Representatives of Bill Cosby have talked to prominent Philadelphia-area criminal defense lawyers to gauge their willingness to defend him, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The step signals the actor-comedian’s expectation that he could soon face charges in Montgomery County, adjoining Philadelphia, stemming from a decade-old sexual-assault allegation. A lawyer for the accuser in that case, former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, said her client would be a willing participant in any effort to revive the investigation that was shuttered 10 years ago.
Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said this month that prosecutors have “a responsibility to review past conclusions” when new information comes to light. Should charges be filed, it would be the first time Cosby, 78, has faced prosecution on allegations from any of the more than 40 women who in the past year have publicly accused him of sexual misconduct. Statutes of limitations have prevented charges in most currently reported cases. Constand’s allegations, which fall within Pennsylvania’s 12-year statute of limitations on felony sexual charges, is a rare exception. Now 42 and living in Toronto, she reported to police a decade ago that Cosby drugged and molested her in his Cheltenham, Pa., mansion in 2004.