Bill Cosby Resorts to Playing the Race Card to Avoid Standing Trial In Sex Assault Case

Reuters
Reuters

In a just-filed motion for dismissal, the disgraced comedian’s lawyers are arguing that because of his race, he won’t receive a fair trial.

Comedian Bill Cosby shouldn’t have to stand trial on felony sexual assault charges—a proceeding scheduled to begin next June—because he is old, blind, forgetful, and African-American.

Those, anyway, are among the arguments being deployed in the disgraced pop-culture icon’s new motion for dismissal that was filed Thursday in a Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, criminal court.

Cosby, 79, is facing three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault that he allegedly committed a dozen years ago on Andrea Constand, then a 31-year-old women’s basketball director at Cosby’s alma mater, Temple University.

And because of Cosby’s race—never mind his status as a mega-rich celebrity whose net worth was once estimated at $400 million—his lawyers are apparently claiming he can’t get a fair trial.

“The Commonwealth chose thirteen women to testify against Mr. Cosby. Only one of those women self-identifies as African-American,” Cosby’s legal team asserts in the motion, referring to the prosecution’s list of supporting witnesses in the Constand case, out of more than 50 women who have alleged that over a period of four decades Cosby plied them with powerful sedatives and/or alcohol before sexually forcing himself on them.

“The Commonwealth’s choice preys upon subconscious (or perhaps conscious) beliefs that a white woman is less likely to consent to sex with a black man, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s—the time period the Commonwealth chose to focus on.

“This turns the presumption of innocence that Mr. Cosby is entitled to,” Cosby’s lawyers continue, “into a presumption of guilt, and runs counter to the basic principles upon which the United States was founded.”

Team Cosby adds that “we cannot ignore the unfortunate role that racial bias still plays in our criminal justice system,” and quote from a criminology journal article stating that “‘racial and ethnic disparities [still] exist in both the American juvenile and adult criminal justice systems’ in general, and in Pennsylvania in particular.”

Cosby’s Los Angeles-based attorney Angela C. Agrusa, who joined his defense team in August to work with prominent criminal defense lawyer Brian J. McMonagle, Cosby’s lead attorney for the past year, told The Daily Beast that the racial aspect can’t be ignored.

“I don’t think you can escape it, any time you’re looking at allegations against an African American in the criminal justice system,” she said in an interview. “We have identified it in the way we believe these women [the 13 supporting prosecution witnesses in the Constand case] have been selected, and part of it is the way [recently elected Montgomery County District Attorney] Kevin Steele ran his campaign. Bill Cosby was the focal point of his campaign.”

In 2005, after then-Montgomery District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. declined to press criminal charges, citing insufficient evidence, Constand sued Cosby and received a reported multimillion-dollar settlement from the comedian. Kevin R. Steele, who made Castor’s failure to prosecute Cosby a centerpiece of his campaign last fall, filed charges last December after dozens more women had accused Cosby of sexual misconduct, and a federal judge ordered the public release of Cosby’s long-ago depositions in Constand’s civil suit.

In his sworn deposition testimony, which he believed would never see the light of day, a swaggering Cosby admitted that he gave Constand Benadryl pills before one of their sexual encounters:

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SOURCE: The Daily Beast – Lloyd Grove

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