Prosecutors in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial next year will be able to use testimony he gave during depositions for an accuser’s lawsuit, a judge ruled Monday.
Attorneys for Cosby, 78, claim that he only agreed to testify in the 2005 lawsuit brought by Andrea Constand because a prior prosecutor had promised him that he would never be prosecuted, but in his ruling Monday, Judge Steven T. O’Neill concluded that no such promise ever existed, Philly.com reports.
“This court concludes that there was neither an agreement nor a promise not to prosecute, only an exercise of prosecutorial discretion,” O’Neill wrote.
As Philly.com notes, that ruling hands a major victory to Montgomery County, Pa., District Attorney Kevin R. Steele, who cited Cosby’s deposition as a reason to reopen the investigation into Constand’s allegations.
The investigation led to Cosby being charged last year with sexually assaulting Constand.
The deposition, which was unsealed for the first time last year, was taken during the litigation of Constand’s lawsuit against Cosby. That case was later settled for an undisclosed amount.
In the deposition, Cosby acknowledges giving young women drugs or alcohol in past sexual encounters; many of the women Cosby named in the deposition have since claimed that he drugged and abused them.
In a transcript edited for brevity and published by the Washington Post, Cosby describes the sexual encounter that happened between him and Constand after he had given her three pills:
Q: So, you’re not telling us that you verbally asked her for permission?
A: I didn’t say it verbally, I said. The action is my hand on her midriff, which is skin. I’m not lifting any clothing up. This is, I don’t remember fully what it is, but it’s there and I can feel. I got her skin and it’s just above the hand and it’s just above where you can go under the pants.
Q: Then what happens?
A: I don’t hear her say anything. And I don’t feel her say anything. And so I continue and I go into the area that is somewhere between permission and rejection. I am not stopped.
In case you need a translation, that is Mr. Cosby admitting to having a nonconsensual sexual encounter with someone he gave drugs to first.
Another pretrial hearing scheduled for next week will determine whether or not Steele will be able to call 13 of Cosby’s more than 50 other accusers to the stand in support of Constand’s testimony.
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