Pennsylvania ex-prosecutor sues Cosby accuser for defamation
Bill Cosby departs the Montgomery County Courthouse after a preliminary hearing in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S. May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Matt Rourke/Pool/File Photo

A former Pennsylvania district attorney who declined to prosecute entertainer Bill Cosby for sexual assault in 2005 has sued Cosby's accuser in the case for defamation, claiming she destroyed his political career in retaliation.

In court filings, Bruce Castor, the former top prosecutor in Montgomery County, said Andrea Constand and her lawyers orchestrated a smear campaign, including a defamation lawsuit of their own against Castor, that cost him the 2015 election to the current district attorney, Kevin Steele.

The accusations represent the latest twist in a legal saga that began in 2005, when Castor said he concluded that Constand’s story contained too many inconsistencies to sustain prosecution.

Steele, who filed criminal charges against Cosby late in 2015, criticized Castor during the campaign for his handling of the case. Cosby’s trial ended in a mistrial earlier this year after a jury could not reach a unanimous verdict.

Steele’s office plans to retry Cosby next spring.

Constand, a former basketball administrator at Cosby’s alma mater, Temple University, has accused Cosby of drugging and then sexually assaulting her at his Philadelphia-area home in 2004. Cosby, once a beloved comedian and actor, has seen his reputation destroyed by dozens of sexual assault allegations, though Constand’s is the only one to result in prosecution.

Castor’s lawsuit said Constand and her lawyers filed their lawsuit a week before the election in 2015 for maximum effect.

“These defendants embarked on a malicious misinformation campaign designed to end in a tactically pled and timed lawsuit against Castor,” the lawsuit said.

Constand’s lawyers did not immediately return a request for comment on Thursday. A lawyer representing the defendants, Constand's attorneys, also did not return a request for comment.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)