UPDATE, 7:09 AM: Just more than two weeks before his criminal trial for an alleged 2004 rape is set to start in Pennsylvania, Bill Cosby told a radio host today he will not testify on his own behalf. After being teased out yesterday by SiriusXM, the admission came on Michael Smerconish’s show in a pre-taped 30-minute interview with the much accused comedian.
Ahead of the June 5 trial start date in Norristown, PA, the segment with Cosby airs in the 10 AM ET hour, aka right now. While he will not take the stand, Cosby is expected to be in Judge Steven O’Neill’s courtroom every day of the expected two-week trial, as required by the laws of the Keystone State.
If found guilty of three felony charges of second-degree aggravated indecent assault against then-Temple University employee Andrea Constand, the 79-year-old and supposedly blind Cosby could be sentenced to up to 10 years in jail. In the past several years, nearly 60 other women have gone public with accusations of being assaulted and drugged by The Cosby Show star.
Jury selection in the trial is scheduled to start next week; Cosby will likely be in the courtroom for that too.
PREVIOUS, MAY 15 PM: A week before jury selection is set to start in Bill Cosby’s criminal trial for the alleged 2004 rape of then-Temple University employee Andrea Constand, the comedian has taken to the airwaves to tell his side of the story — sort of.
“The piling on, so to speak, is a way, and certainly an impressive, impressive way, to get public opinion to come to the other side,” Cosby tells Michael Smerconish on his SiriusXM radio show about the nearly 60 women who have claimed the comedian assaulted or drugged them over the decades for unwanted sex. The statement comes from excerpts released ahead of a full 30-minute interview to air tomorrow between Cosby and Smerconish, also a CNN host. The interview was conducted earlier today over the phone.
The Cosby interview came after his daughter Esna Cosby appeared on iHeartRadio’s The Breakfast Club show Monday morning, saying in part that “racism has played a big role in all aspects of this scandal.” Smerconish asked Cosby whether he agreed. “Could be,” he responded. “Could be …there are so many tentacles. So many different – ‘nefarious’ is a great word. And I just truly believe that some of it may very well be that.”
In a move almost as rare as the interview itself, Cosby also took to social media Monday to promote his daughters Ensa and Erinn coming to his defense, playing the family man angle he was once so well known for:
I love you Camille, Erika, Erinn, Ensa & Evin – keep fighting in Spirit Ennis
— Bill Cosby (@BillCosby) May 15, 2017
With statements by another of his other daughters and an email interview with Black Press USA last month, this latest public move by Cosby comes just over two weeks before the only criminal case against him goes to trial in Norristown, PA. If found guilty, the 79-year-old actor could be sent behind bars for up to a decade. A source close to the situation tells me Cosby plans several more such media appearances in the next few weeks, choosing venues where he can control to varying degrees the questions and the probing. Family members and surrogates are also expected to step forward for the actor, who will be in court daily once the June 5-set trial starts.
Teasing that Cosby will reveal whether he will take the stand or not in his trial in the full interview to be aired Tuesday (wanna bet the answer is No?), Smerconish explained in a Facebook video Monday how the conversation came together.
“I knew that there would be limitations on that which he would be able and willing to say pertaining to the upcoming trial,” he said after being approached by a Cosby rep with statements from the family and asking for an interview with the actor directly. “But I must say, I’m surprised by how much he did address.”
In the most recent developments in the criminal case, where Cosby is charged with three felony charges of second-degree aggravated indecent assault against Constand, Judge Steven O’Neill late last month made clear what is and isn’t allowed at trial in what was likely his final pre-trial ruling. Both the defense and the Montgomery County D.A.’s office got a portion of what they wanted.
Parts of the once-assumed sealed 2005 deposition by Cosby in the civil case Constand brought against the actor will be heard by the jury. Made public in 2015 and kicking off the flood of civil cases nationwide, the sworn testimony showed Cosby admitting he had used Quaaludes to have sex with women in the 1970s. Other parts of that deposition, plus the settled civil case itself, will not be heard by the jury, jore will a parts of a 1991 book by Cosby in which he discussed the supposed aphrodisiac Spanish Fly with Larry King.
Despite dozens of women coming forth in the past two years with stories of being assaulted by The Cosby Show creator, the Pennsylvania case is the only criminal one against Cosby. He was charged by the newly elected D.A. in the closing days of 2015, just before Pennsylvania’s 12-year statute of limitations on sex crimes in his case expired. He was arraigned December 30 and released on $1 million bail without entering a plea.
In subsequent months, Cosby and various lawyers have attempted numerous methods and jurisdictions to get the case dismissed.