Yesterday Bill Cosby was released from prison after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out his conviction for aggravated indecent assault (drugging and raping) against Andrea Costand (one of sixty women who made the same allegation against him) because of a due process violation. Why is the guilty as hell Cosby, who the sentencing judge described as a “sexually violent predator,” celebrating his freedom today? Bruce Castor, Jr.
Incriminating testimony Cosby gave after a promise of immunity from criminal prosecution was used against him in his criminal prosecution. A pretty serious violation of the old aggravated indecent assaulter’s constitutional due process rights. It’s not easily graspable how this could have happened, how a guy who was 100% guilty, as he admitted under oath, got out of jail, but it is easily explainable, and it comes down to two words: Bruce Castor (Jr).
Back in 2005 when Andrea Costand originally came forward to accuse Cosby, then Pennsylvania prosecutor Bruce Castor Jr., put out an unusual news release about his judgment call that there was “insufficient evidence” to prosecute Cosby for the crimes he was accused of (and, years later convicted of). Castor announced he’d made Cosby a verbal promise of immunity from criminal prosecution, meaning Cosby would have to testify under oath in Costand’s civil suit against Cosby.
Without the immunity from prosecution Cosby could have exercised his right against self-incrimination to refuse to answer incriminating questions during the civil suit deposition. Cosby wound up paying this particular victim three million dollars in the civil suit, so there’s that. He also incriminated the shit out of himself in the deposition.
On the other hand, because prosecutors used his incriminating testimony to secure his criminal conviction, after the state promised him immunity for that same crime, he wound up holding a get out of jail free card, courtesy of Bruce Castor Jr.
A more prudent prosecutor would have qualified Cosby’s immunity, to enable the government to prosecute him later if it obtained new evidence, for example, but Castor didn’t do this. Castor, in fact, fucked up. As former federal prosecutor Barbara McQuade wrote in today’s New York Times:
When I worked as a federal prosecutor, I was cautious about making promises because I knew they were binding. With rare exception, my office refrained from making promises to decline charges against someone because of the very real possibility that additional evidence of guilt could emerge. Our hands would be tied if the person had relied on that promise in any way. If we agreed to bring no further charges against someone as part of a plea deal, we included in the plea agreement the caveat that the promise was limited to information that was currently known to the government.source
When I heard Castor’s name yesterday, and that he was to thank for Bill Cosby’s freedom on a technicality having nothing to do with his actual guilt, a little bell went off, the name sounded so familiar. Wikipedia to the rescue:
On January 31, 2021, Castor was appointed to take the lead for Donald J. Trump‘s defense team for his 2021 impeachment trial, alongside criminal law practitioner David Schoen. Castor’s opening arguments on February 9, 2021, were widely reported to be confusing and rambling. Trump was reportedly “furious” about Castor’s “rambling, almost somnambulant defense.” Texas Republican U.S. Senator John Cornyn commented, “The president’s lawyer just rambled on and on” and “I’ve seen a lot of lawyers and a lot of arguments, and that was not one of the finest I’ve seen.” Castor for his part suggested the former President did not criticize his performance. “Far from it,” he said.source
Oops, almost missed this nugget from the Bruce Castor Wikipedia page:
Castor is the cousin of Steve Castor, who represented Trump during his first impeachment.source
It fucking figures, doesn’t it? The best people, nothing but the best people…
I guess the only mystery is why former president for life Donald Trump didn’t pardon his fellow celebrity pussy grabber, the hilarious Mr. Cosby. Would have really triggered the libs!