Bill Cosby said he does not expect to give evidence at his sexual assault trial and suggested racism “could be” behind the scores of accusations against him. Cosby said he believes about 60 women who have accused him of sexual misconduct came forward only after earlier allegations raised a decade ago died down.
“The piling on, so to speak, is a way, and certainly an impressive way, to get public opinion to come to the other side,” Cosby said. The 80-year-old comedian spoke to SiriusXM radio host Michael Smerconish in a half-hour interview, less than a week before jury selection gets under way.
Smerconish said he agreed to air more than an hour of uncut conversations between Cosby and his daughters in exchange for the interview, which a Cosby spokesman said was taped on Monday. Cosby said his lawyers will not let him discuss the criminal case, but he has “never, never” lost the support of his wife, Camille. They have been married for more than 50 years.
Daughter Ensa Cosby said she believes “racism has played a role” in the accusations against her father. Asked to respond, he said: “It could be.” Another daughter, Erinn, said her father has been condemned “unjustly and cruelly” in the court of public opinion. “Like the cruel history of our people, the legal system and the protections of the law do not seem to exist for him today,” she said.
Cosby described his health as generally good but said glaucoma has left him legally blind. He said he did not do the interview to try to influence the jury: “You can’t aim at jurors.” The jury will be chosen starting on Monday in Pittsburgh, then sequestered about 300 miles away for the trial in suburban Philadelphia. The trial is expected to last about two weeks.
Cosby said he does not want to give evidence because he fears trying to give a truthful answer without opening up “a can of something” while his lawyers “are scrambling”. He also said he believes there are more than two sides to every story. He is accused of drugging and molesting Andrea Constand, then a Temple University employee, in 2004 at his home. He has pleaded not guilty and remains free on million-dollar bail.
He settled Ms Constand’s civil suit in 2006 for an undisclosed sum after giving deposition evidence that became public in 2015. Cosby, in that deposition, described sexual liaisons with a string of young women, some of whom say he sexually assaulted them after giving them drugs or alcohol. Parts of his deposition are expected to be aired at the criminal trial.
The judge will allow one other accuser to give evidence for the prosecution and said prosecutors can reference Cosby’s evidence about getting sedatives in the 1970s to give women before sex.