#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 2°C Thursday 2 December 2021

Bill Cosby says racism 'could be' behind sexual assault allegations

The comedian said he doesn’t expect to testify at his upcoming trial.

Bill Cosby departing a pretrial hearing last month
Bill Cosby departing a pretrial hearing last month
Image: Matt Rourke/AP

BILL COSBY HAS said he doesn’t expect to testify at his sexual assault trial and suggested that racism “could be” behind the scores of accusations against him.

Cosby also said he thinks the approximately 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 comedian spoke to SiriusXM radio host Michael Smerconish in a 33-minute segment broadcast today, less than a week before jury selection gets underway.

Smerconish wrote on his Facebook page that he agreed to air audio from the Cosby family “only if I could interview Bill Cosby”. The programme included about four minutes of recorded comments featuring statements from two of his daughters and an interview one daughter had with him.

Cosby, who turns 80 in July, said his lawyers won’t let him discuss the criminal case. However, he said he has “never, never” lost the support of his wife, Camille. They have been married for over 50 years.

Daughter Ensa Cosby said she believes “racism has played a role” in the accusations against her father. Asked to respond, Bill Cosby 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,” Erinn Cosby said.

Bill 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 jurors.

“You can’t aim at jurors,” he said.

The jury will start to be chosen 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.

‘A can of something’
Cosby explained that he does not want to testify 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.

Cosby 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 $1 million bail. He settled Constand’s civil suit in 2006 for an undisclosed sum after giving deposition testimony 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 testify for the prosecution and said prosecutors can reference Cosby’s testimony about getting quaaludes in the 1970s to give women before sex.

The Associated Press doesn’t typically identify people who say they are the victims of sexual assault unless they come forward publicly, as Constand has done.

Cosby, through spokesman Andrew Wyatt, has declined to speak to the AP.

Comments are closed as legal proceedings are ongoing.

Read: Prosecutor says 13 women should be allowed to testify against Bill Cosby

Read: Bill Cosby accuser says she receives hate mail from ‘diehard fans and rape apologists’

About the author:

Associated Press

Read next: