PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Suburban prosecutors on Tuesday accused Bill Cosby’s “cadre of high-priced lawyers” of stretching the truth as they try again to get a sexual-assault case against him thrown out.
The two sides have filed dueling legal briefs before a key pretrial hearing next month. The Nov. 1 hearing could determine if the case moves forward, if more accusers testify and whether jurors can hear Cosby’s prior testimony about giving women drugs and alcohol before trying to have sex with them.
Cosby’s lawyers complain it’s unfair to make him defend events from a 2004 sexual encounter. They have argued Cosby, who’s 79 years old and blind, can’t recognize his accusers or even remember if he’s ever met them.
However, Montgomery County prosecutors argued on Tuesday that Cosby, once known as America’s Dad for his beloved portrayal of Dr. Cliff Huxtable on his top-ranked “The Cosby Show” in the 1980s and ’90s, used his fame and fortune “to conceal his crimes” for years.
They said they reopened the case last year because they had new evidence from a long-sealed Cosby deposition from the accuser’s 2006 civil lawsuit and from the dozens of other accusers who came forward after the deposition was released.
“He is an individual who has used his fame and fortune for decades to conceal his crimes and hide his true nature,” District Attorney Kevin Steele wrote, noting Cosby fought repeated efforts by The Associated Press to unseal documents from the civil case file.
Cosby is set to go on trial in June. Prosecutors have asked the judge to let 13 other accusers testify to support Andrea Constand’s claims that Cosby drugged and molested her. The AP typically doesn’t name people who say they are sexual-assault victims, but Constand’s lawyer has given permission for her to be named.
Steele said his office re-investigated the case for six months last year before deciding to file charges on Dec. 30, days before the statute of limitations ran out. Steele’s predecessor spent only a month on the case before deciding not to charge Cosby over Constand’s complaint in 2005, he said in the filing.
Common Pleas Judge Steven T. O’Neill has scheduled hearings on the potential trial evidence for Nov. 1-2 and Dec. 13-14.
Cosby has pleaded not guilty to the felony sexual-assault charge and remains free on $1 million bail.