No obviously doesn’t mean no to Bill Cosby when it comes to the courts. Just over a week before the actor is scheduled to face a Pennsylvania preliminary hearing on a trio of felony second-degree aggravated indecent assault charges that could land him a decade behind bars, Cosby wants the state’s Supreme Court to take that date off the calendar and let him appeal the matter.
“William H. Cosby, Jr. petitions for allowance of an appeal from the Superior Court’s April 25, 2016 order quashing his appeal from the trial court’s summary denial of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus,” says a May 12 petition by The Cosby Show creator over the alleged sexual assault of then-Temple University employee Andrea Constand. “The trial court’s order raised substantial questions of criminal procedure and constitutional law that qualify for immediate appellate review, and the Superior Court’s holding that it lacks jurisdiction to consider those questions is erroneous.”
With that preliminary hearing in Norristown coming up fast, Cosby — who remains free on $1 million bail — essentially is arguing again that because a previous D.A. in Pennsylvania’s Montgomery County promised never to prosecute him back in 2005, the current D.A. has no right to now do so. “Mr. Cosby has a constitutional right to meaningful appellate review, and the Commonwealth’s commitment never to bring this prosecution should be enforced now,” the petition adds.
After trying unsuccessfully in early February to get the case shut down based on the supposed no-prosecution agreement with the former D.A., Cosby and his lawyers on February 12 filed a direct appeal to the Keystone State’s Superior Court to appeal Judge Steven O’Neill’s ruling of February 3 that the Constand case involving the criminal charges could go forward. Not long afterward, current D.A. Kevin Steele filed paperwork asking the higher court to reject Cosby’s appeal attempt until after a trial is completed.
With more than 50 women across the nation claiming that Cosby drugged and assaulted them over the decades, newly elected Steele laid the first criminal charges against the actor at the end of 2015 to beat Pennsylvania’s 12-year statute of limitations for such crimes. Cosby was arraigned December 30 and released on $1 million bail without entering a plea. Constand and Cosby had come to a settlement a decade ago in a civil case — a settlement Cosby now wants back because he says Constand and her attorneys broke the confidentiality agreement of that deal
The PA Superior Court hit the pause button on the criminal matter on March 1, just a week before 78-year-old Cosby was to be in O’Neill’s courtroom for the first preliminary hearing on the charges arising from an alleged 2004 drugging and sexual assault of Constand by Cosby. That stay was lifted late last month when the Superior Court quashed Cosby’s appeal and O’Neill set a new preliminary hearing date.
This comes as Constand’s lawyers today filed a motion today to have Cosby’s case against her, her mother, her attorneys and National Enquirer owner American Media tossed out. The new appeal attempt also comes just days after an L.A. Superior Court judge granted a motion by Cosby’s lawyers to halt Janice Dickinson’s nearly yearlong defamation case against the comedian. Cosby has appealed Judge Debre Weintraub’s ruling of March 29 that allowed the bulk of the former America’s Next Top Model judge’s suit to go forward to a possible trial. Since then, Dickinson’s lawyers also filed an appeal in the case on April 8 in an effort to have ex-Cosby attorney Marty Singer added as a defendant to the case.
Cosby is fighting defamation and other civil cases nationwide stemming from allegations that go back decades. He and his lawyers have tried to have almost all the cases stopped while the criminal charges matter moves forward.
A team of lawyers represents Cosby from L.A., D.C. and Philadelphia led by the actor’s main attorney Christopher Tayback of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP.