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Prosecutor Speaks After Bill Cosby Found Guilty. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired April 26, 2018 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:30:00] KEVIN STEELE, MONTGOMERY COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: In the interim, he'll be looked at and assessed in a couple ways. There's a presentence investigation that will be done. There will be a sexually violent predator assessment that will be done, and all of these are standard procedures in these types of cases.
These assessments will then be used by the judge in determining the sentence and that sentencing hearing. We'll have the opportunity to put evidence on as will the defense. The defendant may be facing years in prison. He was convicted of three counts of this, so technically that would be up to 30 years. However, we have to look at merger of those counts to determine what the final maximum will be that he is facing.
So in addition to jail time and I mentioned this because there's been some things that have been asked about it over time and -- you know, typically what is done in a case is that a defendant will be assessed and all of these things will be looked at in terms of a sentencing but when a sentencing occurs, there's also an assessment for the cost of prosecution. We expect that we'll be arguing that the cost associated with both the trials, the sequestration, the sheriff's costs for this will go to the defendant. And I will be relying on defense counsels opening remarks in this when he was talking about $3.38 million being a paltry sum or simply a nuisance. So, clearly the cost of prosecution in this matter should not be a problem for the defendant. Dolores, you wanted to say something here so let me get out of the way.
DOLORES TROIANI, COSBY ACCUSER ANDREA CONSTAND'S ATTORNEY: Good afternoon. I know it's going to be disappointing to you, but I have the privilege of speaking for Andrea and Andrea will only -- will not be speaking today. Only I will.
First of all, we have to thank the Montgomery County for doing what they have done, Kevin, Kristen, Stuart and the many, many lawyers in the D.A.'s office who have been diligent in bringing about this just result. I can't even begin to name all the people who have worked on this case. We also -- and I'm doing this on behalf of myself and my co-counsel, Bebe Kivitz, who unfortunately moved to Philadelphia, and is probably stuck on the Schuylkill as we speak, or she would also be here.
But we also want to thank all the police officers who have dedicated themselves to this case. Detective Reap, Sergeant Schaffer, Detective Schade and the many others who are unnamed who all contributed to what has happened today. But most of all, I want to express on behalf, if I can, the gratitude of so many women that admire Andrea for her courage.
She came here 14 years ago for justice. I am so happy today that I can say, that although justice was delayed, it was not denied. It took a lot of courage for her to come back and to do this. There are so many people who have expressed their admiration for her, the millions -- and I do mean millions of people who have admired her courage, admired her calm, admired her demeanor and I'd ask you to bear in mind that when something like this happens to someone, male, female, whoever, they have to work every day to be happy. Something that we all who have been fortunate in our lives and not been victimized do not have to do. And when you see Andrea and you've all commented about how calm she is, how graceful she is, that's something she's had to work out every day since January of 2004, probably January 6th or 7th when this happened to her. This is a life altering experience for any woman, any victim and the person who I think needs to be heralded for what she has done is Andrea. Thank you.
[15:35:00] STEELE: All right We'll take questions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were in the moment as this verdict was being read, take us back please. I know there was an exchange with the defendant immediately after, but in those moments, what was going through your mind, please?
STEELE: Well, I've been at this for a while, 25 years and when a verdict comes back you're always anxious on what the result was going to be. I keep the verdict sheet in front of me and I checked them off as they were read. You know, it's a solemn moment because it's hard work for a jury, 12 ordinary folks from our community that came in and served and so I didn't react. I won't under those circumstances and we heard the verdict, and I'm just grateful for what they did and what they were willing to stand with us in this and stand up for what happened.
I have never seen the type of attacks that were levied on people that were coming forward to describe how they were sexually assaulted and when that happened, I was concerned. I was really concerned that -- that we're not moving past the vestiges of what happened before, that people wouldn't get it. But I think they listened to Dr. Ziff. They heard what was real and what was false, and they were strong when they came back. They were polled, meaning that every one of them was asked whether they agreed to the verdict. And all I heard from each of them was strength. And I'm grateful for that and grateful for what they all did and the commitment that they gave to Montgomery County, our citizens, our communities and this -- this is bigger.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: During the discussion of bail, an incredible outburst by the defendant throughout your opening and closing statements, you've said this is not Dr. Huxtable, this is not America's dad, is that the man you were speaking of?
