Bill Cosby loses another attempt to get criminal charges tossed

The long-delayed effort to prosecute Bill Cosby on aggravated sexual-assault charges advanced — albeit slightly —  Wednesday when the ailing comedian lost another attempt to get the charges tossed in Pennsylvania.

Even so, Cosby's criminal trial is still a long way off:no later than June 2017, to be exact. However, his lawyers are not done yet attempting to get the case thrown out.

That campaign suffered a setback Wednesday, when a Pennsylvania appeals court upheld a ruling by Judge Steven O'Neill's that Cosby's accuser, Andrea Constand, did not have to testify in person about her allegations that Cosby drugged and molested her when she visited him at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. In his decision, O'Neill said that state law allows prosecutors to use hearsay testimony, such as a police report.

The comedian's lawyers argued, unsuccessfully, that he had a right to confront and cross-examine accuser Andrea Constand in person.

Cosby's lead lawyer, Brian McMonagle, says he hopes to join an appeal related to this dispute — about when accusers must appear in court — which is pending before the state supreme court.

Cosby's legal team has filed multiple motions at various court levels and citing various grounds in attempting to get the charges (three counts of aggravated sexual assault) dismissed; he has lost each time.

Their latest motion, filed last week, argued that Cosby was deprived of his due process rights because the charges were filed 11 years after the alleged crime, when witnesses have died and the 79-year-old comedian is ailing, nearly blind and suffering memory problems.

District Attorney Kevin Steele vowed in his 2015 election campaign to pursue Cosby, citing "new evidence" from a released Cosby deposition from Constand's civil suit against him, which was settled in 2006. Steele filed the charges against Cosby in December 2015, just before the statute of limitations was about to expire.

By that point, five dozen women had accused Cosby of drugging and/or raping them in encounters going back several decades.

Cosby has denied all the accusations and has pleaded not guilty in the criminal case — the only case of criminal charges filed against him since the allegations first resurfaced in October 2014.

Contributing: The Associated Press


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