By MARYCLAIRE DALE, Associated Press
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 33-minute segment broadcast Tuesday, less than a week before jury selection gets underway. Smerconish said on his Facebook page that he agreed to air audio from the Cosby family “only if I could interview Bill Cosby.” The program included about four minutes of recorded excerpts from statements two of his daughters made and an interview one daughter conducted with him.
Cosby, who turns 80 in July, 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,” Erinn 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 ended the interview with a quote from feminist Gloria Steinem and said he hoped to again experience “the laughter and the enjoyment” of writing and performing on stage.
“And then I want to take other things and move it to halls, churches, etc., etc., to give what I feel will be motivational and informational and drive people to make changes in themselves,” he said.
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 AP.
This story has been corrected to show that Smerconish is a radio host on SiriusXM, not Sirius, that Cosby is 79, not 80, and that Smerconish agreed to air excerpts of the daughters’ audio, not the audio in its entirety.
(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)