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What’s Next for Bill Cosby?

June 19, 2017 | Posted by Steve Gustafson

Some of you reading this will find it hard to understand that for years Bill Cosby was America’s dad. Growing up in the 80s, millions watched Dr. Cliff Huxtable give life lessons and laughs on the The Cosby Show. Before that, his comedy albums were listened to religiously, and I can still recite his “Noah’s Ark” routine almost verbatim.

He even has the distinction of breaking the Hollywood color barrier by becoming the first black man to star in a TV drama series, I Spy in 1965.

All of that is forgotten as his reputation has hit bottom after dozens of women have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct, being accused of drugging and molesting one of them in 2004. He has stood by his claim it was consensual sex.

The trial ended in a hung jury but this doesn’t end his legal troubles.

Not even close.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele immediately came out and stated that he will retry Mr. Cosby on the criminal charge that he sexually assaulted Andrea Constand. Under Pennsylvania’s speedy trial law, the new trial should be set within 365 days. The prosecution will also appeal Judge Steven O’Neill’s ruling to exclude testimony from a dozen women who claim Cosby sexually assaulted them. “If the court allows more accusers next time to testify, it might make a difference,” said attorney Gloria Allred outside court.

While he remains free on bail, he lives under the reality of facing ten civil suits, many of them for defamation. In Massachusetts, Cosby is facing a federal defamation suit from seven accusers. Both sides continue to file motions and take discovery, but the court has issued a ruling preventing the plaintiffs’ attorneys from taking discovery from Cosby until the conclusion of the criminal trial. With the criminal case now set for a retrial, it appears that the Massachusetts civil case will be pushed back.

“If the parties previously agreed to stay the civil litigation pending the criminal trial, it is likely that they will continue that stipulation for a retrial,” said Priya Sopori, a partner at Greenberg Glusker. “Many of the civil cases will undoubtedly face issues regarding the statute of limitations, which are inevitably longer for criminal activity than for civil liability; but stipulations to stay often include an agreement to toll (a legal term for hitting the pause button) the statute of limitations for the duration of the stay.”

Former model and actress Janice Dickinson has also filed a defamation suit against Cosby in California. She alleges that he drugged and raped her in Lake Tahoe in 1982. That case is not affected by the delay in the criminal proceeding. “Our case goes on independently,” Dickinson’s attorney, Lisa Bloom, told Variety.

Allred is also representing accuser Judy Huth, who has a court date later this month in Santa Monica. Huth alleges that Cosby forced her to perform a sex act on her at the Playboy Mansion in 1974, when she was 15.

As for criminal charges, Bloom said a retrial typically favors the prosecution because in a second trial, attorneys for the accusers have already seen the legal strategy by the defense. “They can analyze everything in light of what they know now and probably put on a stronger case,” Bloom said. On that same note, the defense has seen Constand’s testimony and can adjust its approach on cross-examination. “Now they have a full record that their investigators can go out and use to obtain impeachment material,” said Steven Fairlie, a criminal defense attorney in Philadelphia who has been tracking the case. “Then the defense attorneys can plan out a more effective cross-examination.”

Bloom stated “This is not a victory for Bill Cosby today. It’s not an acquittal. It’s a mistrial. This is just a reset.”

What of Bill Cosby himself?

It has been reported that he was confident that he would get a hung jury, saying they only needed to sway a single holdout. “All I need is one,” Cosby would say to those around him during breaks in the proceedings. “I only need one, man,” he reportedly say. In interviews he’s remained light about the proceedings, usually talking about his grandchildren or his intention to continue performing after the trials are settled.

But what of his reputation?

Social media was swift in its reaction to the hung jury, speaking out on Cosby and the victims of sexual assault. The court of public opinion has already reached their verdict and that comes from his own testimony. Cosby’s defense against Constand’s allegation that he drugged and raped her in 2004 was that the sex was consensual. His deposition testimony in her civil suit revealed that Cosby, someone who had a bestselling book about fatherhood, had procured Quaaludes for the sole reason of having sex with women who were not his wife. He and Camille Cosby have been married for 53 years so he was revealing a very different side of his life to the world.

What are your thoughts on the Cosby case and verdict? Is there any hope of redemption in the eyes of the public?

article topics :

Bill Cosby, Steve Gustafson