Bill Cosby‘s lawyers say recent criminal charges filed against him in Pennsylvania violate a prosecutor’s pledge he would never be charged over a 2004 encounter with former Temple University employee (and Canadian) Andrea Constand.
The defence team said Monday the agreement not to file charges prompted Cosby to testify in a related civil lawsuit without invoking his Fifth Amendment rights.
WATCH: Bill Cosby makes no comment as he departs Pennsylvania courthouse
A prosecutor filed felony sexual-assault charges against Cosby last month in part because of statements the Cosby Show star made in that deposition.
The defence lawyers accuse the newly elected prosecutor of playing politics with the case to win election. They want Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele’s office removed from the case if the charges aren’t dropped. Steele hasn’t returned a message seeking comment.
The woman at the centre of the case is Andrea Constand, a Toronto massage therapist who was a Temple University employee in Pennsylvania at the time of the alleged assault.
She told police that Cosby drugged her and violated her by putting his hands down her pants at his mansion in suburban Philadelphia in 2004, but no charges were initially laid.
Prosecutors accused him of plying Constand with pills and wine, then penetrating her with his fingers without her consent, while she was drifting in and out of consciousness, unable to resist or cry out.
She was “frozen, paralyzed, unable to move,” said Montgomery County District Attorney-elect Kevin Steele.
In court documents, prosecutors said the drugs were the cold medicine Benadryl or some other, unidentified substance.
Prosecutors also said there are probably other women who were similarly drugged and violated by Cosby. Steele urged them to come forward as well.
The charge was laid just days before the 12-year statute of limitations for bringing charges was set to run out.
Cosby had acknowledged under oath a decade ago that he had sexual contact with Constand but said it was consensual.
Cosby is due in court Feb. 2 for a preliminary hearing.
With files from The Associated Press
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