Prosecutors ask U.S. Supreme Court to review Cosby ruling
PHILADELPHIA — Prosecutors asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday to reinstate Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction, complaining the verdict was thrown out over a questionable agreement that the comic claimed gave him lifetime immunity.
They said the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision in June to overturn Cosby’s conviction created a dangerous precedent by giving a news release the legal weight of an immunity agreement.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele called the court’s decision “an indefensible rule,” predicting an onslaught of criminal appeals if it is allowed to stand.
“This decision as it stands will have far-reaching negative consequences beyond Montgomery County and Pennsylvania. The U.S. Supreme Court can right what we believe is a grievous wrong,” Steele wrote in the petition, which seeks review under the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Damaging testimony: Cosby’s lawyers have long argued he relied on a promise that he would never be charged when he gave damaging testimony in an accuser’s civil suit in 2006. The admissions were later used against him in two criminal trials.
The only written evidence of such a promise is a 2005 news release from the then-prosecutor, Bruce Castor, who said he did not have enough evidence to arrest Cosby.
The release included an ambiguous “caution” that Castor “will reconsider this decision should the need arise.” The parties have since spent years debating what that meant.
Steele’s bid to revive the case is a long shot. The U.S. Supreme Court accepts fewer than 1% of the petitions it receives. At least four justices on the nine-member court would have to agree to hear the case. A decision is not expected for several months.
Castor’s successors, who gathered new evidence and arrested Cosby in 2015, doubt Castor ever made such a deal.
Cosby himself has never testified about any agreement or promise.
Cosby, 84, was found guilty of drugging and molesting Andrea Constand in 2004. He spent nearly three years in prison before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court freed him in June.