Return to Transcripts main page
Bill Cosby Sentenced; Kevin Steele, District Attorney, Speaks About Successful Case Against Cosby; Lili Bernard Who Accused Bill Cosby of Sexual Assault Speaks About the Verdict; Senate Chooses Female Counsel to Interrogate Christine Ford. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired September 25, 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] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Making the point that in a sense it's conflicting to see a man who justice has been served on the one hand, but on the other it feels a bit like a sacrificial lamb and you had brought up the timing of this week, right, as we watch Bill Cosby go off and serve time for crimes he has been convicted of. Later in the week you bring up someone else who has been accused of different allegations but in the similar vein of sex assault, sexual harassment, this is what Solomon's point was. I hope I did justice and listening to you, Solomon, I want you to stay with me.
And Mark Geragos is still with me.
MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I've heard it. People talking about why is Bill Cosby being prosecuted going to state prison at the time same time we're diminishing accusers of someone going to the Supreme Court? We just had an accuser on here who was from 1974. And accusers of Brett Cavanaugh are coming from 1982 to 1983 to 1984. So literally ten years after that. And there are people who are saying and I've said all along it's amazing to me that this is juxtaposed in the same week, within 48 hours you're going to hear it, you're going to see it live on TV, Cosby going to custody, live on TV an accuser and a candidate for the Supreme Court. We can say they're qualitatively different, we can talk about due process, we can talk about all kind of things. But, I don't know, the public has to process this. There are a lot of conflicting issues here that it's above my pay grade to unpack. I will tell you, Brooke, though --
BALDWIN: This is the prison. He's walking in the prison door.
GERAGOS: Somebody else brought up an interesting thing, which I did not realize, on a different subject. The judge by sentencing him to three years in state prison relinquishes his jurisdiction during his term. So, the parole board decides when he gets out. If he had done it at less than 24 months, the judge would have retained jurisdiction to soften the sentence later on.
BALDWIN: Look at him, chain around the waist connected to his hand cuffs. As I presume this County jail where he is getting processed.
GERAGOS: Yes, generally they take you to County jail. And that you determine where you're going to be housed and then take you to prison. BALDWIN: I don't want to lose your point, and Solomon let's pop you back on screen. The point that you gentlemen are making something that's going to be discussed in the coming 24 to 48 hours. I do think it's important, Judge Kavanaugh said on Fox last night he never assaulted anyone in his life. Yet you have Christine Blasey Ford saying it happened. There are parts she can't remember. And what she definitively remembers his feeling that she was sexually assaulted and at one point she told "The Washington Post" she feared for her life. Solomon, I want you for people who are turning in and especially for your perspective, you're talking about the black community. You had written this op-ed a couple months ago about how this whole story with Bill Cosby had created this rift in the black community in tying these stories together. Oh, forgive me, the district attorney.
KEVIN STEELE, MONTGOMERY COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I said no press conferences on the stairs so we're in here. It's been a long journey to get here. And today justice was served. It's been a long time coming. But it arrived when a convicted felon named William H. Cosby Jr. left the courtroom in handcuffs and headed off to state prison for his crimes. It's been a long time for Andrea Constand and other victims who endured similar offenses by the defense. It's been a long time for our team t team. For decades the defendant has been able to hide his true self and hide his crimes using his fame and fortune. He's hidden behind a character created, Dr. Cliff Huxtable. It was a seminal character on TV and so was the family, but it was fiction. Before Bill Cosby became a convicted felon taken away in handcuffs and began paying for his crimes, a lot of people believed that's who he was. But we know otherwise. He used his acting skills that endearing TV personal to win over his victims and keep them silent. Finally, Bill Cosby has been unmasked and we saw the real man head off to prison.
Throughout the trial and prosecution, we have treated the defendant like any other defendant. Our office prosecutors approximately 9,500 cases a year. As prosecutors it's our job to follow the evidence wherever it leads and to whom ever it leads and follow accordingly and follow through on those prosecution of those crimes. That's what we do every day and that's what we did in this case.
[15:35:00] We do the right thing because someone who has a lot of money, someone who is famous, someone who can get a lot of attention all over the world by showing up someplace to eat shouldn't be given a pass for his crimes and allowed to walk free because he and his defense team will make it tough to prosecutor him or make it expensive to prosecutor him. Once that jury said guilty to all three charges of sexual assault, the sentencing guidelines said he should go to prison.
