cosby's side, the former DA said he is rooting for the prosecution.

"I'm not on your team here," Castor told Cosby lawyer Brian McMonagle. "I want them to win."

In a barrage of allegations that have destroyed Cosby's image as America's Dad, dozens of women have accused the former TV star of drugging and sexually assaulting them since the 1960s. But this is the only case in which he has been charged.

The unsealing of the testimony from Constand's lawsuit prompted Castor's successors to reopen the case and ultimately charge Cosby.

Cosby admitted in the deposition that he had affairs with young models and actresses, that he obtained Quaaludes to give to women he wanted to have sex with and that he gave Constand three pills at his home. He said he reached into her pants but insisted it was consensual.

Castor defended his decision not to bring charges, testifying that he saw Constand's yearlong delay in reporting the allegations, inconsistencies in her statements and her contact with a lawyer before going to police as problematic.

Castor said Constand's delay was of "enormous significance" in his consideration of the case. He said it thwarted his ability to test her hair or fingernails for evidence she was drugged.

Still, Castor said, he investigated the case thoroughly because he wanted to show authorities in Constand's native Canada that celebrities don't get preferential treatment in America.

Anne Poulin, a law professor at Villanova University, said the defense has a high bar to meet to get the case thrown out early on. But "if they can win without this ever going to trial, then they've done their client a big service."

In related news, a Los Angeles judge ordered Cosby to attend another deposition in a lawsuit filed by a woman who says the comic forced her to perform a sex act on him at the Playboy Mansion around 1974, when she was 15.

Also Tuesday, model Chloe Goins dropped a lawsuit accusing Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting her at the Playboy Mansion in 2008. Goins gave no explanation.

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