Bill Cosby faces spending what would likely be the rest of his life in prison after being convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault in Norristown, Pennsylvania.
Last year, a jury bused in from Pittsburgh couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict, resulting in a mistrial. But prosecutors, hell-bent on getting Cosby, tried the 80-year-old, blind icon again.
“This was a witch hunt, a lynching,” Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt said.
To be certain, the case in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, in 2018 had hallmarks of Montgomery County, Alabama, circa 1948.
Jim Crow laws allowed the circus that many observers said was at play during the Cosby retrial.
An in-your-face and nearly ground-to-ceiling painting of the first Montgomery County court case greets visitors as they walked into Courtroom A, where the Cosby trial was held. The painting featured what appears to be men in Black face, with others hovering around a table with a judge and all seeming to demand the man’s head — a not-so-subtle message.
“This whole case was wrong,” Wyatt said.
CNN legal analyst and prominent lawyer Joey Jackson said the case was “overly prejudicial.”
Jackson said the fact that Judge Steven T. O’Neill allowed five additional accusers who have only came forward some 30 or more years after they had an encounter with Cosby was over the top.
The accuser in the case, a Canadian white woman named Andrea Constand, had already been labeled by the former district attorney as someone who lacked credibility. It’s why the case wasn’t brought 14 years ago when the alleged incident occurred.
Problematic, too, was the civil deposition, one in which Cosby sat for over a period of several days years ago and only because the former district attorney agreed to never use it against him if criminal charges were ever brought.
O’Neill and current District Attorney Kevin Steele, who ran for the office on the promise of “getting Cosby,” made sure that the former DA’s name, Bruce Castor, was never mentioned.
“They didn’t even allow his press release or his statements about Constand and the case to be used by the defense,” said Edward Story, one of several local residents who said they or their family members have been the subject of racist and unjust prosecution by both Steele and O’Neill.
“They’ve teamed up before and they did it again,” Story said. “This time, they got the big fish. America’s Dad. A rich and famous Black man.”
For Cosby, it still marks a hard fall from grace, his estimated $400 million fortune completely in peril as women now line up with lawyers Gloria Allred and Lisa Bloom to capitalize on the conviction.
Bloom, it should be remembered, took on Harvey Weinstein as a client earlier this year after the disgraced movie mogul was outed as a serial sexual harasser and assaulter. She said she wanted to give Weinstein an opportunity to show that he repented and that he “deserved” that.
Bloom, who appeared to coach former supermodel Janice Dickinson through her testimony in the Cosby case, has never said Cosby deserved anything.
“Why would she?,” said Darby Venable, another Norristown resident. “He’s Black and no matter how rich and famous you get, you’ll still be just another [N-word] to people like Lisa Bloom, Gloria Allred, Kevin Steele, Steven O’Neill and most Americans.”
Venable said he believes O’Neill instructed the jury to come to a guilty verdict.
“It’s why the one juror who, before the trial started, was allowed to stay on when he openly said he was going to convict no matter what,” he said. “This was a setup. The setup of the century. The judge, who the press reported had an extramarital affair, sat in judgment of a man who also had extramarital affairs. His wife had money given in her name to women’s groups who said they were going to demonstrate against Cosby at the trial. He wouldn’t recuse himself. Cosby had no chance.”