USA TODAY is among about a dozen other publications reporting that Bill Cosby appeared in court this morning for a hearing in his ongoing sexual assault case. Upon entering the courthouse, Cosby quipped, “Don’t tase me, bro,” to several of the security officers outside of the Philadelphia courtroom.
And that’s not even the worst part about this story.
Prosecutors in the case are hoping to call 13 other sexual assault accusers to establish that Cosby had a pattern of drugging and molesting women. To counter those allegations, and hopefully discredit the accusers, the defense will, “attack their credibility and relevance as they try to keep them off the witness stand at the trial,” which is scheduled for sometime in the spring.
Hunker down behind whatever you’re using to read this, because Cosby’s defense lawyer, Brian McMonagle, described his plan in an October defense briefing opposing the testimony:
“To come up with the required showing of a ‘signature,’ the commonwealth reaches for a cliché: a giant in the entertainment industry using his power to take advantage of young aspiring actresses. Even if proven … the age-old ‘casting couch’ is not unique to Mr. Cosby.”
And to double down on his awfulness, McMonagle has petitioned to ask each accuser as many as 80 questions while he maintains that the accusations are out of date, vague, and were not properly vetted at the time. The defense has also questioned the accusers’ motivation, saying that a majority of them are clients of celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred, who has suggested Cosby should put up a $100 million settlement fund for potential sexual assault and defamation claims. Allred spoke with The Associated Press last week and said that her clients have a duty to testify if the court wants to hear from them and that any dismissal of their accounts from the defense is “out of context or just plain wrong.”
Now, I know I’m not the most qualified person here to speak about the law. I’m barely qualified to speak about most things. Here’s the thing though, McMonagle: You’re not wrong. This “casting couch” is not unique. It has several perverse iterations, even to this day. The problem therein lies when your client and your defense team have to find a way to discredit 58 accusers’ testimonies. FIFTY-EIGHT WOMEN WHO WANT TO SEE YOU BURN. When 58 people are telling you that you’re dying, it’s time to lie down.
This hearing has been tension-filled from the get-go. District Attorney Kevin Steele fought with Cosby lawyer Brian McMonagle over the defense’s wish to identify accusers by name in public documents and in a court hearing. Steele then become enraged when McMonagle argued that prosecutors gave him the names of the accusers. Steele had argued that the names were disclosed during the pretrial discovery and were not of the public record and therefore suggested that Cosby’s defense team was publicizing them in an attempt to intimidate them from testifying.
McMonagle said many of them had already gone public with their allegations. “These are witnesses in a trial. They are not children.”
So sure, “don’t tase me, bro” might be a cutesy little remark to preface a sexual assault trial, but not so secretly, more than 58 women would prefer to have you go down in flames, Mr. Cosby. And we’re ready to burn this mutha’ down.