3:09pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Pennsylvania D.A. Candidate Says He'd Open Bill Cosby Perjury Investigation
Bombshell revelations that Bill Cosby once admitted to procuring drugs for the purpose of sex with young women have hit the campaign trail.
On Tuesday, former Montgomery County, Pennsylvania district attorney Bruce Castor told MSNBC that given the opportunity, he'd open up an investigation to see whether Cosby’s deposition reveals any perjury. “I can tear that deposition apart, and anything that I can prove is a material lie would still be subject to a perjury investigation and prosecution," he said.
Castor once passed on the opportunity to prosecute Cosby for sexual misconduct, but he's now running again for his old office.
As legal experts take to the media to downplay the possibility of bringing Cosby up on charges of sexually assaulting women given the statute of limitations, Cosby's decade-old admissions could impact his legal situation nevertheless. Attorneys for several women currently suing Cosby for defamation are indicating they plan to use his deposition to move forward in their own lawsuits. Even so, those lawsuits still face significant legal challenges.
But the issue of perjury could raise a fresh clock, at least according to Castor.
“Most people would think the statute of limitations has run on the perjury from that deposition, but in fact, a good argument can be made that it has not run because it could not have been discovered because the records were sealed all these years,” he said.
Another former D.A. calls this argument a "creative one, but a stretch."
The tolling of statute of limitations often comes up in civil lawsuits in circumstances of fraud, and generally only factors into criminal prosecutions when a fugitive is outside the jurisdiction of the court. Cosby could theoretically be charged with lying to a government official if he told law enforcement investigators something different than what he said during his deposition, but the same kind of tolling arguments would probably have to pass judicial muster.
Maybe the most surprising thing from a legal standpoint about Cosby's deposition is why he decided to answer the question about giving women quaaludes in the first place. So far, the comedian has survived criminal ramifications for what said, but at least one observer expressed astonishment that Cosby's lawyers didn't advise him to assert the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.