Cosby has been accused of drugging and raping more than 50 women in alleged incidents spanning 40 years. In most of the cases, the statute of limitations for prosecuting sexual assault has expired; however, in a case involving a Temple University student Cosby mentored, the actor has been charged with three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault.
Until now, Cosby has maintained his innocence, saying that any sexual encounters were consensual, and he has denied drugging women without their knowledge or consent in an effort to facilitate rape.
An unnamed source "close to the Cosbys" reportedly told the New York Post that the actor wants to enter a plea agreement that would spare him and his family the stress of a trial. According to the source, Cosby and his wife Camille are hopeful that a plea bargain would allow him to serve probation only, and that such a deal would prevent the 79-year-old man from dying in prison.
Although the proposed plea deal is mentioned by an "unnamed source," the speculation is not confirmed by the
Montgomery County, Pa., District Attorney’s Office, with spokesman Andrew Wyatt saying only, "I have no comment," when asked about a potential plea agreement.
The criminal case against Cosby involves the alleged sexual assault of Andrea Constand, who said that her mentor gave her quaaludes and sexually assaulted her. Cosby settled a civil case with Constand in 2006. Earlier this month, a Pennsylvania judge ruled that Cosby's deposition in the civil lawsuit could be used as evidence against him at his criminal trial. In the deposition, Cosby admitted to securing quaaludes in order to have sex with women and to putting his hands in Constand's pants. He described the incident by saying that although Constand did not give him permission to put his hands in her pants, she did not tell him to stop: "I don’t hear her say anything. And I don’t feel her say anything. And so I continue and I go into the area that is somewhere between permission and rejection. I am not stopped."
If Cosby does not plead guilty in the case, his trial is set to begin in June 2017.
Image credit: The World Affairs Council and Girard College
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