Bill Cosby will be released from prison today despite his 2018 conviction on three counts of aggravated indecent assault and a 2019 verdict that upheld that ruling. On Wednesday the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned Cosby’s conviction on a technicality, and barred him from further prosecution.
“Bill Cosby has been publicly accused of raping, drugging, coercing or sexually assaulting as many as 60 women in all since 1965,” The Wrap reported in 2018. USA Today that year published a “complete list of the 60 Bill Cosby accusers and their reactions to his prison sentence.”
In 2005 Montgomery County, Pennsylvania District Attorney Bruce Castor reached a deal with Bill Cosby, essentially forcing him to reveal information that could allow him to lose a civil lawsuit. In exchange, Castor claims, he promised Cosby he would not be prosecuted.
That deal was never put in writing and previous courts rejected it.
Today the Pennsylvania Supreme Court accepted it, and freed Cosby.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court said Castor “induced Cosby into making those incriminating comments in a civil case by promising him that his statements wouldn’t be used in a parallel criminal case. Later, a different prosecutor, District Attorney Kevin Steele, broke that deal and used those comment to prosecute him — a violation of Cosby’s Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. The court said Steele was obligated to stand by his predecessor’s promise not to charge Cosby,” The Washington Post reports.
Castor in February of 2021 became one of President Donald Trump’s impeachment lawyers, as many will remember:
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned Bill Cosby’s conviction after finding an agreement with a previous prosecutor prevented Cosby from being charged in the case.
The previous prosecutor? Bruce Castor aka Trump’s second impeachment defense attorney: pic.twitter.com/IuWrlUc0tF
— The Recount (@therecount) June 30, 2021
MSNBC’s Ari Melber explains some of the details, notes “no one’s saying he didn’t do it,” and adds “people will be justifiably outraged.”
WATCH: Ari Melber breaks down the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision overturning Bill Cosby’s conviction. #MTPDaily @AriMelber: “The Court today is not saying Cosby didn’t do it. The Court is saying he reached a deal never to be charged for it.” pic.twitter.com/5duHYD63Wx
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) June 30, 2021
The Washington Post notes that Castor not only “declined to charge Cosby in 2005 after a Temple University employee accused him of sexual misconduct,” he “advanced a rather novel legal theory that his decision not to prosecute was somehow also binding on future prosecutions, and thus Cosby couldn’t be charged in the case.”
Cosby’s team called Castor as a witness, and Castor claimed there was just such a secret deal in place, despite there having been no mention of it in his news release announcing his decision.
“Mr. Cosby was not getting prosecuted at all — ever — as far as I was concerned,” Castor said. “My belief was that I had the power to make such a statement.”
Castor added: “I made a judgment as the sovereign representing the commonwealth not to prosecute Cosby. I was the only person in Pennsylvania who had the power to make that decision, and I made it.”
Former U.S. Attorney, now MSNBC and NBC News legal analyst and University of Michigan law professor Barbara McQuade weighs in:
This in no way exonerates Cosby from his monstrous crimes, but due process matters. A prosecutor can’t promise not to charge him, induce reliance on the promise and then use his subsequent statements to charge him. Blame former DA & Trump atty Bruce Castor https://t.co/d7K198sIUm
— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) June 30, 2021
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‘QAnon Shaman’ Found Competent and Guilty of Felony During Jan. 6 Insurrection – Could Face Years in Jail
Jacob Chansley, also known as Jake Angeli, but best known as the bare chested, horned fur hat wearing, spear and bullhorn carrying man with the red, white and blue face paint whose image was plastered on the front pages of numerous media outlets, has pleaded guilty to a single felony count of obstructing an official proceeding for his actions during the January 6 insurrection. He initially had faced six charges.
He had been ordered to undergo a competency assessment, and was found able to stand trial, a judge announced Friday, revealing he had signed a plea deal late Wednesday.
Chansely, 33, no longer wants to be known as the Qanon Shaman, and has also allegedly decided to “repudiate” QAnon – or, at least the “Q” in his moniker, HuffPost reports.
