At the pretrial hearing today, the Montgomery County D.A.’s office introduced a motion to have 13 of those women as witnesses in the criminal case against Cosby. While over 50 women have come forward in the last few years to accuse Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting them, this case in the Keystone State is the lone criminal case against the actor. However, Cosby is facing a number of defamation and other civil cases in states like California and Massachusetts, where the statute of limitations have expired. D.A. Kevin Steele referred to investigating the claims against Cosby by other women a “herculean task” in court today.
Herculean or not, the judge made clear Tuesday that he wants to see the PA criminal case started as soon as possible. “This case now 252 days from filing of criminal complaints,” said Judge Steven O’Neill to the courtroom today. “There is a right to a speedy trial,” he added, telling the attorneys on both sides to be “expeditious” with proposing evidence and discovery in the matter. However, O’Neill declined to give a trial date today. “We’re not going to call this case for trial,” the judge said. “I don’t see that there is any unreasonable delay.” That may hit a road bump as one of Cosby’s main lawyers Brian McMonagle has indicated to the court he might not be able to participate until next June.
Today’s hearing also saw Cosby’s lawyers introduce a slew of motions including one to suppress a telephone call of over a decade ago between the comedian and the mother of the his alleged victim Constand over the alleged assault. Cosby’s side say the call from Canada was illegally taped under Pennsylvania law even though actor was actually in California when he spoke to Constand’s mother. The senior Constand “was perfectly permitted to record phone call in Canada,” O’Neill said after listening to argument from both sides in his courtroom.
Facing criminal charges in the state for the sexual assault of Constand in 2004, Cosby has been unsuccessful in his various attempts to get the case by the Montgomery County D.A. office tossed out, halted or reassessed. On July 7, the last time Cosby was in the suburban Philadelphia courthouse, Judge O’Neill ruled to deny the habeas corpus in the case of Cosby’s alleged drugging and rape of the then-Temple University employee. On August 12, the state judge quashed another legal maneuver by Cosby’s team to stop the matter from going to trial later this year.
Newly elected Montgomery County D.A. Kevin Steele kept a campaign promise and laid the criminal charges against Cosby right at the end of 2015 to beat the state’s 12-year statute of limitations for such crimes. Cosby was arraigned December 30 and released on $1 million bail without entering a plea.
When the then D.A. declined to press criminal charges back in 2005, Constand and Cosby came to a settlement in 2006 in a civil case — a settlement Cosby opened a case in federal court on February 1 against Constand, her mother, her former attorneys and the parent company of the National Enquirer over claims that they broke the confidentiality agreement around the 2006 deal.
After numerous motions, counter-claims and potential discovery in that matter,Cosby voluntarily dismissed the action without prejudice on July 28. Ostensibly the motivation was to focus on the criminal case – with the new lawyers he had brought onboard.
Source: Deadline-Max Marin contributed to this report.