Bill Cosby's Lawyers Want To Block Key Evidence

The Bill Cosby trial is looming, and it's sure to be an event that transfixes the nation. Formerly one of TV's foremost stars and icons, the 79-year-old comedian is now widely reviled, thanks to dozens of accusations of rape and sexual assault. And now, with a criminal trial coming, his attorneys are trying to shield him from some of the most damning evidence — if you're wondering why Cosby's lawyers want his 2005 deposition blocked from the courtroom, well, the answer is pretty obvious, but the decision could seriously alter the entire case.

It's a story that exploded into the public consciousness last year, even though many of the facts have been in the public record for a long time. But, beyond the slew of allegations against him (many of which you can find from New York), the release of his 2005 deposition stemming from sexual assault allegations by Andrea Constand was a hugely pivotal event — one that could ultimately prove central to his downfall.

Simply put, if the contents of the deposition are presented to a jury, it's going to make Cosby look really bad. In it, he admits that he acquired drugs (specifically Quaaludes) and gave them to women, many of whom he ended up having sexual relations with. He did not admit to drugging anybody against their will, however, and has pleaded not guilty to all charges. But even so, the impact of that admission could be huge, especially if it's paired with corroborating testimony from some of the other women who've alleged that Cosby drugged them.

Basically, you don't need to go much further than that to understand why Cosby's lawyers so desperately want to keep his 2005 deposition out of that courtroom. In the final equation, its inclusion or exclusion could be the difference between an acquittal and a conviction. Pretrial wrangling over evidence, in other words, doesn't get much more high stakes than this.

The defense has argued that Cosby gave the deposition with the understanding that what he said would never be used in a criminal prosecution against him, and that therefore, to use his words against him now would violate his constitutional right against self-incrimination, laid out in the Fifth Amendment.

While it's tough to predict what the decision will be absent deeper knowledge of just what the defense will argue in the moment, that's certainly an intriguing argument, and it's one that'll be drawing attention from trial-watchers and legal experts all over the country. Following along with what happens in that Pennsylvania courtroom will undoubtedly be interesting over the next months, as it could reveal a decision that fundamentally alters the trajectory of the trial.