The United States Supreme Court quietly decided Monday that it will not hear Bill Cosby’s sexual assault case, ending a two-decade legal saga that transformed the cultural landscape, ruined the trailblazing Black actor’s career, and led him to jail for many years late in life.
Without comment, the high court declined to examine a shocking Pennsylvania judgment that freed Cosby from jail in June on the word of a former prosecutor who said he made a secret pledge to Cosby’s attorneys that he would never be charged.
On behalf of Cosby and his family, a Cosby representative expressed “sincere appreciation to the justices” for the news, saying he was the victim of “a terrible bait and switch” by the district attorney and judge in the case.
“This is a true triumph for Mr. Cosby, but it demonstrates that cheating will never get you far in life,” spokeswoman Andrew Wyatt said in a statement, pointing the finger at the court authorities in suburban Philadelphia once again, as he had done during both criminal cases.
Despite being legally blind, the 84-year-old Cosby, according to Wyatt, is in good condition. “Many people are requesting projects for him,” Wyatt said, adding that he is considering a last standup tour.
Even though it was a long shot, District Attorney Kevin Steele of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, said that requesting the high court to reopen the case “was the appropriate thing to do.” Andrea Constand, the accuser, was complimented for her bravery, and he wished her well.
The ruling was a “unfortunate conclusion for everyone, especially sexual assault survivors,” according to Constand and her attorneys in a statement. The existence of the agreement or pledge was “heavily contested in the (court) habeus procedures, and decided by the trial judge not to exist,” they said.
In the case, Cosby never signed an immunity deal. Bruce L. Castor Jr., Steele’s predecessor, never put anything in writing or notified anybody in his office about it. He never discussed it in public until a decade later, when fresh evidence surfaced and the case was reopened.
He claimed he struck the arrangement with a Cosby lawyer who had died at the time.
“A secret deal that allows a wealthy defendant to buy his way out of a criminal charge isn’t acceptable,” Steele argued in court in 2016, urging the case to go to trial.
Castor’s evidence on the subject was considered to be untrustworthy by Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill, who ordered the matter to proceed to trial. Regardless of whether the alleged contract was unbreakable or not, the state Supreme Court eventually decided that Cosby believed it was when he delivered eye-popping — and possibly damaging — testimony in a case later filed by Constand.
Justice David N. Wecht said last year, ordering Cosby’s immediate release after almost three years in jail, that “the idea of basic fairness that underpins due process of law in our criminal justice system mandates that the promise be implemented.”
During the deposition in 2006, a seemingly rambunctious To questioning from Constand’s attorneys, Cosby made extensive, rambling responses. Over the years, he revealed his sexual relationships with a number of young ladies, some of whom were still in their teens. And he remembered delivering booze or medications to some of them, including Constand, when he was still clean.
“I don’t hear anything she says.” And I’m not hearing anything from her. So I keep going, and I get to the point where I’m midway between permission and rejection. In the deposition, Cosby described a sexual encounter that occurred after he gave her three tension pills, which she said knocked her unconscious.
On Dec. 30, 2015, he was arrested in the Constand case, just days before the 12-year statute of limitations expired. After The Associated Press went to federal court to unseal Cosby’s long-buried testimony in Constand’s complaint, Steele reopened the case.
After four days of defamatory testimony, Cosby agreed to pay her $3.4 million to resolve the complaint.
In June 2017, he went on trial for the criminal matter. The jury was unable to make a decision. A second jury convicted Cosby of drugging and assaulting Constand less than a year later, after media stories about media mogul Harvey Weinstein’s sexual mistreatment of women sparked the #MeToo movement.
The Associated Press does not usually name persons who claim to have been sexual assault victims unless they provide their consent. Constand, who is now a survivor of sexual assault, has done so.
Hundreds of women have come forward to claim that Cosby sexually assaulted them as well, but Constand’s case is the only one that has resulted in an arrest. Despite Cosby’s desires, his insurance resolved a Massachusetts case involving seven claimants for an unknown sum following his conviction in 2018. At least two more cases against the actor are still ongoing.
Castor later defended former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial, in which Trump was acquitted of instigating the violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
In 2005, Castor claimed he declined to arrest Cosby because he thought both parties “may be portrayed in a less than favourable light.” Castor was eventually sued for slander, and Constand was successful in getting a payment from him. Constand countersued Castor, but the judge dismissed the case.