As the days tick away to the start of the criminal trial against comedian Bill Cosby, he is pulling no legal punches. Andrea Constand signed a confidentiality agreement over an alleged sexual assault that took place in 2004. The document was signed in 2005 and was part of the reason Cosby was not criminally charged over the incident.
On Wednesday, Cosby’s legal team filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against Andrea Constand, her lawyer, her mother and the publisher of the National Enquirer.
When prosecutors reopened the criminal charges against Cosby in 2015, investigators had to speak to all of the defendants now named in the breach-of-contract lawsuit. Although the details of the new lawsuit are currently sealed, at issue is whether confidentiality clauses in a civil matter supersede the power of a criminal investigation.
In early February of this year, Cosby was dealt a legal blow when the judge denied his attempt to have the case against him dismissed because of an agreement with then Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor not to prosecute. But there was no legal written agreement produced by Cosby or Castor that stated this deal. It was described as a “gentlemen’s agreement” based on a handshake. Based on this belief, in 2005 he gave a damning deposition in a civil case that resulted in a payout by other alleged victims and Constand.
The next hearing date will be March 8, 2016, at which time evidence from the DA will be presented to show cause to the court that a trial should go forward. Cosby will either risk going to trial or will have to take a plea deal and serve up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Cosby has maintained his innocence and stated that sex was consensual with his past accusers.