Reactions to Cosby’s sentence: Accusers and allies speak

The eyes of America were on Bill Cosby on Tuesday as his trial ended with a three-to-10-year prison sentence for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his home in 2004.

In the highly anticipated hearing in Montgomery County Court in Pennsylvania, Judge Steven T. O’Neill also remanded Mr. Cosby to custody immediately and denied his request to be released on bail pending appeal.

Here is a collection of reactions from within and outside the courtroom.

One of the strongest responses came from Janice Dickinson, a model and Cosby accuser whose case did not result in criminal charges.

“The rape is etched into my soul,” she said in a statement. “I will never be the same.”

Ms. Dickinson testified during the trial that Mr. Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in a Lake Tahoe hotel room in 1982. Her lawyer, Lisa Bloom, who said Ms. Dickinson had been prepared to read her words in court, shared the statement on social media.

Katherine Mae McKee, who accused Mr. Cosby of raping her in a Detroit hotel room in 1974, gave an emotional interview to CNN immediately after the verdict was announced, in which she said it had stirred up “very difficult and “deep emotions.”

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN: Let me bring in Kathy McKee, who has been waiting, who has accused Cosby of attacking her in a hotel room in 1974. She has filed a defamation lawsuit against Cosby’s defence team that is now headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. So Kathy, thank you so much for being with me and how are you feeling right about now as he’s being sentenced?

KATHERINE MAE MCKEE: Well, thank you. I’m very happy to be able to be here today. Just listening to this is stirring up some very difficult and deep emotions for me. Because I was a part — I saw the violence in Bill Cosby when he attacked me and it’s hard. It’s very difficult to try and make it go away. It surfaces. I was doing very well holding it together until I began to hear these last few words.

Being attacked in 1974 by Bill Cosby, who was, at the time my good friend, I thought, my buddy — someone I worked with, was a horrible thing to happen. It’s caused me a lifetime of problems emotionally — work issues, being in the industry, the television business. It’s been very difficult on me. And I feel a great deal of sorrow for all the women that this has happened to and not just with Bill Cosby, you know, but everywhere. I’m just struggling to keep going every day. And I’m happy that the judge sentenced Bill Cosby accordingly and I’m grateful to Andrea [Constand, the victim in the case] for standing strong.

Gloria Allred, the lawyer who represents several of Mr. Cosby’s accusers, spoke outside the courtroom, saying “We’re glad that judgment day has finally come for Mr. Cosby.”

She called the two Cosby trials in the Constand case “a long journey to justice for all of the accusers, particularly for Andrea Constand and for her family,” adding:

Mr. Cosby has shown no remorse, and there has been no justice for many of the accusers who were barred from a court by the arbitrary time limits imposed by the statute of limitations. But many of them were brave enough to speak to law enforcement and some of them were chosen to speak as prior bad act witnesses. So we are very proud those who cooperated with law enforcement and did what [they] could do to have a just result.

RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the prominent anti-sexual assault group, issued a statement saying:

“The women who shared their stories in the Cosby trial and sentencing showed admirable courage and strength. We are grateful that the court understood the seriousness of Cosby’s crime and sentenced him to prison. Let’s hope that the legacy of this case is that victims feel empowered to come forward, knowing that it can truly make a difference in bringing perpetrators to justice.”

Andrew Wyatt, Bill Cosby’s publicist, gave a scathing statement outside the courthouse, accusing prosecutors of fabricating evidence, referring to a “sex war” and to the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and saying that Mr. Cosby’s prosecution had “been the most racist and sexist trial in the history of the United States.” He called Mr. Cosby “one of the greatest educators of men and boys over the last 50 years.” He also made several accusations:

All three of the psychologists who testified against Dr. Cosby were white women who make money off of accusing black men of being sexual predators.

It is no accident that the prosecutor still worked so close with anti-black and anti-male activist groups who tried to extort $100 million from Dr. Cosby in 2014 and continues to produce racist and sexist publicity against him through the 35 clients. What is going on in Washington today with Judge Kavanaugh is part of that sex war that Judge O’Neill, along with his wife, are a part of. Regarding the psychologist Kristen Dudley [an expert witness for the state] she is a practitioner of mindfulness. This is an eastern-inspired practice that is controversial in the field of psychology.

[Tell us how this week’s #MeToo news has affected you and what you feel is at stake.]

Camille Cosby, Mr. Cosby’s wife, also issued a statement outside the courthouse which was read by her publicist, Ebonee Benson, who said evidence in the case had been falsified:

We have now learned and will prove that Bill Cosby was denied his right to a fair trial because the D.A. of Montgomery County, Kevin Steele, used falsified evidence against him.

After being tipped off by a recent online publication that a tape recording Mr. Steele played during trial was doctored, Mr. Cosby retained a forensic expert to conduct an audio authenticity analysis of the recording. Gianna Constand, the mother of Andrea Constand, had surreptitiously and illegally made the recording of Mr. Cosby in 2005 without his knowledge or consent. That recording was provided to Bruce Castor while he was D.A. of Montgomery County.

Mr. Castor determined that Gianna Constand’s surreptitious recording constituted a potential felony under Pennsylvania’s law, required Miss Constand to obtain Mr. Cosby’s consent to the recording. Years later in 2014, Kevin Steele beat Mr. Castor for D.A. by unethically attacking him for not prosecuting my husband.

He thereafter used the illegal recording in both trials claiming that it was an authentic recording of the 2005 conversation. Mr. Steele relied heavily on the recording in both trials, ultimately convincing the jury in the second trial to return a verdict of guilty.

Sonia Osorio, president of the National Organization for Women, New York, issued a statement that said:

Bill Cosby seeing the inside of a cell sends a strong message that predators — no matter who they are, from Hollywood to Wall Street to the Supreme Court — can no longer be protected at the expense of victims.

The courageous survivors who spoke out and the diligent prosecutors made his trial and conviction possible. They exposed Bill Cosby, and they helped pave the way for the #MeToo movement that is transforming our world.

He added:

For decades the defendant has been able to hide his true self and hide his crimes, using his fame and fortune. He’s hidden behind a character created, Dr. Cliff Huxtable. It was a seminal character on TV and so was the family, but it was fiction. Before Bill Cosby became a convicted felon taken away in handcuffs to begin paying for his crimes, a lot of people believed that that’s who he was. But we know otherwise. He used his acting skills and endearing TV personality to win over his victims and then keep them silent about what he did to them. So now finally, Bill Cosby has been unmasked and we have seen the real man as he is headed off to prison.


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