Bill Cosby Was Convicted Related to One Rape Victim
Video Transcribed: Why Bill Cosby is free. I’m an attorney in Tulsa, James Wirth and we’re talking about the news that just came out today, June 30th, 2021. That the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has overturned the conviction on Bill Cosby. He is being set free and the question is why is that happening?
Another thing that the court decided was that he can not be re-prosecuted. So this case is over for him. Bill Cosby is going free. A lot of people have been asking why that is. When that question was asked, someone in my office said, “McGirt.” Well, no. McGirt is specially applied in Oklahoma to tribal territories here. It has nothing to do with that, but there is a reason that it occurred and I’m going to explain that to you.
So first off, as far as his incarceration, Bill Cosby was convicted related to one complaining witness, one rape victim. There have been allegations of rape for 50 or 60 different people, but ultimately that was over a period of decades where time has gone by, statute limitations have passed or there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prosecute.
So as far as prosecution, there is the one that resulted in a conviction. I believe it was a 10-year sentence for that, but it’s interesting how it got to that point and that is significant for how it’s now being reversed.
So that allegation goes back to 2004 and it was one of the few that was reported quickly after it occurred. And the may not have been sufficient evidence to prosecute at that time, but it was still under investigation. And the DA had that filed at that point. But the victim, in that case, went ahead and filed a civil action for monetary damages against Bill Cosby and they requested a deposition.
Now under United States jurisprudence, the United States Constitution due process, you’ve got a right not to incriminate yourself. So while there’s a criminal investigation going on, if he is called in for a deposition, Bill Cosby can plead the fifth or refuse to answer any questions. But on the other hand, Bill Cosby wants to avoid criminal charges being filed.
So a deal was worked out between the defense, Bill Cosby’s defense, and the prosecutor, the district attorney in place at that time where they had a non-prosecution agreement. Whereby the DA promised that they would not file criminal charges in an exchange that Bill Cosby would agree to do this deposition without raising his Fifth Amendment rights.
So based on that, Bill Cosby went for the plaintiffs, in that case, had the deposition and he answered reportedly answered truthfully. And in fact, he answered in ways that incriminated himself to a somewhat significant degree. Now that happened back in 2004, 2005, 2006 eras. Ultimately. That civil case was settled in 2006.
It was an undisclosed amount for the settlement, but some agencies, media are reporting it was about three to $4 million for that settlement. And then it went quiet, nothing happened for a while until in more recent times a lot of other victims came forward.
We have the MeToo movement. They keep piling on with additional allegations. And then there was a lot of a desire and motivation to get him prosecuted and of the cases already out of the statute limitations.
But we had this one where he agreed to a civil settlement where we’ve got a victim who is willing to testify, we just have this pesky non-prosecution agreement. But by then it was another prosecutor in place and they decided that they were going to push forward anyway.
And then not only that, but they’re going to use the testimony from the deposition that was only given in exchange for the immunity or the non-prosecution. So once that was filed, obviously, the defense for Bill Cosby made an issue of that, tried to get it dismissed. The trial court judge decided against it, an appellate judge decided against it.
But today the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed those lower rulings. Found that the non-prosecution agreement is enforceable and that the evidence obtained through that deposition is not proper evidence. And therefore, the conviction is overturned and it’s reversed, but it’s not reversed for a new prosecution.
It is reversed with instructions to dismiss because the court is finding that the non-prosecution agreement is valid and enforceable. And therefore, the state of Pennsylvania cannot prosecute Bill Cosby for that offense and that is why he is being released.
If you’ve got questions about criminal procedure in an interesting case, you’re not going to want to just take a video for that. You’re going to want to talk to an attorney specifically about your circumstances and do so confidentially. To get that scheduled with somebody in my office, you go online to makelaweasy.com.