Ex-prosecutor who didn’t charge Cosby sued for defamation

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(AP) — A woman who settled a sex abuse lawsuit against Bill Cosby has sued the former prosecutor who declined to file charges, saying he has defamed her through recent attacks on her credibility.

Andrea Constand’s defamation lawsuit cites a series of comments that Bruce L. Castor Jr. made to the media as he runs for another term as district attorney in Montgomery County, near Philadelphia.

The suit, filed Monday, accuses Castor of rendering her “collateral damage for his political ambitions.”

Castor has said Constand gave a different story to police in January 2005 than the felony assault she described in her lawsuit that same year.

“If the allegations in the civil complaint were contained with that detail in her statement to the police, we might have been able to make a case out of it,” he told The Associated Press last month, defending his decision not to prosecute.

Constand’s lawyer, Dolores Troiani, demanded a public apology. With none forthcoming, she filed the defamation and invasion of privacy lawsuit.

“He said that she enhanced her statement for monetary gain (in the civil case),” Troiani told the AP. “This is outrageous that a victim of a crime could be treated this same way — twice — by the same man.”

Castor did not immediately return a call seeking comment. The Legal Intelligencer first reported on the lawsuit, which seeks at least $150,000 in damages.

The filing comes eight days before the election. Both Castor, a Republican, and his opponent Kevin Steele, a Democrat, have tried to spin the Cosby case to their advantage in campaign ads.

Troiani has said Castor never intended to charge Cosby, given his own political ambitions. Castor left office in 2008 and, after pondering a run for statewide office, is now a county commissioner.

In announcing he would not charge Cosby, Castor said that both parties could be portrayed in “a less than flattering light.”

Dozens of women have since come forward to accuse Cosby of drugging and molesting them. And Cosby’s deposition in the Constand case, released to the public this year, shows that Cosby acknowledged having sexual contact with Constand that night. He also said that, years earlier, he had gotten quaaludes from his doctor to give to young women before sex.

However, he said that his sexual relations with various women were consensual and that he never gave any women drugs without their knowledge.

The current Montgomery County prosecutor, Risa Vetri Ferman, appears to have revived the criminal investigation in Constand’s case. Cosby’s agents have contacted defense lawyers to handle a pending Montgomery County criminal probe. The 12-year statute to file charges expires in January, the month she leaves office as she runs for judge.

Ferman has declined to confirm that an investigation is underway, but, in response to the question, she recently noted the “tremendous courage” it takes for sexual assault victims to come forward.

Steele is Ferman’s top deputy. He appears to be locked in a close race with Castor for the $172,000-a-year post.

Constand, then 31, left her job with the Temple University women’s basketball team months after the January 2004 encounter at Cosby’s home. She is now a massage therapist in Canada, in her native Ontario.

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