Monday 20 November 2017

Cosby's wife refuses to testify as he faces charges of sex assault on women

Bill Cosby arrives in court to face charges, accompanied by his lawyer Monique Pressley. Photo: Reuters
Bill Cosby arrives in court to face charges, accompanied by his lawyer Monique Pressley. Photo: Reuters

David Lawler

Bill Cosby's wife Camille is refusing to testify in court over sexual assault accusations against him, insisting that she knew nothing of any incidents and did not provide the pills he allegedly used to drug women.

Mrs Cosby (71) has stood by her husband as more than 50 women have accused him of sexual assault over the past decade.

But she did not accompany him as he arrived in a Pennsylvania court to face three charges of aggravated indecent assault. The charges stem from a 2004 incident in which he allegedly drugged Andrea Constand, then-director of the Temple University women's basketball team, before sexually assaulting her while she was "frozen, paralysed and unable to move".

Seven other accusers are suing Cosby (78), in Massachusetts, and their lawyer wanted to call Mrs Cosby as a witness in the case.

She filed court documents in that lawsuit last Wednesday, lambasting the fact that the lawyer wanted her to discuss her husband's infidelity and ask whether she had ever obtained sedatives on his behalf.

Mrs Cosby denies any knowledge of or involvement in any of the incidents, and contends that she cannot be deposed on such grounds due to spousal protections.

Several celebrities spoke out about the charges against Cosby after they were announced this week.

"Bill Cosby has spent his life attempting to silence the women he has assaulted with threats, lawsuits and money," wrote Judd Apatow, the Hollywood director.

"Hopefully now many of these women will get to tell their stories in a court of law and the people who supported him will get deposed."

Lena Dunham, the actress and writer, went further still.

"If I believed in hell," she wrote, "Bill Cosby would be going there."

Arsenio Hall, a fellow comedian who knows Cosby personally, said he was "speechless".

"When I was a kid, and you heard the word 'Cosby' and 'booking'... it was in reference to him doing stand up in Cleveland," Hall said.

Cosby's lawyer, Monique Pressley, criticised the media circus surrounding his case, but said his mood remained upbeat.

She pledged that the verdict in the criminal case would be far different "than what's been allowed to happen in the fictional court of public opinion".

"A court of law does not run like the media does," she said.

Cosby sat silent as a judge read off the charges against him, scratching his white beard and picking at his fingernails.

He chuckled and said "yes" when asked if he understood the charges, and emphatically thanked the judge and chief of police as he stood to leave, free on $1m bail.

Cosby's next court hearing will be January 14.

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