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Bill Cosby has decided to drop a lawsuit he filed against Andrea Constand, who accused the actor and comedian of drugging and sexually assaulted her in 2004. Cosby had claimed that Constand breached a 2006 confidential settlement agreement by cooperating with law enforcement in Pennsylvania who were investigating Cosby last year.
Cosby was ultimately charged by the Montgomery County district attorney's office with sexual assault last December and his attorney said Cosby is dismissing the suit to "focus his efforts on defending himself against the claims that have been lodged against him." Along with those criminal charges, Cosby is facing nine civil lawsuits regarding sexual assault allegations.
Constand, a former Temple University women's basketball director, initially filed a lawsuit against Cosby, a Temple graduate, in 2005. The parties settled the suit for an undisclosed sum as part of a sweeping confidentiality agreement. Cosby claimed Constand violated that agreement via social media and by voluntarily cooperating with criminal investigators in 2014, and also accused her lawyers of leaking sealed deposition transcripts wherein Cosby confessed to giving illegally obtained sedatives to prospective sexual partners.
Constand, for her part, alleged that it was Cosby who violated the agreement first, by making all-encompassing denials to charges made against him. Just weeks before Cosby's decision to abandon the lawsuit, a judge dismissed some of his claims but allowed others to proceed.
Statutes of Limitation
Almost 60 women have accused Cosby of rape, drug facilitated sexual assault, sexual battery, child sexual abuse, or sexual misconduct in cases ranging from the mid-1960s to 2008. Most of the criminal claims against Cosby are barred by statute of limitation laws, which prohibit prosecutions after a certain amount of time has passed.
Prosecutors in Pennsylvania were able to reopen the case against Cosby after discovering that he may have admitted to a more serious offense in the leaked deposition testimony. That extended the statute of limitations, and Cosby is now awaiting trial on felony indecent assault charges.