We argued for the stiffest sentence given the egregiousness of the crime. Giving women drugs so who could have no resistance is a serious matter. He's being called to account for those crimes. In the eyes of this court he's a convicted felon and shouldn't be given a pass. So, I'm pleased that Judge O'Neill followed the sentencing guidelines, handed down a fair and anything sentence that reflects the severity of Cosby's crimes and the lifelong impact on Andrea. Let me talk about Andrea for a moment here. I can't say enough about her. We are all better off because she is in our lives. You've heard about how this assault changed her life. She has been through an ordeal these past 14 years and she has been solid and steadfast. To put herself out like this for years in front of a worldwide audience has been extremely difficult for anyone. She's been a rock. She's done the right thing over and over and over again. She went to the police and started this investigation. She told us she would cooperate with the prosecution long after she thought this ordeal had been put behind her. She could have stayed home in Canada and could have lived a quiet life, but she knew it was important to see that justice was served. We had some time when we were waiting for the jury the first time around.
Just so you know, I coach a little basketball so I was trying to get tips from Andrea on this. It's not every day I get to be around a person of this caliber of talent in the basketball arena. When we had a pretty good indication of where that jury was going. I went to her and asked her what she wanted to do. Sticking with the basketball aspect, she did one of these and said always follow through. And she did and it has led to us where we are today. She agreed to seek justice after that first trial ended and we knew what we were going to go through again and she never wavered. So, we reached justice, we got to her hear from the jury guilty verdicts and right there standing with Andrea and her family were the other courageous victims. I'm overwhelmed by the number of courageous women who testified at trial about being raped by Bill Cosby. I applaud the six witnesses who did get a chance to face the jury and tell what happened to them.
The courage of Kelly Johnson, Heidi Thomas, Chelon Lasha, Janice Dickinson, Janice Baker-Kinney, and Lotte Lublin was tremendous. They also endured significant victim shaming, which should never happen in a courtroom, but anybody that was there saw it.
[15:40:00] And I hope that this trial and seeing the defendant brought to justice helped each of them and all of the other victims heal in their own way. And I want to also thank her attorneys, Dolores Troiani and Bebe Kivitz who were with her every step of the way this with, as well as this prosecution team. It was nice to have thunder and lightning back with me here and Stew Ryan and Kristin Feldman are consummate professionals and been with me the whole way. I can't say how appreciative I am of that and also their talents, which you again got to see in court when Stu had another chance at an expert there. Our appellate unit and you got to meet Tracy in this case when she argued the constitutionality of it and did a marvelous job and we're so happy that she's a part of our team. Caroline Goldstein next to her. Caroline has been the quiet one behind us helping us each step of the way. And working diligently at all hours. Adrienne Jappe, the assistant appellate chief and our chief of appeals, when all this stuff keeps hitting and these motions keep coming, they're the reason we're so prepared each and every day.
BALDWIN: For all of the women and men who are fearful of coming forward, if they are accusing someone of rape or worse, let Dr. Andrea Constand, the woman there in the gray blazer, let her be your guide and know in her case justice can be served. Coming up, what the sentencing and this moment feels like for her and so many other survivors next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: We are back live in Norristown, Pennsylvania where a handcuffed Bill Cosby is heading to state prison. Three to ten years, that was the sentencing coming down from this Judge O'Neill earlier today. I want to go straight to a rainy Norristown, to Lili Bernard, an actress who has accused Bill Cosby of drugging and raping her in the 90s. You were there in the courtroom. What was it like seeing handcuffs slapped on this man?
[15:45:00] LILI BERNARD, ACCUSED BILL COSBY OF SEXUAL ASSAULT: Unfortunately, we did not get to see him handcuffed. All we got to see was him laughing and giggling and shoulder going up and down as he is rolling up his sleeve preparing to be handcuffed. We were ordered to leave the courtroom for security reasons. So unfortunately, I have not been able to see him handcuffed.
BALDWIN: He's going to prison. What does this feel like for you?
BERNARD: Wow. It a hallelujah moment. I think this pouring rain is absolutely apropos because the judge handed down a monsoon of a decision. This is a momentous decision in a me-too era. It's incredibly important. I do have mixed emotions. On the one hand I feel absolutely elated that justice was served. On the other hand, I also feel disappointed because clearly the three-year minimum sentence does not adequately reflect the havoc this man, this rapist, has inflicted on so many women including myself. It does indicate there is now a shift in the legal system that is now going to reflect modern culture and that now women's advices are being believed and women's lives are being valued.
BALDWIN: You know the statistics. It's such a small number of rapists that get convicted. Here you have Bill Cosby serving time. Do you feel for the most part that justice is being served?
BERNARD: Absolutely, Brooke, you brought an excellent point because only less than 2 percent of rapists ever see the inside of a jail, ever are behind bars the fact that one so beloved, so revered, so privileged by his wealth, fortune and phony fill and -- philanthropy, that is pivotal in the whole culture of rape. It's really a very historic decision. Yes, that's amazing, amazing.
BALDWIN: Were you able to --
BALDWIN: Go ahead, go ahead.
BERNARD: I just wanted to say with that 2 percent statistic of rapists ever seeing the inside of a prison, that statistic is much less when it's someone as powerful, as protected as a celebrity.
