De­fense: Cosby is a vic­tim of ‘racial bias’

En­ter­tainer faces trial for al­leged 2004 sex as­sault

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@21st-cen­tu­ry­media. com @Mont­coCourtNews on Twit­ter

Bill Cosby’s lawyers claimed they can­not ig­nore the ‘racial bias’ present in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem.

NOR­RIS­TOWN >> In their most re­cent re­quest to dis­miss sex as­sault charges against Bill Cosby his lawyers claimed they can­not ig­nore “the un­for­tu­nate role that racial bias still plays in our crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem.”

“In a bet­ter world, racial bias would be a specter of the past, or, bet­ter yet, nonex­is­tent,” lawyers Brian J. McMona­gle and An­gela C. Agrusa wrote in court pa­pers in which they claim the en­ter­tainer is a vic­tim of racial bias, an un­fair me­dia blitz and a prose­cu­tors’ decade-old de­lay in bring­ing sex­ual as­sault charges against him.

The racial bias, Cosby’s lawyers sug­gested, is ev­i­dent in a re­quest by Montgomery County prose­cu­tors to al­low 13 ad­di­tional women to tes­tify at Cosby’s trial to bol­ster their con­tention that Cosby sex­u­ally as­saulted Andrea Con­stand, a for­mer Tem­ple Univer­sity ath­letic de­part­ment em­ployee, at his Chel­tenham home in 2004. The 13 women al­lege to also have been the vic­tims of Cosby’s in­ap­pro­pri­ate con­duct be­tween 1960 and 1990 and Dis­trict At­tor­ney Kevin R. Steele has ar­gued their tes­ti­mony is rel­e­vant at trial to show Cosby’s be­hav­iors “took on a form of a com­mon plan, scheme or de­sign.”

“Only one of those women self-iden­ti­fies as AfricanAmer­i­can,” McMona­gle and Agrusa claimed. “The com­mon­wealth’s choice preys upon sub­con­scious (or per­haps con­scious) be­liefs that a white woman is less likely to con­sent to sex with a black man, par­tic­u­larly in the 1960s and 1970s, the time pe­riod the com­mon­wealth chose to fo­cus on.

“This turns the pre­sump­tion of in­no­cence that Mr. Cosby is en­ti­tled to into a pre­sump­tion of guilt, and runs counter to the ba­sic prin­ci­ples upon which the United States was founded,” the lawyers added.

McMona­gle ar­gued some

of the 13 women have been pa­raded in front of the me­dia by high-pro­file, civil rights lawyers like Glo­ria Allred, who rep­re­sents some of the women.

“And the public jumps into a mob, will­ing to be­lieve un­sub­stan­ti­ated, decades-old al­le­ga­tions against an African-Amer­i­can cit­i­zen who has spent the last half a cen­tury try­ing to foster an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the com­mon­al­i­ties of ev­ery Amer­i­can, re­gard­less

of race, gen­der or re­li­gion,” McMona­gle wrote. “There is no hope that Mr. Cosby can re­ceive a trial free from out­side in­flu­ence in Montgomery County, as due process re­quires.”

Cosby, 79, faces a June 5, 2017, trial on charges of ag­gra­vated in­de­cent as­sault in con­nec­tion with his al­leged in­ap­pro­pri­ate con­tact with Con­stand.

Steele will have the op­por­tu­nity to ad­dress the de­fense lawyers’ claims when Judge Steven T. O’Neill holds a hear­ing on the de­fense re­quest to dis­miss charges. Steele in­di­cated Thurs­day he is draft­ing

a re­sponse to McMona­gle’s wide-rang­ing pre­trial mo­tion.

It’s not the first time McMona­gle in­voked race in the case.

Af­ter Cosby’s pre­trial hear­ing Sept. 6, McMona­gle said from the court­house steps, “Mr. Cosby has spent his en­tire life try­ing to fight against in­jus­tice, try­ing to help other peo­ple over­come racism and prej­u­dice,” and claimed the me­dia has pre­sumed Cosby guilty, not in­no­cent.

“The me­dia has cham­pi­oned the causes of his ac­cusers with lit­tle thought to in­ves­ti­ga­tion, with lit­tle

thought to ex­pos­ing the mo­ti­va­tions be­hind any ac­cu­sa­tions …” McMona­gle said at the time.

That same day, Cosby spokesman An­drew Wy­att fired off a state­ment ex­pound­ing on the de­fense team’s claims.

“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 14 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 state­ment read.

Wy­att claimed Cosby’s civil rights have been tram­pled upon and ar­gued the cam­paign against him “builds on racial bias and prej­u­dice that can pol­lute the court of public opin­ion.”

McMona­gle also claims

Cosby’s “due process rights were vi­o­lated” by the prose­cu­tion’s “un­jus­ti­fied tenyear de­lay” in fil­ing charges against him. Cosby has fur­ther been prej­u­diced by the de­lay in his ar­rest be­cause his eye­sight and mem­ory have “con­sid­er­ably de­clined” in the 11-year pe­riod since the al­leged as­sault, pre­vent­ing him from as­sist­ing in his de­fense, McMona­gle wrote in court pa­pers.

McMona­gle ar­gued nu­mer­ous fac­tors “cre­ated a per­fect storm of prej­u­dice, bias and de­lay that re­quires dis­missal of the stale charges against Bill Cosby.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Bill Cosby de­parts af­ter a pre­trial hear­ing in his sex­ual as­sault case at the Montgomery County Court­house in Nor­ris­town on Sept. 6.

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