A Pennsylvania prosecutor’s attempt to appeal a state court verdict overturning actor Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction was denied by the Supreme Court on Monday.
With this unsigned order, the justices leave intact the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s June ruling that led to Cosby’s release from prison.
In a 4-3 ruling, Pennsylvania’s top court found that the evidence used to achieve Cosby’s 2018 conviction violated his due process rights after prosecutors employed a “bait-and-switch” strategy.
The district attorney for Montgomery County, Pa., whose office played a crucial role in Cosby’s sexual assault prosecution, appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court in November.
The conflict stems from then-Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor’s decision in 2005 that there was insufficient evidence to charge Cosby for the assault.
Cosby agreed to testify in a civil suit brought by his alleged victim, Andrea Constand, and Castor decided not to charge him.
However, the deal was not honored by Castor’s replacement district attorney, Risa Vetri Ferman.
Instead, Ferman filed charges against Cosby, relying on Cosby’s testimony to win a guilty conviction.
Despite a bare majority ruling, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that to deny Cosby, 84, Castor’s non-prosecution decision would be “an affront to fundamental fairness.”
In his ultimately unsuccessful petition for review, Kevin Steele, the current district attorney for Montgomery County, argued to the Supreme Court that Castor’s decision not to charge Cosby should not be construed as the defendant’s “immunity.”
The legal team for Bill Cosby has urged the justices to uphold the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision.
“The narrowly tailored decision of the Cosby court is not at odds with any other case and is so factually unique that it fails to present any question that is likely to arise in the future with any regularity,” Cosby’s lawyers wrote in a January filing.