The Cosby Ruling: Some Legal Analysts Dispute the Court’s Reasoning
Certainly, there are lawyers who agree with him and applaud the court’s 6-1 decision, a notable consensus on a difficult issue. They believe it delivered a strong message about prosecutors’ overbreadth – about district attorneys sticking to the promises they make, even if those promises were misguided. “They understood the due process violation very well because what Castor did was essentially a promise,” said David Rudovsky, defense attorney and senior researcher at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.
But the “promise” remains a subject of controversy.
Castor said that while he believed Constand’s account, she damaged his credibility as a complainant by waiting a year to report Cosby and continuing to have contact with him after the alleged assault. He said he decided he couldn’t get a conviction, so he made the promise, he said, as a tactic to get Constand a measure of justice in the civil case.
But the promise was never written. The prosecutor who led the Cosby investigation with Castor, his chief deputy, Risa Vetri Ferman, said he never spoke to her about it. Castor pointed to a press release he issued announcing the end of the criminal investigation as proof of the existence of an immunity deal. But the press release made no mention of immunity. He mentions the planned civil case.
Daniel Filler, dean of Drexel University’s Kline School of Law, said the question was whether the average person would have benefited from the doubt Cosby did. “Because there is no documentation that this promise was made, only this public statement that doesn’t exactly match what Castor said,” he said.
Castor said he informed one of Cosby’s attorneys at the time of his plan to offer Cosby immunity. But the attorney, Walter Phillips, was dead by the time the pledge became an issue, and Cosby was indicted in 2015. Another of Cosby’s attorneys in the original case, John Schmitt, testified that Phillips did so. had spoken.
Castor said he also discussed the immunity deal at the time with Constand’s lawyers. The two lawyers, Dolores M. Troiani and Bebe H. Kivitz, denied this.
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