Advertisement
The VICE Guide to Right Now

Bill Cosby Still Thinks He Could Have a Future in Showbiz

The comic's first interview in two years was all about rehabilitating his image in anticipation of his rape trial next month.

by Allie Conti
May 16 2017, 10:00pm

Bill Cosby attends a pre-trial hearing on April 3. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)

Angela Agrusa has one of the thornier gigs in the legal profession. Her client, disgraced comedian Bill Cosby, has been accused of sexual assault by dozens of women. And while some diehards probably won't believe the comedian is guilty no matter what, it's going to be near impossible for her to find an open-minded jury given the relentless media coverage (most of it negative) raining down on the defendant.

After taking a beating in the press amid allegation after allegation of drugging and raping women, Cosby was formally charged with sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in December 2015. Jury selection for the trial, which centers on an incident in 2004, finally begins Monday.

From the start, there were several strategies Agrusa could employ to defend her client, like claiming his sexual interaction with his accuser was consensual, or arguing that the district attorney—who made political hay of Cosby on the campaign trail—was somehow unduly pressured to prosecute the aging celebrity.

Last month, we got a better sense of what a Cosby defense might look like when Agrusa told the Hollywood Reporter she planned to rehabilitate the alleged serial sexual assailant's image—and also maybe propose that Constand had concocted a false memory of the assault.

Two of Cosby's daughters gave tape statements to The Breakfast Club earlier this week, but the interview with Cosby himself shows his PR tour is now in full force.

On Tuesday, he consented to his first interview in two years with a Sirius XM radio host. Michael Smerconish, who broadcasts out of Philadelphia, agreed to play audio of Cosby being interviewed by his daughter while the two of them chatted. Their conversation touched on the meal Cosby had delivered for his wife on Mother's Day, how he wants to get back into the motivational speaking game (!), and that he thought his legal problems may at least partially stem from racism, as one of his daughters suggested.

He also said that he would not be taking the stand to defend himself.

Many of Cosby's responses were rambling, confusingly worded, or difficult to parse grammatically. But the strangest part of the interview came when Cosby quoted feminist icon Gloria Steinem in saying, "The truth shall set you free, but first it might piss you off." (Steinhem, who hosts the VICELAND show WOMAN, was confused by citation of her, to say the least.)

Jury selection begins May 22, and the trial itself is set to begin June 5.

Follow Allie Conti on Twitter.