Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Bill Cosby Found Guilty in Sexual Assault Trial. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired April 26, 2018 - 14:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[14:30:00] GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY: Bill Cosby, three words for you: Guilty, guilty, guilty!

(CHEERING)

ALLRED: Thank you.

I'm happy to take any questions. I'm sure others would like to speak as well but let's just have some questions first.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY FOR BILL COSBY ACCUSER: All right. Thank you.

Who would like to speak?

Do you want to ask a question first or do you want them to speak?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

ALLRED: We'll let Victoria go first.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want to thank D.A. Steele and his amazing team and all of the people who believed in us every step of the way. We are so grateful to all of you and thank you, thank you, thank you, we are vindicated, we are validated, and we are now part of the tsunami of women's power and justice. We are not shutting up and we're not going away. Get over it.

ALLRED: Thank you.

LILI BERNARD, BILL COSBY ACCUSER: I stand here in the spirit of Martin Luther King who said that the arc of the moral universe is long, but today it has bent towards justice. Last year, I was sitting in the courtroom of the first trial and the verdict was hung, I left with such a tremendous sense of disappointment. And it became evident to me that the justice system is light years behind modern culture. But today this jury has shown that what the #metoo movement is saying is that women are worthy of being believed.

I thank the jury, I thank the prosecution. I looked at that one black man on the jury and I looked upon as my son and I know the disappointment he felt of looking at a beloved black male iconic father figure and being able to render a guilty verdict. This is a victory not just for Andrea Constand, who I consider to be the Joan of Arc in the war on rape. It is not just a victory for the commonwealth, it is not just a victory for the 62 of us publicly known Cosby survivors who Gloria Allred has helped give a voice. This is also a victim for womanhood and it is a victim for all sexual assault survivors, female and male. And I thank you all in the media. You are the pillars of democracy. Without you, none of this would have happened.

(CHEERING)

ALLRED: So one last point, which is, I said before the verdict, how many women does it take for one woman to be believed over the denial of one rich, powerful, famous man? And the answer in this case is four.

All right. Thank you so much. And we'll see you later.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: There she is, Gloria Allred. She represented some of the women, some of the accusers of Bill Cosby.

Once again, Bill Cosby has been convicted of all three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

Mark Geragos, let me get your reaction to what we just heard from Gloria Allred.

MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's not my first rodeo with Gloria and having her exalt or be depressed when you go outside. I'll give her a pass for that. At some point, I think it's not proper to be cheered when somebody is convicted. It's a little unseemly. But I understand where she's coming from.

BLITZER: Laura, what do you think?

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think it was an opportunity of Gloria capitalizing on the moment, should the victim speak, or should she take more questions? That's a fair criticism. However, it doesn't change the fact that a jury in a public court of law who has seen the evidence and her statement saying, how many women does it take to convicted and believe the women, and she said that number is four. That number will come back to haunt the appellant process.

Normally, you would not allow somebody who was not a part of the immediate case to be able to come in and tell their story if it's wholly unrelated. You have the kind of M.O. and pattern of behavior here you may see here, and that's why this is so important. I do think the statements made today in front of the podium largely mimic and track the #metoo movement. Again, it wasn't the #metoo movement on trial. It was Bill Cosby on trial here. It was in large ways it was whether the #metoo movement in the form of additional testaments of women was going to be the key here, and we see it really was important.

[14:35:17] BLITZER: Mark Geragos, were you surprised that the judge in this particular case said Cosby can go home, he can stay in his House, cannot leave the state, GPS monitoring should be attached but he's not going to jail as he awaits sentencing?

GERAGOS: I'm very surprised. Generally, I would tell you 999 times out of a thousand in state court, a judge will remand you. It's almost automatic. So he caught a break there. I'm not surprised by the verdict. I'm also -- I don't think that the appellate issue of the other complaining witnesses testifying is going to be that big of a stretch. In California, for instance, this has been the state of the law for virtual live 20 years. So this is not new territory in other jurisdictions.

I think that there will be a real issue on whether the judge should have given some guidance on when the jury asked, what is the definition of consent. And that should have taken place. But that's down the road. And I think for Mr. Cosby the big problem is going to be, am I going to stay out of prison, is this judge going to send me to prison. Today was a pretty good indication that at least the judge has not made up his mind. If the judge had made up his mind that he was going to send him to prison or he was mandated to send him to prison, he would have been remanded, which meant put into custody today.