“Mr. Chansley, a long avowed and practicing Shaman, has repudiated the ‘Q’ previously assigned to him and requests future references to him be devoid of use of the letter ‘Q’,” his attorney, Albert Watkins, said in a statement.
Late Friday morning Watkins asked for Chansley to be released before sentencing, but the federal prosecutor wants him to remain detained.
Buzzfeed’s Zoe Tillman reports Chansley could be facing 41-51 months in jail, according to the prosecutor. That would be more than three years, possibly even more than four, but likely less.
Judge Royce Lamberth has ordered Chansley to remain in jail until sentencing November 17.
Image via Shutterstock
Jan. 6 Committee Is Targeting ‘Certain Individuals’ – Directs Dozens of Companies to Preserve Records
The U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack is now targeting “specific individuals,” sending letters to the heads of nearly three dozen companies ordering them to preserve records of those people who may have participated in the insurrection or the rallies preceding it.
The level of detail this early in the investigation shows how serious the Committee is on investigating who was behind the insurrection.
Bloomberg News reports the 35 companies include: “1&1 Mail, 4chan, 8kun, Amazon, AOL Mail, Apple, AT&T, Discord, Facebook, Gab, Google, LogMeIn, MeWe, Microsoft, Parler, Proton Technologies, Reddit, Rocket.Chat, Rumble, Signal, Slack, Snap, Sprint, Telegram, theDonald.win, Tiktok, T-Mobile, Twitch, Twitter, U.S. Cellular, Verizon Wireless, Yahoo! Mail, YouTube, Zello and Zoho.”
Links are to specific letters each CEO was sent.
The letters says the Committee “seeks the preservation of these records as part of its examination of the violent attack on the Capitol and the broader context of efforts to delay or interfere with the peaceful transfer of power following the 2020 election.”
It adds that the Committee “specifically requests that you preserve information you may possess about individuals whom the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and/or the District of Columbia has charged with crimes associated with the attack; individuals who were listed on permit applications or were otherwise involved in organizing, funding, or speaking at the January 5, 2021, or January 6, 2021, rallies in the District of Columbia relating to objecting to the certification of the electoral college votes; and individuals potentially involved with discussions of plans to challenge, delay, or interfere with the January 6, 2021, certification or otherwise attempt to overturn election results, in the days preceding and up through the attack.”
The Committee did not release the list of names it included with each letter, and asked each company to not notify the individuals who appear on the list prior to preserving the records.
Image via Shutterstock
‘Crystal Clear’: House Jan. 6 Committee Is ‘Going After Trump’ Says Attorney Who Prosecuted Trump University Case
A former New York state prosecutor says the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack is definitely targeting Donald Trump, the disgraced former U.S. president.
Tristan Snell, who served as assistant attorney general for New York state and helped lead the prosecution against Trump University that resulted in a $25 million settlement says the Select Committee’s work this week makes “crystal clear” what its objectives are.
Snell says the “House Select Committee on January 6 is about to get real — and this week proves it.”
On Wednesday the Select Committee, headed by Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) demanded a massive trove of records from the federal government, including from the Dept. of Justice, the Dept. of Defense, and the White House. A small portion of that order included information about any discussions on invoking the Insurrection Act, martial law, and “All documents and communications concerning possible attempts by President Donald Trump to remain in office after January 20, 2021.”
On Friday the Committee expanded its investigation by ordering 15 social media companies, including tech giants from Google to Facebook to Twitter, to hand off items from a huge 14-point list that included data on misinformation and “foreign malign influence.”
“A robust, comprehensive, no-stone-unturned subpoena effort is the foundation of any real investigation,” Snell explains. “And they’re going after Trump himself. That is crystal clear now.”
The House Select Committee on January 6 is about to get real — and this week proves it.
A robust, comprehensive, no-stone-unturned subpoena effort is the foundation of any real investigation.
And they’re going after Trump himself. That is crystal clear now.
— Tristan Snell (@TristanSnell) August 27, 2021
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