Montgomery County DA: Bill Cosby’s claims of prosecutorial misconduct are ‘false’

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele. Digital First Media file photo

NORRISTOWN >> Prosecutors, in court papers, argued the accusations of prosecutorial misconduct leveled by Bill Cosby’s defense team are “misrepresentations and false claims” and urged a judge to deny a defense request that sex assault charges be dismissed against the actor.

“Facts matter. In defendant’s latest motion, sworn to and submitted by his newest team of lawyers, he trots out poorly repackaged and tired complaints in yet another effort to avoid his criminal charges,” Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele wrote in court documents. “In doing so, he raises claims that are demonstrably false.”

In court papers filed last week, Cosby’s defense team, led by Los Angeles lawyer Thomas Mesereau Jr., accused prosecutors of misconduct for allegedly failing to disclose they interviewed a potential trial witness and destroyed notes of that meeting.

The latest legal battle involves alleged statements of Marguerite Jackson, who reportedly worked with Cosby accuser Andrea Constand at Temple University and who claimed Constand once told her that she “had not been sexually assaulted but she could say that she had, file charges and get money,” according to documents filed by the defense.


The defense lawyers claimed prosecutors recently disclosed for the first time that prior to Cosby’s first trial last June a prosecutor and detectives interviewed Jackson.

“The commonwealth interviewed Marguerite Jackson and defendant knew it,” Steele responded, adding Cosby’s previous lawyer Brian J. McMonagle acknowledged that he was fully aware that prosecutors met with Jackson prior to Cosby’s first trial last June.

A prosecutor and detective who met with Jackson did not recall taking any notes, Steele said in court papers.

“Seemingly, none of the defendant’s attorneys sought to clarify if notes were ever taken in the first place or if the existence of this meeting was ever disclosed to prior defense counsel,” Steele responded. “Of course, that which does not exist cannot be destroyed.

“Rather than filing a professionally responsible motion, containing allegations that he could substantiate with proof, the defendant filed one rife with misrepresentations and outright false statements, accusing the commonwealth of illegal and unethical behavior,” Steele added.

The new defense team subsequently filed a supplemental motion, backing off one claim, acknowledging that Cosby’s previous lawyer did learn about the prosecution’s interview of Jackson before the first trial in June 2017.

However, the new lawyers claim there are “serious questions” still to be examined by the judge. While prosecutors and detectives “may not recall whether either of them took notes, Ms. Jackson does recall notes being taken,” Mesereau wrote in court papers

“If, as stated by the only percipient witness who recalls, notes were taken and no notes presently exist, then the notes must have been lost or destroyed,” the defense lawyers wrote, repeating their call for charges to be dismissed against Cosby.

Mesereau and co-defense lawyers Lane Vines, Kathleen Bliss, Jason Hicks and Becky James want Judge Steven T. O’Neill to conduct an evidentiary hearing to sort out the matter. The judge could take up the issue when he holds pretrial hearings on March 5 and 6.

Additionally, Cosby’s lawyers alleged that prosecutors, despite their knowledge of Jackson’s and Constand’s relationship, suborned perjury when they allowed Constand to testify during Cosby’s first trial that she did not know or remember Jackson.

“Contrary to defendant’s claims, the victim did not perjure herself. Rather, she told the truth that she did not remember Ms. Jackson, a person who at best had a tangential role in the Temple Women’s Basketball team,” Steele responded, calling the defense claim “baseless.”

William Henry Cosby Jr., as his name appears on charging documents, faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault in connection with allegations he had inappropriate sexual contact with Constand, a former Temple University athletic department employee, at his Cheltenham home after plying her with blue pills and wine sometime in January 2004.

Cosby’s first trial ended in a mistrial last June 17 after a jury of seven men and five women selected from Allegheny County individually told the judge they were hopelessly deadlocked “on all counts” after deliberating more than 52 hours over six days.

Steele immediately vowed to seek a retrial. That retrial is slated to begin April 2.

Cosby, 80, remains free on 10 percent of $1 million bail, pending the retrial and faces a possible maximum sentence of 15 to 30 years in prison if convicted of the charges.

The newspaper does not normally identify victims of sex crimes without their consent but is using Constand’s name because she has identified herself publicly.