BLITZER: Still a $1 million bail that he's had. And he's appeared at all the court appearances. The judge pointed out that's presumably one of the reasons. He's also 80 years old and losing a lot of his eyesight.

I want to go to Erica Hill, who has been working on this case for a long time as well.

Erica, what do you think of this?

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There was an audible gasp in my office when this came down. Even talking to different producers I've worked with on this. No one was really sure where this would go. That's why there was so much interest, not just because it's Bill Cosby. Obviously, that makes interest high. Not simply because it's a retrial. But as you've been talking about extensively Wolf, the fact that these five other accusers were allowed to testify.

And there's been a lot of back and forth amongst attorneys about whether or not they should have been let in. Even though the five were allowed to testify, should they have all testified, could this have hurt the prosecution's chances? So a lot of that coming up. But it also raises the question, as you just pointed out, Wolf, what happens now to Bill Cosby. So many people waiting for information on when the sentencing will be, what will happen to him in the interim. He is 80 years old, he is in failing health. There are some very distinct camps here as we continue to follow the developments, Bill Cosby convicted on all three counts, found guilty.

BLITZER: We just saw him walking out with Tom Meszaros, his attorney. There's Tom Meszaros in the white hair, and others. Bill Cosby should be walking out as well. Yes, there he is. He's holding on to an individual helping him walk. He's losing a lot of his eyesight.

Erica, you've been covering this for a while. Presumably, he's heading home right now.

HILL: That's what one would imagine. We're waiting to see exactly where he goes. As you point out Tom Meszaros there, this was a new defense team, of course, for Bill Cosby and a lot of focus on that. Tom Meszaros is a very well-known attorney in this country. As much as he may keep to himself, everybody knows who he is. So there was a lot of focus on this new defense team. It's also interesting to see how Bill Cosby's demeanor changed this time around in the retrial.

Back in the last trial in June that ended with a hung jury, which is why we were back where we were today, Bill Cosby would come in, he had a lot more people with him when he would walk into court, he was more vocal, waving at cameras, saying at thing things when he came in and out of court. He was, as our Jean Casarez described him, much more mild mannered. Didn't have much reaction in court. Not much reaction on the way in or out of court. The one reaction that got a lot of attention came in court during the prosecution's closing arguments when the prosecutor said that Bill Cosby appeared to be laughing --

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Hold on a second. Here's Bill Cosby approaching the microphone. Let's see if he says anything. You saw him raise his hand. Let's just listen in.

(CROSSTALK)

[14:40:28] UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. Meszaros, your reaction to the verdict?

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. Meszaros, what is your reaction, sir?

TOM MESZAROS, ATTORNEY FOR BILL COSBY: We are very disappointed by the verdict. We don't think Mr. Cosby's guilty of anything. And the fight is not over.

Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you going to appeal, sir?

MESZAROS: Yes. Yes, very strongly.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is Mr. Cosby prepared to go to prison?

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. Cosby, are you prepared to go to prison, sir?

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: All right. So didn't hear from Bill Cosby directly. His attorney, the well-known criminal defense attorney, Tom Meszaros, clearly expressing his disappointment. The fight, he said, is not over.

Laura, this got sort of personal between the attorneys representing the accusers and Tom Meszaros. You heard Gloria Allred take that direct swipe at him in her statement.

COATES: Certainly. And look at the stark contrast between the way Tom Meszaros already at his vehicle was called back by a representative of Bill Cosby to then come in front. A very different presser was given by the attorney for Bill Cosby. But you're right. The idea there has been animosity and an adversarial relationship is also reflected in the court of public opinion as view to bring this case.

It was just days shy of the statute of limitations lapsing before the new D.A., newly elected on a campaign promise, to try to ensure there was justice against Bill Cosby, who used the campaign podium to obliterate the justification of the former D.A.'s decision not to actually prosecute Bill Cosby. It was a point of contention for a variety of reasons. There was the optics of the fact that, although it was Bill Cosby who was known at America's father because of the "Cosby Show" years, many people viewed this as an attack and a targeting of a particular African-American man of extreme prominence. Others viewed this decision to prosecute him as a form of a phrase we know very well these days, a witch hunt.

