As trial nears, Bill Cosby says racism could be a factor

Author: Associated Press
FILE – In this April 3, 2017, file photo, Bill Cosby departs after a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa. Cosby says he doesn’t expect to testify at his Pennsylvania sexual assault trial. spoke to Sirius radio host Michael Smerconish in an interview being broadcast Tuesday. Smerconish says he agreed to air an uncut, 82-minute conversation between Cosby and his daughters in exchange for the interview. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Bill Cosby said he doesn’t expect to testify at his sexual assault trial and suggested that racism “could be” behind the scores of accusations against him.

Cosby also said he thinks the approximately 60 women who have accused him of sexual misconduct came forward only after earlier allegations raised a decade ago died down.

“The piling on, so to speak, is a way and certainly an impressive way to get public opinion to come to the other side,” Cosby said.

The comedian spoke to SiriusXM radio host Michael Smerconish in a half-hour interview broadcast Tuesday, less than a week before jury selection gets underway. Smerconish said he agreed to air more than an hour of uncut conversations between Cosby and his daughters in exchange for the interview, which a Cosby spokesman said was taped Monday.

Cosby, 80, said his lawyers won’t let him discuss the criminal case. However, he said he has “never, never” lost the support of his wife, Camille. They have been married for over 50 years.

Daughter Ensa Cosby said she believes “racism has played a role” in the accusations against her father. Asked to respond, Bill Cosby said, “It could be.”

Another daughter, Erinn, said her father has been condemned “unjustly and cruelly” in the court of public opinion.

“Like the cruel history of our people, the legal system and the protections of the law do not seem to exist for him today,” Erin Cosby said.

Bill Cosby described his health as generally good but said glaucoma has left him legally blind. He said he did not do the interview to try to influence jurors.

“You can’t aim at jurors,” he said.

The jury will be chosen starting Monday in Pittsburgh, then sequestered about 300 miles away for the trial in suburban Philadelphia. The trial is expected to last about two weeks.

Cosby explained that he does not want to testify because he fears trying to give a truthful answer without opening up “a can of something” while his lawyers “are scrambling.”

He also said he believes there are more than two sides to every story.

Cosby is accused of drugging and molesting Andrea Constand, then a Temple University employee, in 2004 at his home. He has pleaded not guilty and remains free on $1 million bail. He settled Constand’s civil suit in 2006 for an undisclosed sum after giving deposition testimony that became public in 2015.

Cosby, in that deposition, described sexual liaisons with a string of young women, some of whom say he sexually assaulted them after giving them drugs or alcohol. Parts of his deposition are expected to be aired at the criminal trial. The judge will allow one other accuser to testify for the prosecution and said prosecutors can reference Cosby’s testimony about getting quaaludes in the 1970s to give women before sex.

The Associated Press doesn’t typically identify people who say they are the victims of sexual assault unless they come forward publicly, as Constand has done.

Cosby, through spokesman Andrew Wyatt, has declined to speak to The Associated Press.

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