The last scheduled meeting between candidates in the hotly contested race for Montgomery County district attorney fell through Wednesday. But that didn't stop what has been a barrage of attacks between the two, almost all about Bill Cosby.

In his most extensive comments to date about Cosby, Democrat Kevin Steele accused Republican Bruce L. Castor Jr. of using a "web of deceit" to explain a decision not to prosecute the entertainer on sexual assault charges in 2005.

The men were to appear in Lansdale for what would have been their only debate. Castor had a family medical issue, said WNPV radio host Darryl Berger, and canceled hours beforehand. Castor was unavailable for comment Wednesday.

Steele told Berger he agrees that family comes first, and "I hope everything is OK with that."

Castor declined to prosecute Cosby in 2005 when former Temple University employee Andrea Constand reported he had drugged and molested her at his Cheltenham mansion.

"And now we're in a place where he is trying to conceal what he did in that case by throwing a victim under the bus," Steele said.

Citing insufficient evidence, Castor has stood by his decision and said new information became available after he left office.

Castor has said Steele made Cosby a campaign issue and aired a TV ad about the case because he was behind in polling and turned to "desperation politics." Steele's campaign said its most recent internal polling indicates the race is even.

The election is Tuesday.

The District Attorney's Office reopened the case this year after a civil deposition that Cosby gave about his relationship with Constand became public.

Steele said his current position as first assistant district attorney does not allow him to comment on past or current cases. But he referred to comments by Constand's attorney, Dolores Troiani.

Troiani confirmed the revived investigation this week when she sued Castor, alleging his statements about Constand have been defamatory.

"He has said things about this lady on television, to the national media," Steele said, "and now he faces a situation where when you're . . . publicly dishonest about people, you face ramifications."

Troiani said this week that Constand would not cooperate in a revived prosecution if Castor won. Castor called the lawsuit a "despicable" attempt to influence voters.

lmccrystal@phillynews.com

610-313-8116 @Lmccrystal