STEELE: Well, I guess you got to see a brief view of who he was. That's just him acting out. I think everybody got to see who he really is when each of those prior bad act witnesses got to testify. The guy -- the guy was an actor for a long time and it was an act -- it was an act. We got to see who he really was, so --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kevin, standing here before us you speak with emotion in your voice, especially in talking about Andrea, you speak with tears in your eyes. Describe emotionally what this process has been like for you especially considering the critics who did not think it was worth retrying this case?
STEELE: Look, you know, this is -- this is about our duty as prosecutors and it's -- it's really not that complicated. It's about doing the right thing. We had to investigate a case, we had to make determinations on what happened and then move forward and that's our job and that's our duty and we -- I hope that it in as grateful way as we could despite what was being thrown at us and being thrown at a number of people, but I'm not going to get into nonsense with him on this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think other prosecutors will look to this case in dealing with allegations of sexual assault?
STEELE: I don't know. I mean, I can't speak for anyone else, but I can tell you, it's been an interesting start to becoming district attorney. I've had -- I've had a couple cases here that have been with powerful people as most of you know.
[15:40:00] You know, I tried a case where the chief law enforcement officer in the state had committed crimes and we had to go in. And that's not the most comfortable place to be when you have to tear apart your profession in some ways. Because she was a prosecutor, but I think that's just an example of -- we're going to go where the investigation's take us. We are going to look to see who has committed a crime and whether they're powerful, whether they're wealthy, whether they have evaded the law in the past, we just have to do our jobs. And I hope, if there's anything that comes from this is, is that, you know, you can move forward on these cases. And when you do, you know, I've now had two jurors stand up against the powerful and say guilty on every single count that has been alleged against them. And I think that's a recognition of the fact that we're doing the right thing and the fact that the juries understand the significance of this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to continue your attempts to get bail revoked for Mr. Cosby before sentencing occurs? And express what your concerns are about --
STEELE: And I said it in court. I'm concerned when there is somebody with the wealth and the aspects of, you know, being a potential risk of flight because of what he's facing. The judge made a determination and I respect his determination that that could be satisfied by him remaining in Montgomery County for the present and we'll have to take a look at it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not necessarily a closed issue for you at this point?
STEELE: Oh no. I mean it's -- these things never are. We have cases every day where people are out on bail and they commit new crimes, or they try to flee, or they do something along those lines. We just have to be vigilant and make sure that we're keeping an eye on every aspect of this so that we can be prepared if something like that happens. Yes, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, Tom Mesereau said that the fight is not over. And a number of legal experts have pointed to the 404-B witnesses (INAUDIBLE) of being a potential vulnerability on appeal. Can you talk about how you're ready to defend against that and do you feel confident that that's not going to expose you to problems on appeal?
STEELE: So, I mentioned them before. We have our Deputy District Attorney, Bob Fallon, captain of our unit, Adrian Jappy, I'll put them up against anybody. Anybody. And they walked with us through this and we asked for 19 and we felt that we had the grounds for 19 or otherwise we wouldn't be asking for it, so we're appreciative that five women got to voice what occurred to them in the courtroom, but this is a case where there were so many more.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think that you expect to have some more women testify at the sentencing? Would that be the appropriate place for more victims?
STEELE: Potentially. That's something and I'm not going to say today what we're going to be asking for in terms of sentencing. That's all the assessments that need to be done, so you do the presentence investigation, you look at, you know, what these assessments developed. You speak to victims. You know, they get a voice in this and they should have a voice in this to make a determination of what the appropriate request is at the time. So that's all the process that we'll be going through in between now and when the sentencing date is.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right, it is more appropriate. I mean, a place for more victims potentially can be heard?
STEELE: Potentially can. Potentially can, but it's also an area that is somewhat gray in Pennsylvania to be able to do that. So, we've heard testimony in effect from five of the women at this point.
[15:45:03] So, I think that goes into the consideration and we'll be assessing it and our appellate unit will tell us what we're allowed to do and what we're not allowed to do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Have you -- has your office been approached by any new Cosby accusers since the trial began?
