Bill Cosby’s prosecutors are asking the US Supreme Court to review the decision to overturn the conviction for sexual assault

Prosecutors have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the verdict that overturned comedian Bill Cosby’s verdict of sexual assault, arguing in a petition Monday that a decision not to prosecute announced in a media release does not confer a defendant’s lifetime immunity.

Prosecutors said the ruling could set a dangerous precedent if convictions are overturned over questionable closed-door agreements.

Cosby, 84, became the first celebrity to be convicted of sexual assault in the MeToo era when the jury at his 2018 court case found him guilty of drugging and abusing Andrea Constand, a Canadian women’s basketball administrator, in January 2004. He almost spent three years in prison before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court released him in June.

The petition calls the decision a “gross error”

“This decision, as it stands, will have far-reaching negative consequences beyond Montgomery County and Pennsylvania. The U.S. Supreme Court can correct what we believe is a serious misdemeanor,” Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele wrote in the petition calling for a Supreme Court . review under the Fair Trial Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Cosby’s lawyers have long claimed he relied on a promise that he would never be charged when he testified maliciously in a prosecutor’s civil case in 2006.

The concessions were later used against him in two criminal cases.

The only written evidence of such a promise is a 2005 media release from the then prosecutor, Bruce Castor, who said he did not have enough evidence to arrest Cosby.

The release contained an ambiguous “warning” that Castor “will reconsider this decision should the need arise.” The parties have since spent years discussing what that meant.

Castor’s successors, who gathered new evidence and arrested Cosby in 2015, say it is far from a lifetime immunity deal. They also doubt that Castor has ever entered into such an agreement. Instead, they say Cosby had strategic reasons to give the landfill instead of invoking its fifth amendment the right to remain silent, even though it backfired when “he slipped up” in his elaborate testimony.

Defense attorneys, however, say the case should never have been in court because of what they call a “non-prosecution agreement.”

The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, DC, has been asked to review the ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which saw Cosby released from prison in early June. (Jose Luis Magana / The Associated Press)

Review of bids is considered a long shot

Steele’s attempt to revive the case is a long shot. The U.S. Supreme Court accepts less than one percent of the petitions it receives. However, legal scholars and advocates for victims will follow closely to see if the court is interested in a high-profile MeToo case.

Two judges at the court, Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh, were charged with sexual misconduct during their bitterly-fought confirmation hearings.

Appellate judges have expressed sharply different views on the Cosby case. An interlocutory court upheld the verdict. Then the seven judges of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court wrote three separate statements about it.

The majority found that Cosby trusted the decision not to prosecute him when he admitted to having given a strip of young women drugs and alcohol before sexual encounters. The court stopped finding that there was such an agreement, but said Cosby believed there was – that confidence, they said, tarnished his conviction.

But prosecutors call that conclusion erroneous. They note that Cosby’s lawyers protested vehemently against the landfill issues instead of letting him speak freely.

Cosby has never even witnessed any agreement or promise. The only alleged contender to show up is Castor, a political rival to Steele, who went on to represent former President Donald Trump in his second state court case. Castor said he made the promise to a now-dead defense attorney for Cosby, and got nothing in return.

He never mentioned it to top assistant Risa Ferman, who led his Cosby investigation.

She later became a district attorney and reopened the case in 2015 after a federal judge overturned Cosby’s deposit.

At a remarkable court hearing in February 2016, Castor spent hours testifying for the defense. He said he himself wrote the media release after office hours and intended it to convey different opinions to lawyers, the media and the public.

The judge did not find him credible and sent the case to court.

Andrea Constand, left, responds to a press conference with prosecutor Kristen Feden after Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years for sexual assault on September 25, 2018 in Norristown, Pa. He was found guilty of drugging and abusing Constand in January 2004. (Matt Slocum / The Associated Press)

‘A violation of justice’

In its decision of June 30, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court called Cosby’s arrest “a violation of fundamental justice.”

Weeks later, the ruling prompted the state attorney to dismiss charges against a prison officer accused of sexually abusing female inmates because of a previous agreement with county prosecutors that allowed him to resign instead of being charged.

Cosby, a groundbreaking Black actor and comedian, created Cosby Show in the 1980’s. A barrage of allegations of sexual assault later ruined his image as “America’s father” and led to a multi-million dollar lawsuit with at least eight women. But Constands was the only case that led to criminal charges.

Five of these women testified before the prosecution to support Constand’s allegations, testimony that Cosby’s lawyers also challenged on appeal. However, the state Supreme Court refused to address the difficult question of how many other prosecutors can testify in criminal cases before the evidence becomes unfair to the defense.

In a recent memoir, Constand called the verdict less important than the growing support for survivors of sexual assault inspired by the MeToo movement.

“The outcome of the trial seemed strangely indifferent. It was as if the world had changed again in a much more significant way,” Constand wrote in the book. The moment.

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