Ultimately, you see here a battle between two different sets of attorneys, one including Gloria Allred, who represents, she said, over 30 of the alleged accusers of Bill Cosby. That number, in and of itself, has extreme gravitas. So does her words and statements. Remember, you heard her say, Wolf, "Tom Meszaros, you tried and failed." It wasn't an attack even on Bill Cosby and his conduct. It was of a personal nature. But it's not uncommon for an attorney who has all these different clients to take personal issue with what's happening on the other side.

Again, it brings us back consistently to the notion that Bill Cosby changed his defense team. He changed his defense strategy. He changed the way in which they decided to go after Andrea Constand. And that combined with the judge's decision to allow the case to unfold differently, ultimately, led to this conviction on three separate counts.

BLITZER: Erica Hill is with us.

Erica, it was June of last year when there was a hung jury. There's been a lot developing in this #metoo movement over the past year. Do you believe the current environment around the country had an impact on these jurors?

HILL: I think the jurors -- we do know that when the jurors were being questioned during jury selection, they were asked if they were familiar with the #metoo movement. So the question was out there.

I want to bring in Mimi Rocah on this one.

Often times, we'll say, does this have an impact on the jury. They needed to know the jury was aware of that. Although, if this jury was doing their job properly, they would not let that influence their decision, they're only weighing the evidence.

MIMI ROCAH, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: They could let it influence their decision in one way, to go to his motive, his M.O. Look, there are some issues that will be real issues on appeal ear here. But the judge took a broad view of letting in more evidence on both sides because he let in evidence that was damaging for the victim.

[14:45:11] HILL: And as we see, we will possibly see it come up. We just heard from Tom Meszaros, they will be appealing.

Kamau, you're a comedian who grew up looking at Bill Cosby, who is such an important figure in this country. A lot of that has changed now.

KAMAU BELL, CNN HOST, "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA": He's still an important figure. I am a comedian, I did grow up watching Bill Cosby. Bill Cosby as a comedian was influential to my career, but I stand with the women. This is clearly like -- most of the women who he has been assaulting won't get their day in court. We talked about this before we went on about the statute of limitations on sexual assault and how that's changing and it's changing in large part because of this because most of these women won't get their day in court.

HILL: And also a number of these women leading the charge in various states, banding together and saying, why is there a statute of limitations on rape? Why is there a statute of limitations on sexual assault?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES": I was thinking about one of the very first women who came forward against Cosby, Barbara Bowman, this was in 2014. That's when the dam really burst. I think that's when Americans concluded Cosby was guilty of something but that was only in the court of public opinion. Bowman said she was abused when she was 17 years old. She went to an attorney in 1999 and the attorney she said literally laughed at her.

She said no one believed her in the 80s. She described fear and darkness and shame, and she said she felt dirty and alone. I wonder how she's feeling. Importantly, the media started to take these women seriously as well. That was a factor here. Bowman said to me, I wish people had been paying closer attention. We've heard similar things from others as well. This was not taken seriously until just in the past few years.

HILL: Lili Bernard came out and spoke after this verdict. She said, "My faith in humanity is restored. It's a victory for all sexual assault survivors." She said, "I feel like I'm breathing."

That's what we're hearing from a number of them, Brian, the sense now people are listening.

That had been a cultural shift, Kamau, to your point, an important figure here because he's part of that shift, in addition to everything we've seen in the last six to eight months when it comes to #metoo and it's being believed."

BELL: The hope is the lesson will be learned that no matter how powerful you are as a man, that you can be taken down. As we talk about Cosby, we can't help but talk about the accusations against President Trump and other powerful men. Can you be taken down by these accusations if they're proven true.

STELTER: Cosby was one of the most popular television stars not just of a generation but in the history of the medium of television. I think we forget that now in some ways because he's been tarnished for several years. He tried to mount a comeback in 2014, he had an NBC show in development, Netflix in the work. All of that went away. A few ago, he had a performance in Philadelphia, he was telling jokes. He had a small fan club around him. He only had I think 50 people show up to that performance.

HILL: In terms of where he was, we talk a lot about what an important figure he was in the African-American community. He was also seen as America's father and the fact that in some ways it transcended that he wasn't just an African-American father on TV in a lot of places, he was that dad on TV that we all love. And he continued to have that persona off the air, where he was regularly reprimanding people for the way they behaved and sort of laying down the law and being the dad that everybody could relate to. That was huge on so many levels.

BELL: And in the black community, there was a lot of resentment when he started to just show up to lay down the law and lecture and speak down to the black community. And ultimately, I know Hannibal Burrs (ph). He's a friend of mine. I think he wouldn't have told the joke if he knew it would turn into this attention. But that joke is showing the man who speaks down to the black community and at the same time is a hypocrite.

