While it’s still subject to change, a date has been tenatively set for what could be the biggest celebrity trial since O.J. Simpson. According to Deadline and myriad other news sources, Bill Cosby could stand trial for the alleged 2004 rape of Andrea Constand as soon as June 5, 2017. If convicted, Cosby could face up to a decade in jail and millions of dollars in fines stemming from three charges of felony second-degree aggravated indecent assault brought against the now-safe-to-say-former comedian.
The case was originally supposed to go to trial in the spring, but scheduling issues for Cosby’s attorneys reportedly forced the change. Meanwhile, the AP reports that prosecutors have been interviewing the more than 50 women who have come forward to accuse Cosby of rape and have selected 13 as potential witnesses in the trial. Cosby’s defense reportedly plans to cross-examine these witnesses, but have moved to have other pieces of evidence, like a phone call between Constand’s mother and Cosby that was taped without his knowledge, barred from the courtroom entirely. As for Cosby himself, his attorneys have told the judge that he is now blind, although The AP notes that his eyes appeared “less milky” as he talked with his defense team today than they had in previous pre-trial hearings.
The impending trial date has been reached despite the best efforts of Cosby’s defense team, which has tried several times to have the charges thrown out; now that a trial is seemingly inevitable, they have released this statement:
Mr. Cosby is no stranger to discrimination and racial hatred, and throughout his career Mr. Cosby has always used his voice and his celebrity to highlight the commonalities and has portrayed the differences that are not negative — no matter the race, gender and religion of a person.
Yet, over the last fourteen months, Mr. Cosby, and those who have supported him, have been ignored, while lawyers like Gloria Allred hold press conferences to accuse him of crimes for unwitnessed events that allegedly occurred almost a half century earlier.
The time has come to shine a spotlight on the trampling of Mr. Cosby’s civil rights. Gloria Allred apparently loves the media spotlight more than she cares about justice. She calls herself a civil rights attorney, but her campaign against Mr. Cosby builds on racial bias and prejudice that can pollute the court of public opinion. And when the media repeats her accusations – with no evidence, no trial and no jury – we are moved backwards as a country and away from the America that our civil rights leaders sacrificed so much to create.
Mr. Cosby is not giving up the fight for his rights.