Montgomery County DA Kevin Steele previously said he would not try the case against Bill Cosby “in the court of public opinion.” Apparently, hechanged his mind.
Steele released a detailed statement bashing Cosby’s claims of a “non-proscution agreement” this week after filing a response in court to a motionCosby’s legal team filed to dismiss sex assault charges against the disgraced entertainer.
Cosby is “seeking to distract from the allegations against him by attacking the District Attorney’s Office,” Steele claimed in the statement.
“The defendant contends that a former District Attorney granted him immunity or a promise not to prosecute … Only a judge may issue a grant of immunity, which was not done in 2005 or since,” Steele continued.
Cosby is charged with aggravated indecent assault related to a 2004 incident at Cosby’s mansion just outside Philadelphia. Under the FBI guidelines for sexual offenses, the incident would technically qualify as rape.
Former Montgomery County DA Bruce Castor has said he promised Cosby’s former lawyer, who is now dead, that he would not charge Cosby if he agreed to testify in a civil lawsuit about the alleged sex assault without invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Cosby’s testimony then became the central basis for a criminal complaint filed by Steele’s office charging him with sex assault.
Most defense attorneys agree that this apparent off-the-record agreement between lawyers would not be legally binding for Steele,but the agreement still raises thorny legal questions.
Steele also bashed Cosby’s claims that his arraignment on Dec. 30 was too long (nearly a decade)after the incident, his request that Steele recusehimself from the prosecution, and claimed Cosby is trying to get “special treatment” in having pretrial motions heard before a preliminary hearing takes place.
Judge Elizabeth McHugh has already agreed to reschedule Cosby’s court date for pretrial motions to Feb. 2. with his preliminary hearing delayed to an unspecified future date.
Castor is set to testify on the non-prosecution agreement at the Feb. 2 hearing.