STELTER: You never know what the domino might be. A joke on stage by Hannibal Burrs (ph) -

(CROSSTALK)

BELL: It's not on TV, it's on a camera phone, and a joke he probably never would have done on television.

STELTER: And persuaded more women to come forward.

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: -- 2014.

STELTER: Earlier in the year. And by the end of the year, you had more women coming forward. And in 2015, even more of those ramifications.

HILL: The point of there being a court of public opinion, this, again, was the court of law. Right? When we look at this in terms of the evidence, the burden is on the prosecution. When you're going for a retrial, how much higher is that burden because the defense already knows what you've got?. [14:50:07] ROCAH: Retrials are very hard. One, because the defense

knows your witnesses, what they're going to say. They know your strategy. And you have to deal with prior statements of your witnesses which is very hard. Someone on cross-examination, a good defense attorney can do wonders with prior statements by witnesses if they're even just a little bit inconsistent now, because people remember things differently four years later. They can make it look like they're making things up.

Just on this point about how far he's fallen, I think this is part of a theme we've seen in this "Me Too" movement. Like of Larry Nassar. Bring it back to him for a second. Nobody believed these victims, these survivors because it couldn't possibly have happened. He couldn't have possibly have done that. What this shows, again, as the Larry Nassar case did, you can't look at the person the people see in public. You need investigators and people to dig in and really try to corroborate the claims that victims are making. You can't just brush them off. I think this is a vindication of that. This was not someone anyone would have expected this of, as with Larry Nassar. I think that's a good revelation for us as a society to have.

HILL: And it is remarkable, if you think about the hundreds of women and young girls -- and the men that have spoken out against Larry Nassar. It went just gymnastic. Athletes from different sports at Michigan State.

You bring up a good point. When you look at the change in the last six or eight months of people being believed and how quickly that could happen, it makes you wonder, what could have happened if people were believed earlier.

STELTER: Andrea Constand says she was attacked in 2004 and she tried to sue. She sued in 2005. We're talking about 14 years since the date of these allegations.

HILL: They didn't think -- they didn't do anything in 2005 because they didn't think they could win. There wasn't something there that they could win.

STELTER: And now you think about October of last year, Harvey Weinstein, the stories about Weinstein that caused new attention around and old #metoo. There were so many stories after Weinstein. And it's one if not the only difference between the first and second trials, but a significant difference. I wonder if we'll get to hear from the jurors in this case, find out what they can share about that.

HILL: It would be interested to see if they would be -- they only have to talk to us if they want. Will be fascinating to see where their heads were at.

Remember, the first question they gave to the judge was, what is the legal definition of consent, and the judge said, I can't -- I can't answer that.

STELTER: Should we also note the one person missing in the pictures today. We've not seen Cosby's wife. She was only there one day of the retrial. Instead, he was joined by his long-time spokesman, Wyatt. No sign of his wife, Camille.

HILL: I want to hand things back over to my colleague, Wolf Blitzer, in Washington, D.C.

What a turn of events today, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, pretty dramatic, very dramatic stuff, indeed.

Joining us now, Lili Bernard, one of the women that's accused Bill Cosby of these awful acts.

Lili, we saw you walking out of the courtroom, all smiles. You were crying, you were happy, you were relieved. Tell us what was going through your mind.

BERNARD: I was absolutely overwhelmed with emotion, so much to the point that I banged my head on the bench in front of me in the courtroom. I have a little bruise. I was just full of joy, full of gratitude for the prosecution and for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, for Andrea Constand and for the prior witnesses. My survivor sisters who courageously stood on that stand and I was just shocked. I didn't expect this kind of verdict. The jury has restored my faith in humanity and I -- I feel like I'm dreaming, and I need to be pinched to be woken.

BLITZER: You think the power of the "Me Too" movement, Lili, made a difference this time as opposed to in June of last year when there was a hung jury?

BERNARD: Absolutely. I want to thank every single voice, every single woman, every single man that has spoken out to declare that they too were victimized my perpetrators. If it weren't for the "Me Too" movement I don't believe that society in general would have made this tremendous shift towards believing women and what this verdict has shown is that finally the justice system is catching up to modern culture, that women's' voices are being believed. Only 2 percent of rapists ever see a day inside prison walls so what this decision does it gives hope to every survivor of sexuality, female, male, adult child that if they do find the courage to speak up that they just might be believed.

