Prosecutors asked the US Supreme Court to restore Bill Cosby's sexual assault conviction, saying the verdict was thrown out over a questionable agreement that the comic claimed gave him lifetime immunity.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision to overturn Cosby's conviction created a dangerous precedent by giving a press release the legal weight of an immunity agreement.
Kevin Steele, the Montgomery County District Attorney, predicted an onslaught of criminal appeals if the court's decision is allowed to stand.
This decision will have far-reaching negative consequences beyond Montgomery County and Pennsylvania. Steele wrote in the petition that the U.S. Supreme Court can correct what they think is a grievous wrong.
Cosby relied on a promise that he wouldn't be charged when he gave damaging testimony in an accuser's civil suit, his lawyers argue. The admissions were used against him in two trials.
There is only a 2005 press release from the then-prosecutor, Bruce Castor, who said he did not have enough evidence to arrest Cosby.
The release said that the decision would be reconsidered should the need arise. The parties have debated what that meant for years.
Steele has a long shot of reviving the case. The Supreme Court accepts less than 1% of petitions. Four justices on the court would have to agree to hear the case. A decision is not expected for a while.
The successors of Castor doubt that he ever made such a deal. They say that Cosby had strategic reasons to give the deposition, even if it backfired when he said that he had been unfaithful.
Cosby's spokesman called Steele "obsessed" with the actor and said his goal was to please the MeToo mob. The case should never have gone to trial because of the non-prosecution agreement, according to defense lawyers.
This is a last-ditch effort that won't work. Andrew Wyatt said that the fixation with Mr. Cosby is troubling to say the least.
The jury at Cosby's re trial found him guilty of drugging and molesting a college sports administrator in 2004.
He was freed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in June after spending nearly three years in prison.
Legal scholars and victim advocates will be watching to see if the court takes an interest in the case.
The confirmation hearings of two justices on the court, Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavahn, were bitterly fought.
The judges on the appeals court differed on the case. The conviction was upheld by an intermediate state court. The justices on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court wrote separate opinions on it.
The majority found that the decision not to prosecute Cosby was based on the fact that he admitted to giving drugs and alcohol to women before sex. The court stopped short of finding that there was an agreement, but they said it was a factor in his conviction.
Prosecutors say that conclusion is flawed. The deposition questions were objected to strenuously by Cosby's lawyers.
Cosby has never testified about an agreement or promise. The only person who has come forward is a political rival of Steele who went on to represent President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial. He said he made a promise to the dead defense lawyer that he wouldn't get anything in return.
He never mentioned it to Risa Ferman.
She reopened the case after the deposition of Cosby was made public.
In February of 2016 Castor spent hours testifying for the defense. He said he typed out the press release himself after work and intended it to convey different meanings to the lawyers, the press and the public.
The case was sent to trial after the judge found him not credible.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court found Cosby's arrest to be an insult to fundamental fairness.
The state attorney general dropped the charges against the jail guard because of an earlier agreement with the county prosecutors.
The top-ranked Cosby Show was created in the 1980s by Cosby. His image as "America's Dad" was destroyed by a series of sexual assault allegations and he was forced to pay millions of dollars in court settlements. The only other case that resulted in criminal charges was that of Constand.
The testimony that Cosby's lawyers challenged on appeal was one of the five that testified for the prosecution. The state high court did not address the issue of how many other accusers can testify in criminal cases before the evidence becomes unfair to the defense.
In her memoir, Constand said the verdict was less important than the growing support for sexual assault survivors.
The outcome of the trial seemed unimportant. It was as if the world had shifted in a more significant way.
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