BERNARD: Sure, sure. Were you able to have a conversation with Andrea Constand? We saw her a second ago. Can you tell me how she is feeling today? BERNARD: She's doing -- I can't speak for her, but she appears to be
doing great. I hugged her, I hugged her mom and her dad and her sister. And that family is just an amazing, outstanding role model of courage and unity, and it is no wonder she is the Joan of Arc. She has the tremendous family base of support and love. And that is so evident, incredibly evident. So, I feel so privileged to be able to be a part of this. It was very difficult going through it, of course, and to watch Andrea be revictimized and blamed and shamed on the victim stand. But just to be able to be here and to watch her, you know, begin to rise like a phoenix out of the ashes of pain and suffering is just such a tremendous, tremendous privilege.
[15:50:00] BALDWIN: Victim-shaming is real. I am happy for you. I'm happy for her. I can only imagine the vitriol you have faced through the years, as well, Lily Bernard. Thank you so much for the time. And let's just hope this guilty, guilty, guilty verdict means more women will feel emboldened and empowered to come forward. Lily, thank you so much. Appreciate you. Appreciate your voice.
BERNARD: My pleasure, Brooke.
BALDWIN: More on Bill Cosby coming up. Of course, as we have seen him in the last few moments, taken into custody. He is going to prison. You are watching CNN special live coverage. There he is. Walking into the county jail.
[15:55:00] BALDWIN: All right. Now to Thursday's hearing of Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. Christine Blasey Ford, Orrin Hatch said moments ago that judge Kavanaugh is going to be confirmed, thinking a vote could happen this weekend. This is happening as Republicans are trying to avoid the optics of 27 years ago, have announced an outside female attorney will question both judge Kavanaugh and Ford on the Republicans' behalf. We're hearing Democratic senators will ask questions themselves. No doubt Republican members of the senate judiciary committee do not want a repeat of this scene in 1991 when Anita Hill, a lone woman, had to answer questions about her accusations against then nominee Clarence Thomas from a panel of white men. Moments ago, Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, weighed in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITCH MCCONNELL, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: A lot of people calling have been given an opportunity to come in and testify under oath as to whether some occurrence went on. Most of them don't want to do that. Because once they realize they have to be under oath, and the potential criminal penalties, they become less interested. So, look, we have two people here who have a different version of what has happened. We need to listen to them both, respectfully, and then make a decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Let's talk this over with CNN legal analyst, Jack Quinn, who served as White House counsel under President Clinton and CNN political commentator Mary Katharine Ham, senior writer at the "Federalist." Welcome to both of you. And Jack Quinn, with your legal hat on here, what's your reaction to this outside counsel questioning Ford and Kavanaugh on behalf of the Republicans?
JACK QUINN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, I understand why they're doing it. They're really concerned about the image of having a bunch of white men sitting there asking tough questions of a woman who is testifying to the effect that she is a victim of sexual abuse. I get that. But I think having an outside counsel come in and do that is not going to cure the problem. You're going to have all of these Republican senators sitting there, and I'll bet anything they'll be making faces, they'll be wishing they could jump in. You know, the impression is still terrible.
But more importantly, stepping back here. Everybody gets it that they don't want to get to the facts here. I'm not -- listen, believe me, I am not casting a judgment one way or the other about Brett Kavanaugh. I think it's important to get to the truth of the allegations that have been made. But it's also important to allow any other allegations that might be made to come forward. There's such a determination not to allow an investigation that would be in the interest of seeking the truth. This whole -- this bologna that they can't bring the FBI in to help get to the truth of this matter.
QUINN: What, after all, what does the "I" in FBI stand for?
BALDWIN: Let me jump in. I want to hear from Mary Katharine, too. She wanted this outside FBI investigation, she wanted other eye- witnesses to testify. That looks like a no-go. But Mary Katharine, on the flip side of what Jack is saying, when you look at the men who would be questioning her and him, it's 11 Republican men. And is that not a step at least in the right direction to have a woman, to have an outside counsel do the questioning?
MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I think it's wise, obviously, optically. It helps to have a woman there. I think it helps to have outside counsel, because, to your point, I think it's bologna they don't want to get to the facts of this. If they're having an outside counsel come in who knows what she is doing when asking tough questions about something like this, I do not relish any senator taking this on. Because this is not their specialty. But it would be her specialty, and she would be more prepared to actually get to the facts of this, which I would argue Republicans have been trying to do for the last week or so, instead of ignoring it for two months, which is what happened before this came to light. And so, look, they will ask the questions. Both sides will be heard. He is being put and they are being put in an impossible political position. It's not designed for them to be able to get out of this cleanly. And like everyone should answer for this. And come there and talk about this.
QUINN: This seat has been vacant for eight months. And there was no time to consider the nomination of Merrick Garland. And this has to be rushed to judgment. [16:00:00] BALDWIN: I'm sorry, I've got five seconds. Thank you
both. I'm Brooke Baldwin. "THE LEAD" starts right now.