By Associated Press
But prosecutors call that conclusion flawed. They note that Cosby’s lawyers objected strenuously to the deposition questions rather than let him speak freely.
Cosby himself has never testified about any agreement or promise. The only alleged participant to come forward is Castor, a political rival of Steele’s who went on to represent President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial. Castor said he made the promise to a now-dead defense lawyer for Cosby, and got nothing in return.
He never mentioned it to his top assistant, who reopened the case in 2015 after a federal judge unsealed Cosby’s deposition.
At a remarkable pretrial hearing in February 2016, Castor spent hours testifying for the defense. The judge found him not credible and sent the case to trial.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in its ruling, called Cosby’s arrest “an affront to fundamental fairness.”
Weeks later, the ruling prompted the state attorney general to dismiss charges against a jail guard accused of sexually abusing female inmates, because of an earlier agreement with county prosecutors that let him resign rather than face charges.
Cosby, a groundbreaking Black actor and comedian, created the top-ranked “Cosby Show” in the 1980s. A barrage of sexual assault allegations later destroyed his image as “America’s Dad” and led to multimillion-dollar court settlements with at least eight women. But Constand’s case was the only one to lead to criminal charges.
Five of Cosby’s accuser’s testified for the prosecution to support Constand’s claims, testimony that Cosby’s lawyers also challenged on appeal. However, the state’s high court declined to address the thorny issue of how many other accusers should be allowed to take the stand in a criminal case before the testimony becomes overkill.
In a recent memoir , Constand called the verdict less important than the growing support for sexual assault survivors inspired by the #MeToo movement.
“The outcome of the trial seemed strangely unimportant. It was as if the world had again shifted in some much more significant way,” Constand wrote in the book, “The Moment.”
The Associated Press generally does not name alleged victims of sexual assault unless they speak publicly, as Constand has done.
Cheryl Carmel, who served as jury foreperson at Cosby’s retrial, said she was glad to see Steele ask for the review.
“I firmly believe that what we decided was correct, or else I wouldn’t have made that decision … with the group. Having it overturned because of something that was outside of the facts of what we were given is disappointing,” Carmel told The AP on Monday.