Bill Cosby’s preliminary evidentiary hearing is scheduled for March 8 after Judge Steven T. O’Neill rejected Cosby’s motion to dismiss the 2004 sexual assault case in his pretrial hearing in Norristown, the Inquirer reported.
Former Temple employee Andrea Constand alleged that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in his Cheltenham mansion more than 10 years ago. The case was reopened in December 2015, just before the 12-year statute of limitations was set to run out.
The preliminary hearing was originally scheduled for Feb. 2, but was postponed following a Sept. 23, 2015 email from Bruce L. Castor Jr., a member of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, to then-District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman, the Inquirer previously reported. Castor said in the email that he struck a deal with Cosby to never criminally prosecute him for the 2004 allegations.
Castor testified at the time that there was not sufficient evidence to support Constand’s claims. The two-day hearing reviewed Castor’s 2005 agreement and other arguments on the new defense.
Kevin Steele, the current district attorney, said the agreement was not binding as it was not in writing, the Inquirer reported. O’Neill denied the motion to disqualify Steele, requested by Cosby’s attorneys.
O’Neill also said if the case moves toward a trial, Cosby’s attorneys could “move to suppress” Cosby’s deposition for 2006 in which he said he obtained Quaalude in the 1970s “to give to women he wanted to have sex with,” the Associated Press previously reported. The deposition has been a key element in the proceedings thus far.
Castor said there were inconsistencies in Constand’s statements from 2005 and scrutinized the timing of her complaint, the Inquirer reported. He also said when he made the non-prosecution agreement with Cosby, he believed he “had the power to make such a statement” for his successors.
Constand attorneys have denied they were aware of or entered into this agreement, and Constand has filed a defamation suit against Castor for his claims, the Inquirer reported.
However, CNN reported that Castor may have differing personal feelings outside the legal processes.
“I’m not on your team,” Castor said to Cosby’s attorneys. “I want them to win.”
Constand was not present at the hearing, but her attorney, Dolores Troiani, testified in her place.
Troiani said Cosby’s attorneys wanted Constand to agree to “never cooperate in a criminal investigation” against him. Constand agreed not to “initiate further investigation of her claims,” but was able to cooperate with law enforcement if contacted, the Inquirer reported.
Dozens of other women have also alleged that Cosby drugged and/or sexually assaulted them, but for many, the claims were made after the statute of limitations ran out.
If convicted, Cosby is facing five to 10 years in prison.