Bill Cosby’s defense strategy includes false memories and blindness

Bill Cosby's Mugshot (Photo credit: Montgomery County Office of the District Attorney)
Bill Cosby’s mug shot (Photo credit: Montgomery County Office of the District Attorney)

The criminal trial for iconic comedian Bill Cosby, 79, will start in June and a peek at his defense strategy has some scratching their heads. He is facing up to 10 years in jail for the sexual assault of a group of women that spans decades. Cosby has maintained his innocence and claimed that any encounters he had with his accusers were consensual.

The salacious details of the alleged encounters are now well-known and include Cosby giving some of the women Quaaludes that rendered the women unable to defend themselves. In a damning deposition from  2005 and 2006, Cosby admitted tto giving women the drugs:

In the deposition, he admits that in 1976 he gave Quaaludes to a then-19-year-old Therese Serignese while in Las Vegas. That deposition reads in part:

Q: Did you give her Quaaludes?
A: Yes.
Q: What effect did the Quaaludes have on her?
A: She became in those days what was called high.
Q: She said that she believes she was not in the position to consent to intercourse after you gave her the drug. Do you believe that is correct?
A: I don’t know. … How many years ago are we talking about? 197(6)? … I meet Ms. Picking in Las Vegas. She meets me backstage. I give her Quaaludes. We then have sex.

His statements reflected a continuing pattern of a sexual predator, but his lawyer stated that some of his accusers are victims of false memories. Cosby’s attorney, Angela Agrusa, implied in a recent media interview that his accusers may have been influenced by disparaging headlines about her client. Agrusa may try to discredit witnesses by using the psychological phenomena known as “false memory creation.” In other words, the witnesses firmly believe they were assaulted based on the negative publicity about Cosby who is, in fact, innocent.

In addition, Agrusa will seek sympathy for Cosby, who is now blind and unable to identify his accusers. Even one of Cosby’s daughters released a letter in defense of her father. Evin Cosby wrote:

“My dad tried to defend himself. His lawyers tried to defend him, but they all got sued. People were constantly reaching out to me about why doesn’t your dad say something. I kept saying he’s trying, but the media is only interested in the stories of the women. I know that my father loves me, loves my sisters and my mother. He loves and respects women. He is not abusive, violent or a rapist.”

She went on to write, “Sure, like many celebrities tempted by opportunity, he had his affairs, but that was between him and my mother. They have worked through it and moved on, and I am glad they did for them and for our family.”

Cosby has announced that after the trial he intends to return to performing and is working on new material. “Ultimately, we want to make it safe again to enjoy a great episode of ‘The Cosby Show,’ ” his lawyer said.

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