BLITZER: We're showing our viewers, Lili, as we're speaking, the vehicle taking Bill Cosby back to his home. He's obviously not been sentenced -- he's awaiting sentencing. He's not going to jail in the interim period. What do you think about that?

[14:55:02] BERNARD: I don't think it's fair. I think it deserves to go straight to prison. He has hurt so many women. I am just one of 62 of us, probably known survivors of Bill Cosby other drug facilitated sexuality or drugging or sexuality. So he should be treated like any other common, depraved, lying coward seriously rapist. He should go straight into the slammer where he belongs.

BLITZER: You were in the courtroom when he heard him after the guilty verdict on all three counts, and then he shouted out at one point when one of the prosecutors said he has a plane, he shouted, I don't have a plane. What was your reaction to that?

BERNARD: Well, actually, I didn't hear about that until later because the three of us Cosby survivors who were in the courtroom every day of this trial and last trial, we were so overwhelmed with emotion, we were sobbing, we were, again, trying to contain our gasps and our moans that we were asked to leave the courtroom. The judge was saying, order in the court, order in the court, as we were sobbing. So they escorted us out and we missed all that dramata. But I heard that Bill Cosby shouted out a profanity.

BLITZER: Yes, he did.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: He did, indeed. He was shouting in the courtroom when this whole issue of whether or not he should be allowed to go home or should be isn't to jail right away. The judge said, I'm not simply going to lock him up right now. He cited his previous track record of appearing at every court appearance over the past two and a half years. And then the judge told one of the prosecutors, you're making a very big deal of something where there is very high bail. He's appeared at every appearance. He's out on $1 million bail.

So from your perspective, Lili -- you've gone through an awful lot and our heart goes out to you -- from your perspective, that's not fair?

BERNARD: That is not fair. I was hoping to be able to be in the courtroom to hear the clink, clink, the clink, clink of the handcuffs on his wrist. I'm sorry that that didn't happen. I believe that the judge -- first of all, I'm thankful for the judge. Judge O'Neill, you did a great job, and the prosecution, you rocked it. I do believe and hopeful that maybe time next time that a high-profile, entertainment icon is brought to justice that he'll be treated with the same deference that any other common, depraved cowardly, lying serial rapist should be depraved. He should have the clink, clink of the wrist and he should go straight to into those four prison walls, where he deserves to be.

BLITZER: If you don't feel comfortable answering this, it's fine. Do you want to remind our viewers of what you've accused Bill Cosby of doing personally to you?

BERNARD: I can remind, and it's not -- it's more than just accuse, it's what I experienced. It is the truth that when I was preparing for my guest starring role on the Cosby show, Bill Cosby mentored me as a father figure, his grooming behavior mirrored, absolutely mirrored all the grooming behavior that we heard in the courtroom and then once he gained my total trust, he drugged me and raped me.

What was so difficult for me to sit there and listen to Janice Baker Kinney and Andrea Constand is what they were talking about is the trauma that they were speaking about through tears was very parallel the trauma that I experienced. So that was hard for me. What was doubly hard for me was to watch Bill Cosby, laugh, scowl and mock at them in their most vulnerable state of tears. What really brought me so much joy and pride was to see them against

the scrutiny of Bill Cosby's laughing and mocking, mockery of their crying was to see them stand up and say things like Shallon said, and you remember, don't you, Mr. Cosby and to hear Janice say (ph), but to hear -- Janice Baker-Kinney said, are you rolling your eyes at me? So there was so much strength that was just exhibited on the stand. Hidezy Thomas said when they tried to make it seem as if she was on the stand only to quote/unquote, "help Andrea Constand." She said, no, I'm here to see a serial rapist convicted. There was a tremendous amount of strength that came out of these victims. We'll go down in the annals of history.

BLITZER: Lili Bernard, our heart goes out to you and all the other women who have come forward. I know you're pleased by what has happened. We'll stay in close touch with you.

Thanks so much for joining us.

BERNARD: Thank you, CNN, for being the pillars of democracy and social justice. Thank you.

BLITZER: Thank you very much, Lili Bernard. Helping us appreciate the enormity of what has happened right now.

We're awaiting, by the way, a press conference with the prosecutors in this case.

Our special coverage will continue right now with Erica Hill -- Erica?

[15:00:12] HILL: Thanks for joining us. Top of the hour.