First of all, let me make it clear: I’m no Bill Cosby apologist.
But the jury in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania got it wrong. Dead wrong.
However, this column won’t dig into the many reasons they got it wrong and it’s not to say that Cosby is innocent when it comes to all of his accusers — we will never know.
But, what I do know is this, the evidence — or more accurately, the glaring lack thereof — proved that Cosby did not sexually assault Andrea Constand.
The burden of proof in any criminal trial is squarely on prosecutors. Defense attorneys have no burden to prove anything. In this case, the well-trained Cosby team proved that he wasn’t even in Pennsylvania when this incident supposedly occurred more than 14 years ago.
Again, there isn’t enough space here to go into the many glaring wrongs here, but I also wanted to spend space on another damning fact: Black Women’s Lives Don’t Matter.
I sat each and every day through both the first trial in 2017 and the farce of a retrial last month and what struck me was this “get-him-at-all-cost” attitude shared by the three entities who held the most control over the proceedings — the judge, prosecutor and jury.
The judge ruled time and again against Cosby, some decisions baffling even legal experts. He postured and demonstrably rolled his eyes as Cosby’s lawyers examined witnesses and made arguments. He smiled as prosecutors made theirs.
Egregious were his allowing Cosby’s more than 10-year-old deposition that mainstream media — see The Associated Press — conspired with District Attorney Kevin Steele to unseal.
It was a deposition that prior District Attorney Bruce Castor had negotiated with Cosby and agreed that if he sat for the deposition, it would NEVER be used against him in any criminal proceeding.
Castor’s name was forbidden by the judge throughout the case. When the defense wanted to use Castor’s explicit agreement, the judge rebuked them.
When they wanted to use Castor’s press release from 2005 in which he noted that he wasn’t pursuing criminal charges against Cosby because the alleged victim, Andrea Constand, lacked credibility and there was no evidence, Steele and Judge Steven T. O’Neill again rebuked Cosby’s team.
We don’t have enough space to discuss all of the overtly prejudicial rulings O’Neill made, but we do have this: It had become clear that had the majority of these women accusing Cosby been Black, there would never have been a prosecution.
You might ask the logical question, “How do you know that?”
The answer is quite simple: R. Kelly has been accused for decades of sexually assaulted countless African-American females. Where is R. Kelly today? On tour.
When an African-American woman named Margo Jackson testified that Constand told her that she would essentially set up Cosby, she was not only ignored, but after the verdict, Steele had the audacity to say he would consider charging Jackson with perjury.
When African-American model Beverly Johnson accused Cosby of drugging her, the media took her down immediately and she hasn’t been heard from since. But when former supermodel — and very white — Janice Dickinson made her claims, she was not only embraced, but invited by Steele and the Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, masses, to come and testify.
In fact, they were outraged when Cosby’s defense attorneys grilled Dickinson about her claims and why she wrote in her 2002 autobiography that Cosby was such a gentleman. Dickinson’s book totally contradicted her own sworn testimony.
In the tome that she dedicated to her then-small children, she said she went to see Cosby, but first searched for drugs and got high and that she never had sex with Cosby.
Another woman testified that Cosby had offered her a quaalude in 1982, she took it to “get in the mood.”
Mainstream media refused to report any of this that took place before their very eyes. Many have been led to believe that Cosby slipped women a “mickey.” No one testified to that. It was a lie — anything to bring Cosby down.
Before the start of the trial, Assistant District Attorney Kristen Gibbons Feden incredulously brought race into the proceedings. When Cosby’s team suggested that prosecutors were intentionally keeping Blacks off the jury, Feden said, “You already got two,” a comment that many took to mean that they had their “tokens.”
Another ADA, Stuart Ryan, at one point showed his true colors, saying, “I’m tired of this Black s—.”
Just the other day, Tom Brokaw was accused of inappropriate sexual behavior at NBC, which prompted several women to come to his defense.
Lisa Bloom, the attorney representing Dickinson, earlier this year represented Harvey Weinstein, the real poster child for the #MeToo movement. She said she’d spoken to Weinstein and she wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Really? With all of the shaky and ever-changing testimony given by the women in the Cosby case, she can’t see giving him the benefit of the doubt?
They said the Cosby trial was about #MeToo, a movement that has thrown Black women to the curb. Black women, who’ve historically been subjected to rape, harassment and ridicule. Tossed aside, mocked and marginalized.
The Cosby trial was a simple reminder to Black America that you don’t stand a chance in the justice system.
The selective and over-the-top overt racism that apparently drove prosecutors and the judge also left one wondering what would have happened if these 60 accusers of Cosby were Black.
That’s an easy answer and will forever be until Black Women’s Lives Matter.