STEELE: I can't speak about investigative matters. I'll leave it at that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Mr. Steele, this is a vastly different trial obviously than the first one. Speak if you can about the importance of having those five women allowed to testify, the additional accusers and also counteracting the defense's con artist claims Margo Jackson's testimony. STEELE: You all got to hear from someone who I think very highly of, Dr. Barbara Ziv and the legislature in their wisdom has given us the ability to have somebody who is an expert in this area educate a jury and you saw that as our number one witness, our first witness in this case, and I think in the process she was able to explain the situation and then, when you heard from the different people and you saw what the defense was trying to do despite those sexual assault myths that lie out there, there's a recognition and again I hope it's not attacked, it's continued, because it didn't work.
And it is a situation where it was a different trial. We were able to do that on the front end of the case and I think -- I think that's the benefit of having done this once before.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Without the legislature making that change, only a few years ago to allow someone like Dr. Ziv, you wouldn't be able to call her to the stand? How critical was she in your ability to secure a conviction today?
STEELE: I think that would be a better question for the jurors on how impactful she was, but to us it was very important and it's something that we kept going back to and looking at and Kristen did the direct examination from her, but we went back to that report that she did a lot, because it was significant in showing what the real science is behind this and how this -- how this goes and Dr. Valliere who testified in the last trial about this, she's another great expert in this arena and I think it's important that these messages get out, that that's what this is and maybe at some point we won't need to put on an expert to educate a jury because we'll all recognize that those sexual assault myths are not real and we should be looking at everything that happens to somebody who has been sexually assaulted.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Any chance that Marguerite Jackson could face perjury charges?
STEELE: Can't talk about investigations.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Can you talk a little bit about the difference between having a local jury pool a Montgomery County jury as opposed to an out of town jury and whether that had an impact or made a difference? I'm not saying -- this jury seemed different. They took a lot of notes. They really were paying attention, so did you -- do you think that had an impact as a Montgomery County? Do you think that helped? Obviously, it helped, you won.
STEELE: I appreciate being on my home court.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: OK.
STEELE: I do. It's -- we have a great community here, we have a community that supports law enforcement, we have a community of people that sacrifice so much, to think going into this you're going to be removed from your family as the defense kept saying for a month, is a huge sacrifice to make. But they're willingness to do this and as you said to pay the rapt attention they did to every step of the way, we're just grateful and I'm grateful we live in this community and I'm grateful that we get to choose jurors like that who do the right thing.
[15:50:00] And that's what happens here, and it happens over and over again. It was great being on our home court.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Mr. Steele, what is your message to prosecutors in other jurisdictions, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Chester County who may view the cases historically as very different to prosecute? After today, what is your message to any prosecutor who may be on the fence about pushing forward with a case of this nature?
STEELE: I'm not here to send messages to my colleagues. We are in a great community of prosecutors, particularly in Pennsylvania. And I get to work with them through the Pennsylvania District Attorney's Association and all I can tell you about that is the incredible outpouring of support that I have gotten every step of the way along this journey that they have been great and, you know, I look at, you know, our colleagues in the attorney general's office, you know, and how they have walked this walk with us. Michelle Henry, for example, who tried the Kane case with me. You know? Each step of the way these folks are here to support. So, I don't think it's any need or time to send a message to all of them. We're all working these cases together and each person has to deal with it in their own jurisdictions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Mr. Steele, what is your thought to victims out there? Because as Kristen said in her closing argument, there were character assassinations in that courtroom and if someone feels too scared to come forward at this time, just a chilling effect.
STEELE: I hope the end result will not cause somebody to refrain from coming forward. Because we got to the right result in this. And yes, it's difficult. And people were put through character assassinations. And it was very difficult to sit through. And watch. But you also saw what the jury did in the end. And I hope that people recognize that you got to show courage like this lady did. Like she showed courage. She stepped up. She went forward. And -- and we got to the right result. And she stayed through this. You know? She didn't have to start down this journey with us. She didn't have to come here for the first trial.
She didn't have to come here for the second trial. But she did. You know. And I think that means so much and I hope that others that have been victimized understand that and see that courage and see where it can get. Because for all of us it was just about doing justice. You know. And sometimes you feel like that's just us. That is looking for that. And you got a lot of people working against you to that end. But despite each of these legal hurdles, these things that happened across the way, you know, we got here.
