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25 Jun 2017 17:15
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  •   Home > News > Law and Order

    Beneath Cosby circus alleged victims say deeper truth is lifelong scars

    Bill Cosby's trial has ended in a mistrial due to a hopelessly deadlocked jury, but the circus is likely to be repeated, with prosecutors immediately announcing they will retry him.

    Bill Cosby's trial has ended in a mistrial due to a hopelessly deadlocked jury but the circus that was his court case will be repeated, with prosecutors immediately announcing they will retryhim.

    It was a carefully stage-managed affair, with a battle for the minds of the jurors inside the court and a public relations duel for the hearts of the public outside.

    Every morning Bill Cosby would arrive in a simple black van — a deliberately humble choice of vehicle for a man with hundreds of millions of dollars and mansions scattered across the country.

    He was careful to manage his now toxic image as he entered court each morning. Even after all the allegations, he retains supporters.

    A black woman would often be there ready to yell from across the street "I love you".

    He would sometimes give her a thumbs up as a trusted aide helped him in to his suit jacket, a routine that seemed designed to project frailty.

    The 79-year-old usually walked into court on the arm of spokesman Andrew Wyatt, his long-term damage control expert.

    Later in the day when Cosby would walk past me, his cane rarely seemed to touch the ground and seemed to get further away from doing so as the long days wore on.

    One night he walked past me a foot away, jaw clenched, as a man more used to the red carpet was forced into what Americans call a "perp walk" — the stride of shame into court.

    On the other side, celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred, who represents many of Cosby's alleged victims, would arrive with her own film crew.

    On a number of days she had duelling press conferences with Cosby's spokesman.

    Inside court, officials prowled the aisles, ejecting at least two reporters who were caught texting newsrooms desperate for updates while the trial was underway.

    Even drinking water was outlawed by the sharp-eyed, school principal-like enforcers of the court's decorum.

    Outside, a hired truck with a "honk if you support women" sign would circle the court house as the jury deliberated and deliberated.

    Aside from the circus, many of Cosby's alleged victims — women who say their lives have been damaged for as long as 40 years by his actions — waited as well.

    "Bill Cosby has not ruined me but he has damaged me for sure," said Lili Bernard, a former Cosby show guest star who accuses him of drugging her and raping her.

    They waited patiently, often in proximity to the Cosby camp, sometimes for 14-hour days as the jury deliberated.

    "He is a coward, he is a liar, he is a rapist and I felt empowered and I felt he was powerless," Ms Bernard said.

    Mr Cosby denied those and all the other allegations against him, admitting only to being unfaithful and buying drugs like the powerful sedative Quaaludes for what he said were consensual encounters.

    Many of the dozens of women who say Cosby abused them will never have their day in court because the alleged crimes happened outside the statute of limitations.

    Their position has already led to the law being changed in several states and they want it to go much further.

    Even though they will never get before a criminal jury they said they were pleased Cosby was being tried as they patiently recounted their allegations of shameful abuse.

    "It felt satisfying, gratifying, hope-inspiring, you know it felt good," Ms Bernard said.

    What became clear were the graphic details of Cosby's alleged conduct — drugging and then forcing his victims to form similar, specific and loathsome acts while they were in a state of paralysis.

    The alleged assaults would be proceeded by offers of mentorship and career assistance from the then-megastar.

    The women say that once he had gained their trust, he would swoop.

    And America's Dad, as he was once known, allegedly had very specific tastes.

    The details have been too graphic for widespread reporting in the mainstream media but are shocking and repulsive.

    His team attempted to paint the women as money-hunting liars and he denied all their allegations.

    Given the scale and the similarity of their tales it would be a grand conspiracy for that to be true, but even so, Cosby may never be convicted in a criminal court.


    © 2017 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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