Bill Cosby's latest efforts to get criminal charges tossed are denied

Bill Cosby's repeated efforts to get criminal sexual-assault charges against him thrown out were dealt another blow Wednesday, when a Pennsylvania judge denied two of his motions to dismiss.

In documents filed in Montgomery County outside Philadelphia, Judge Steven O'Neill denied Cosby's motion to dismiss the charges based on "deprivation of due process rights."  Cosby argues his rights have been violated because a previous district attorney promised years ago he would not be prosecuted.

O'Neill also denied Cosby's motion for a hearing during which his lawyers planned to question the "competency" of other women who have accused him of sexual assault over the last five decades. And O'Neill said no to Cosby's request for a behind-closed-doors hearing to question these potential witnesses.

But Cosby's effort to suppress a damaging 2005 deposition, in which he acknowledged obtaining drugs to give to women he sought for sex, is still up in the air. O'Neill said in the documents filed Wednesday that his findings on that point will be issued in advance of more hearings in the Cosby case set for Dec. 13 and 14.

Those hearings will also deal with the question of whether the 13 other accusers can testify at the trial.

Cosby is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault in connection with an encounter with former Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his house in suburban Philadelphia in 2004. Cosby says the encounter was consensual; Constand says he drugged her and molested her.

More than a decade later, five dozen other women have come forward to accuse Cosby of drugging and/or raping them in episodes dating back to the 1960s. District Attorney Kevin Steele, who filed the charges against Cosby in December 2015, wants to call up to 13 of these other accusers to testify at a trial next year to highlight Cosby's alleged prior history of bad acts.

Cosby's lawyers have been fighting to toss the charges for months in multiple hearings before O'Neill, the latest on Nov. 1 and 2. The 79-year-old former entertainment icon argues that the charges are too old, that he was promised protection from prosecution, that the testimony of other accusers would be prejudicial, and that his poor eyesight (he says he's blind) would make it impossible for him to recognize witnesses and remember events from decades past.

None of his lawyers' arguments have been persuasive to O'Neill, who has set a trial for no later than June 2017.

Still pending is whether a deposition he agreed to give in a civil suit that Constand filed against him in 2005 can be used as evidence against him at the trial. Cosby's other accusers have said the deposition shows Cosby's alleged "pattern" in encounters with women he sought for sex.

Steele has cited the deposition, parts of which were released in the summer of 2015, as "new" evidence against Cosby that spurred the charges against him — the only criminal charges so far.

“The judge’s rulings today get us one step closer to presenting our evidence at trial and furthers our pursuit of justice for the victim in our case,” Steele said in a prepared statement.

Cosby's lead lawyer, Brian McMonagle, has yet responded to the judge's rulings.


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