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Bill Cosby arrives for a pretrial hearing in his criminal sex-assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Thursday, July 7, 2016. Cosby is appealing a decision to send the case to trial before his lawyers can question the accuser under oath. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

A judge ruled that prosecutors can use damaging testimony from Bill Cosby's deposition


A judge ruled Monday that a damaging testimony Bill Cosby gave in an accuser's lawsuit can be used at his criminal sexual assault trial. 

In that deposition, Cosby admitted that he gave young women drugs and alcohol before having sex with them. 

Cosby's defense team argued that the 79-year-old only testified after he was promised that he wouldn't be charged for his 2004 Andrea Constand encounter, but the agreement was never put in writing.

"This court concludes that there was neither an agreement nor a promise not to prosecute, only an exercise of prosecutorial discretion," Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill noted in his ruling. 

In the 2006 deposition, Cosby admitted to having a string of consensual extramarital relationships with young women, many of which have come forward saying they were drugged or molested. 

Constand's criminal complaint was reopened last year when Cosby's deposition was released. 

Instead of testifying, Cosby could have invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself, but jurors would have found out about that decision if the case went to trial. 

Cosby ended up settling the Constand lawsuit in court for an undisclosed amount of money.

District Attorney Kevin Steele said Monday's ruling on the deposition was an important development in the case. 

Cosby's defense lawyer Brian McMonagle didn't comment on the decision. 

The defense will likely fight to block the testimony of additional accusers, discrediting them because their accounts are impossible to defend. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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