BILL COSBY: INMATE NN7687

September 27, 2018 at 4:45 am

America’s favorite TV dad is now inmate number nn7687 after being found guilty of sexual assault. We look at the case and the fallout.

Aired on September 26, 2018. 

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>>> BILL COSBY, ONCE AMERICA'S
DAD, IS NOW A SEXUALLY VIOLENT
PREDATOR WHO WILL SPEND UP TO
THE NEXT TEN YEARS IN A MAXIMUM
SECURITY PRISON.
THIS WAS THE SCENE AS THE
DISGRACED ACTOR WAS LED AWAY IN
HANDCUFFS, GUILTY OF DRUGGING
AND ASSAULTING ANDREA CONSTAND
IN 2004.
COSBY'S MANY ACCUSERS, WAITING
FOR MANY YEARS FOR THIS DAY,
VOWED THEIR FIGHT IS NOT OVER.
WHILE COSBY SAYS HE WILL APPEAL
THE CONVICTION, BECAUSE HE IS A
VICTIM OF RACISM AND OF "SEX WAR
GOING ON IN WASHINGTON TODAY."
THE CASE MARKS THE FIRST HIGH
PROFILE CONVICTION SINCE THE ME
TOO MOVEMENT CAST A SPOTLIGHT ON
STORIES OF SEXUAL ASSAULT,
PARTICULARLY THOSE IN HOLLYWOOD.
JOINING ME NOW TO PUT THE
VERDICT AND THE SENTENCING INTO
PERSPECTIVE IS ATTORNEY AND
LEGAL COMMENTATOR B.J.
BERNSTEIN.
WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.
>> HI, JENNA.
THANKS FOR HAVING ME AND TALKING
ABOUT THIS IMPORTANT TOPIC,
BECAUSE WITH THE NEWS WITH THE
SUPREME COURT AND WITH COSBY AND
WE'RE BOMBARDED WITH THIS,
CLARITY IS NEEDED ABOUT WHAT THE
LAW IS AND WHAT'S HAPPENING.
>> THAT IS VERY TRUE.
SINCE YOU JUST MENTIONED THE
SUPREME COURT, I DO WANT TO
MENTION THAT COSBY'S PR PERSON
CAME OUT AND OF THE MANY THINGS
THAT HE SAID, HE PUT BILL
COSBY'S CASE AND WHAT'S
HAPPENING TO BRETT KAVANAUGH,
THE ACCUSATIONS THAT HE'S NOW
FACING, INTO THE EXACT SAME
BOAT.
IS THAT FAIR TO DO?
>> IT'S GOOD LAWYERING PROBABLY
ON HIS POINT, TRYING TO PUT IT
ALL TOGETHER.
THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS,
THESE ISSUES WE'VE BEEN
STRUGGLING WITH FOR A LONG TIME.
THIS CONDUCT IS NOT NEW.
I HAVE BEEN PRACTICING LAW 31
YEARS, AND THESE ISSUES HAVE
ALWAYS COME UP IN CASES OF
SEXUAL ASSAULT.
AND YOU CAN'T COMPARE IT THAT
WAY.
>> ONE OF THE ISSUES THAT WE'VE
SEEN NOW WITH AT LEAST COSBY
BEING SENTENCED IS THAT FOR
PEOPLE WHO MIGHT STILL HAVE AN
EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT TO HIM, OR
AT LEAST TO THE CHARACTERS THAT
THEY KNEW HIM FROM IN THE '70s
AND '80s, IS IT WORTH PUTTING
SOMEONE WHO IS ALREADY SO OLD
AND SO DISABLED BEHIND BARS AND
PUNISHING THEM THIS WAY, WHY WAS
THAT NECESSARY FOR THE JUDGE TO
DO?
>> IT WAS NECESSARY, BECAUSE HE
WAS CONVICTED OF A SERIOUS
FELONY OFFENSE, A SEXUAL OFFENSE
THAT THE JUDGE PUT HIM ON THE
SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY AS
REQUIRED UNDER PENNSYLVANIA LAW.
AND SIT A MANDATORY MINIMUM OF A
PERIOD OF TIME OF INCARCERATION
WHEN YOU ASSAULT SOMEONE LIKE
THIS.
SO THAT -- THE FACT THAT THERE'S
A WINDOW HERE OF THREE TO TEN
COULD HAVE BEEN HARSHER,
PROBABLY DID TAKE INTO ACCOUNT
HIS AGE.
BUT IT DIDN'T CHANGE THE FACT
THAT A JURY CAME BACK WITH A
SERIOUS VERDICT AGAINST HIM.
>> DOES THE FACT THAT HIS LEGAL
TEAM PLANS TO APPEAL MAKE ANY
CHANGE OR DIFFERENCE?
WE KNOW HE WENT IMMEDIATELY TO
JAIL.
BUT DOES HIS LEGAL TEAM REALLY
STAND A CHANCE OF APPEALING AND
OVERTURNING THIS CONVICTION?
>> IT DEPENDS.
THERE ARE ALL THESE SMALL
ERRORS.
IN MY APPELLATE WORK, SOMETIMES
IT'S NOT THE BIG ISSUE OF GUILT
OR INNOCENCE, BUT THE SMALLER
DECISIONS MADE ALONG THE WAY.
WAS SOMEBODY STRUCK FROM THE
JURY THAT SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN?
WAS AN OBJECTION SUSTAINED THAT
SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN?
WAS INFORMATION HELD BACK?
I DIDN'T WATCH EVERY DAY OF THE
TRIAL, SO I COULDN'T TELL YOU.
BUT I WOULD NEVER TAKE ANYBODY'S
APPELLATE RIGHTS AWAY.