And we got to all sit in that courtroom and hear the defendant convicted of all of the offenses. You know. Found guilty. And I think that's important for victims to know and understand. That we're going to stand with them. We're going to walk this journey with them and do the best that we can and treat them with dignity and respect. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: You talked about what that was like
being able to mark off on your sheet for each count guilty, describe the moment when you were able finally able to turn and face Andrea after you heard the verdict.
STEELE: I waited until we got upstairs, and I gave her a hug.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Kevin, which of the hurdle is it knowing that, you know, the DA at the time in 2005 declined to prosecute and, you know, you guys made a point of apologizing to Andrea in the closings and thanking her which I thought was pretty powerful. How do you think she was treated back then?
[15:55:00] You talked about right in the middle of the investigation when Bruce Castor abruptly pulled the plug. He didn't even have the courtesy to Andrea Constand know they were pulling the plug. Found out from reporters on the doorstep. Press releases and threatened with arrest basically herself. And they were threatened with arrest. You had other hurdles to overcome. What was that like for you guys? And how do you --
STEELE: All I'll say on that was on behalf of our office we are sorry for what happened then. But we got a chance to make up for it. And we hopefully have. We hopefully have. So -- all right. Thank you, everybody.
So, you just been watching the press conference there with Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele. I want to bring in Michael Zeldin. Couple of things that came up, the deposition of 2005 involving Bill Cosby which of course was related to Andrea Constand's allegations back then and the other talk was about the five other accusers who were allowed to testify. What do you think was more powerful here for that jury, Bill Cosby's own words being read to them where he talked about Quaaludes, he talked about sex and drugs and alcohol? Or was it these other witnesses, these prior bad act witnesses?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think it was both. I think that Cosby's own words let the jury know that this was not dr. Huxtable from the television show but a human being who was fatally flawed in many, many ways and then the combination of his own words sort of coupled with the testimony of the women who found the same pattern of behavior as the main plaintiff in this case, Ms. Constand did, I think was very instrumental in helping the jury understand what happened here.
But I think what was very important from a trial strategy standpoint was the opening of the case with Dr. Ziv. Remember, she is the forensic psychiatrist who talked about the rape myths, how women behave after being sexually assaulted. So, they started the case by educating the jury. This is how people behave in the aftermath of these cases and it is not always consistent and it's not like television where they call the police immediately or things of that sort. So, I think the combination of the introduction of forensic psychiatry with his own words and the prior bad act evidence leading up to Andrea Constand's testimony was that which convicted him in this case.
HILL: CNN's Jean Casarez with us, as well. You have been there from day one of the earlier trial, even, Jean and you were in the courtroom for much of this. Was it a different feeling in that courtroom?
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There was a different feeling and I was in the courtroom for both trials. The different feeling in this one was that, you know, trials have momentums on both sides for the prosecution, for the defense. But in this trial, I felt a continual momentum for the prosecution. It was just a feeling that I had in that courtroom. Now, of course, the trial started out after the opening statements with Dr. Ziv who was a sexual assault expert and that was someone that talked about the character of a sexual assault victim. But then you started having the prior bad act witnesses. One after the other. And, you know, maybe that added to the momentum at the beginning. That was strategy on the side of the prosecution to do it in that manner and then you have Andrea Constand. So that set the stage for the rest of the trial.
HILL: In terms of those prior bad act witnesses, this was brought up during the trial and a question to the DA earlier. Tom Mesereau said they plan to appeal. The DA. was asked about concerns using all five of the witnesses. Michael, on appeal do you think that could be an issue?
ZELDIN: So, the rule in these prior bad act cases is whether or not there is motive, intent absence of mistake or common scheme or plan and I think that this fit the common definition of common scheme or plan prior bad act evidence. I think they are going to have a hard time overcoming the ruling of the court to allow this evidence in because the pattern of behavior between Cosby and his victims and Cosby in his own words I think set the legal predicate for the judge allowing these prior bad acts on common scheme or plan theory to come in.
HILL: Michael Zeldin, Jean Casarez, appreciate it. I'm Erica Hill. Thanks to all of you for join us. Our coverage continues next with Jake Tapper on "THE LEAD."