The sexual assault case involving famed entertainer and TV star Bill Cosby has been put on hold, at least temporarily, while a Pennsylvania appeals court determines whether the charges should be dismissed prior to commencement of trial.
The postponement, which had been requested by Cosby’s legal team, was granted by the Pennsylvania Superior Court just days before a preliminary “probable cause” hearing was scheduled to begin. Now an appeals court will consider whether it ought to formally hear Cosby’s appeal before the start of the trial.
Cosby has been accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a Temple University employee in 2004. According to prosecutors in the case, the rape occurred at Cosby’s then-residence in suburban Philadelphia.
A major point of contention for Cosby’s defense attorneys – and the basis for the pre-trial appeal – is an alleged promise made by a former district attorney in the case. Sometime after Andrea Constand, the alleged victim, came forward with the rape allegations, she also filed a civil lawsuit. In order to get Cosby to agree to provide a deposition in the civil case, the district attorney at the time reportedly promised Cosby that there would be no criminal charges forthcoming.
The current district attorney does not believe that any such promise was made or would be enforceable in any event, so he reopened the criminal case against Cosby in 2015 and ultimately decided to move ahead with charges. The criminal charges were filed in December 2015, mere weeks before the statute of limitations would have expired. This has been an issue in dozens of other potential rape allegations against Cosby: prosecutors were unable to move forward because too much time had lapsed since the alleged sex crimes took place.
The stakes are incredibly high for the 78-year-old Cosby. If the case goes to trial and he is convicted on the very serious charges of felony indecent assault, he could be sentenced to 5-10 years in state prison.
While the charges are pending, Cosby is free on a massive $1 million bail amount.
If you or a loved one has been accused of rape, sexual assault, criminal sexual contact or any other sex crime in New Jersey, the aggressive criminal defense attorneys at Rudnick, Addonizio, Pappa & Casazza PC can help you fight the charges. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.