WHETHER YOU THINK THEY'RE GUILTY
OR NOT, AN APPELLATE OPPORTUNITY
IS CRUCIAL FOR EVERYONE, BECAUSE
IF SOMEONE IS INNOCENT THAT IS
FOUND GUILTY, YOU WANT TO FIND
WAYS TO EXONERATE THEM, IF
THAT'S THE CASE.
>> SPEAKING OF WHAT YOU WERE
JUST SAYING, ONE OF THE OTHER
THINGS I WANT TO HELP PEOPLE
UNDERSTAND IS HOW IS IT THAT
THIS CASE, WHEN FIRST BROUGHT TO
TRIAL, ENDED IN A HUNG JURY AND
RETRIED AND ENDS IN CONVICTION.
WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
THE TWO CASES?
>> THE MOST BLARING, IN THE
INITIAL CASE, ONLY ONE OTHER
WOMAN WAS ALLOWED TO TESTIFY.
ANDREA CONSTAND TESTIFIED AND
ONE OTHER PERSON.
THE SHIFT IN THE SECOND CASE IS
THERE WERE FIVE WOMEN WHO WERE
ABLE TO TESTIFY THAT THEY HAD
BEEN ASSAULTED BY COSBY AS PART
OF A SIMILAR TRANSACTION,
SHOWING A PATTERN ON THE PART OF
COSBY, OF MANIPULATING WOMEN,
GIVING THEM DRINKS, ET CETERA,
OR DRUGS.
AND THEN SEXUALLY ASSAULTING
THEM.
BUT THAT WAS CERTAINLY A BIG
SHIFT IN THE JUDGE'S HANDLING OF
THE CASE.
AND A JURY IS DIFFERENT EVERY
SINGLE TIME.
IT'S A DIFFERENT GROUP OF PEOPLE
WHO HAVE DIFFERENT LIFE
EXPERIENCES.
AND IN ONE CASE THEY CAN
DISAGREE AND IN ANOTHER CASE, A
DIFFERENT GROUP OF PEOPLE CAN
COME TOGETHER AND HAVE A
DIFFERENT VERDICT.
IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME WHEN
THERE IS A HUNG JURY AND THE
STATE COMES BACK AND TRIES A
CASE AGAIN.
>> WHEN IT COMES TO THE ISSUE OF
HOW THE LAW IS HANDLED, THERE'S
BEEN SO MUCH TALK, EVEN HERE IN
NEW YORK STATE, OF EXTENDING THE
STATUTE OF LIMITTATIONS.
THAT SEEMS TO BE ONE OF THE
HINDRANCES IN TERMS OF BRINGING
CHARGES AND SOME OF THESE OTHER
ACCUSATIONS WE'VE BEEN READING
ABOUT IN THE NEWS, THAT THE
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS HAS RUN
OUT, SO NOTHING CAN BE DONE.
IS THIS AN ISSUE THAT GETS
READDRESSED IN THE WAKE OF THIS
RECKONING OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT
OF WOMEN?
>> I THINK STATUTE OF LIM
LIMIT
LIMITATIONS, THEY ARE DIFFERENT
ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
A LOT OF STATES DO SOMETHING
WHERE YOU'RE ONLY -- YOU HAVE UP
TO THE AGE OF 18, AND THEN YOU
ADD SEVEN YEARS SO THAT
BASICALLY BY 26 OR 27, YOU NEED
TO HAVE TOLD SOMEONE, YOU CAN'T
WAIT UNTIL YOUR 40s OR 50s TO
COME FORWARD.
IT'S GOING TO BE A HARD
DISCUSSION, BECAUSE THE FLIP
SIDE OF IT IS, BY NOT
ENCOURAGING PEOPLE AND MAKING IT
SAFE FOR THEM TO MAKE
ACCUSATIONS EARLIER, YOU DO MISS
IMPORTANT EVIDENCE, AND IT'S
HARDER TO CONVICT SOMEONE 10,
15, 20 YEARS LATER.
THAT HAPPENED IN COSBY.
THERE WAS A HUNG JURY.
THEY WERE TROUBLED BY THE LENGTH
OF TIME THAT WENT BY FROM THESE
ALLEGATIONS.
SO ALL OF THIS IS SAYING THAT AS
THE COUNTRY -- WE TALK ABOUT
SEX, WE HAVE ALL THESE THINGS
ABOUT SEX, AND YET WE DON'T TALK
ABOUT IT IN TERMS OF THE LAW AND
WHAT IT MEANS AND ITS IMPACT.
AND THAT CONVERSATION, ME TOO
HAS STARTED A CONVERSATION.
WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE SUPREME
COURT AND KAVANAUGH ON THE OTHER
NEW ALLEGATIONS COMING OUT WITH
HIM, BRINGS UP MORE ISSUES, AS
WELL.
HOW DO YOU DEFEND AGAINST IT IF
YOU ARE INNOCENT?
AND HOW ARE YOU PROTECTED TO
MAKE SURE THAT SOMEONE IS HELD
ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS
LATER ON?
AND THEN MOST OF THESE CASES ARE
HAPPENING FOR SITUATIONS IN THAT
AGE RANGE.
I KNOW WHEN I SEE 15 TO 25 YEARS
OLD.
>> B.J., THANK YOU FOR JOINING
US ON THE PROGRAM AND GIVING US
THE MUCH-NEEDED LEGAL
PERSPECTIVE INTO WHERE THE COSBY
CONVICTIONS FITS INTO THIS MUCH
LARGER DISCUSSION.
>> THANKS, JENNA.
>> THANK YOU.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, and Judy and Josh Weston.

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