Monique Pressley, an attorney for Bill Cosby, spoke with HuffPost Live on Friday, and had several comments that leaped out. In fairness to Ms. Pressley, it must be difficult for anyone, especially a woman, to have to defend Bill Cosby and say things without feeling you're losing your soul. That's about as far as "in fairness," though as I can get. In the end, any attorney makes the choice to defend a client -- who's of course entitled to a defense -- while getting paid handsomely for it.
The first quote that leaped out was --
"I'm not speculating, I'm not thinking, I'm not opining, I'm not waxing poetic, but what I'm saying is women have responsibility. We have responsibility for our bodies, we have responsibility for our decisions, we have responsibility for the way we conduct ourselves".
I have to say that I do agree with Ms. Pressley here. She's not thinking. And it's pretty clear she's not waxing poetic either. Though what "waxing poetic" has to do with this, I'm not quite sure. It's all pretty ugly, as far from waxing poetic as one can get.
Later in the interview, one other thing she says that she's not doing, too, is victim-blaming. I'll jump in here and add even one more thing she's not doing -- giving any credit to the public for recognizing disingenuous hogwash. Because of course she's victim-blaming. Because otherwise, as the lawyer for Bill Cosby, what on earth is she doing? Giving a general philosophic on Women's Health Care 101?
Do women have a responsibility for their own bodies? For how they conduct themselves? You bet. So does everyone. Including men who slip drugs into women's drinks in order to abuse them against their will. But no matter how much responsibility you have for your body, if someone clocks you from behind, you're going to collapse in a heap of unconscious, regardless how nobly you conduct yourself.
Attorney Pressley also said --
The only way for a woman to get the justice that she seeks -- and that, if her allegation is true, that she deserves -- is to come forward [soon after the crime]. And even if the reasons that the women did not do that are legitimate ones, what cannot happen -- in my opinion, in the United States -- is that 40 years later there is a persecution tantamount to a witch hunt where there was no prosecution timely and there was no civil suit timely. And there's not any testimony or any accusation from any of these women that Mr. Cosby in any way bound them, gagged them, prevented them from coming forward and saying whatever their truth was at the time. That's not what happened.
It's uncertain if Ms. Pressley was thinking here either. Or opining or speculating. (Though she again doesn't appear to be waxing poetic.) Victim-blaming does seem to be on the table.
It's one thing, of course, to say that if people report a crime after the statute of limitations then the accused cannot be convicted of the crime. That's entirely different -- of course -- from the act never happening.
It's true that what is going on may well be tantamount to a witch hunt. What Ms. Pressley is overlooking, though, is that unlike Salem in 1692, there appears to be an actual witch. (Okay, an actual warlock, sorry, but the semantics just worked out that way.) Further, conducting "witch hunts" tend to suggest random searching for evidence based on nothing more than supposition or guessing. Here, though, we have actual people claiming to be actual victims with specific details. We also have Bill Cosby's own testimony now -- having been kept secret for years -- that gives credence to at least some of the charges.
One thing, however, that Monique Pressley might want to consider the next time she gets before a microphone, or before another human being with ears, is to not use the words, "bound them, gagged them," when trying to get across the point that her client didn't prevent any of the alleged victims from coming forward at the time. It just sort of sets up the wrong image about victims being bound or gagged for any other purpose.
Never mind that pretty much most people who are sentient creatures understand the many reasons a woman might not want to come forward to say she'd been sexually assaulted (the polite term) by anyone, but most especially one of the Most Beloved and Popular American Entertainers who sold Jello Pudding to kiddies and created a beloved, cherubic cartoon character and came into our living rooms every week for years as an invited guest for his warmth, kindness and all-knowing paternal wisdom, with a doctorate in education, no less.
Gee, who wouldn't want to make that accusation? And face disbelief and public scorn, shame and humiliation, being stigmatized? Just look at how they were disbelieved decades later, by Bill Cosby's fans and supporters -- and his lawyer Monique Pressley -- even with mounting support in numbers.
No, they they weren't physically restrained from coming forward at the time. As Ms. Pressley says, that's not what happened. What happened -- they say -- is that they were drugged and sexually assaulted.
I know that there's attorney-client privilege, but I'd just love to know if Monique Pressley was ever alone in a room with Bill Cosby, and how she reacted, even just for just the slightest instant, if he ever offered to make her a drink. To wind down at the end of the day. So she could relax.
I know she's proud about not thinking. But that would have been a good place to start doing otherwise.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
Feedspot Badge of Honor