Bill Cosby plans comeback tour on LONDON stage featuring 'vintage storytelling' after prison release

Entertainment

Daily Mail 09 July, 2021 - 02:38am 10 views

Why did Bill Cosby get out of jail?

When the Pennsylvania Supreme Court last Wednesday vacated Bill Cosby's 2018 conviction for sexual assault, freeing him immediately from his three to 10 year prison sentence, the disgraced comedian was quick to offer himself as a grand exemplar of the problem of wrongful convictions in the United States. TIMEWhat Bill Cosby’s Release Really Says About Getting a Conviction Overturned in America

Is Bill Cosby innocent?

Cosby has maintained his innocence and repeatedly denied the allegations made against him. ... Most of the alleged acts fall outside the statute of limitations for criminal legal proceedings, but criminal charges were filed against Cosby in one case and numerous civil lawsuits were brought against him. wikipedia.orgBill Cosby sexual assault cases

By Laura Collins In Birmingham, Alabama, For Dailymail.com

He could have had anything money could buy. But after nearly three years of incarceration former inmate NN7687 didn't want anything fancy.

Instead, on the day of his release, Bill Cosby just wanted to be in his own home, on his own sofa and eating a slice of his favorite pizza.

Taken within hours of Cosby, 83, getting out of prison these exclusive images obtained by DailyMail.com show a man elated in his freedom.

Sitting on his bed in Elkins Park, Pa., still in his prison uniform, or eating that simple tomato, mozzarella and basil pizza that he craved, they offer a never-before-seen glimpse of Cosby's first moments of freedom following last week's Supreme Court decision to overturn his conviction for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, 48, in 2004.

And now, in an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, Cosby's friend and spokesperson Andrew Wyatt has shared the inside story of that release and the hours that followed.

He has given details of the actor and comedian's reunion with his wife of 57 years, Camille; he has told of Cosby's time in prison, and he has revealed Cosby's plans for his life on the outside.

According to Wyatt, Cosby's first words upon getting into the car that would take him from SCI Phoenix to his home in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania were, 'Andrew, is this a dream?'

Exclusive photos show Bill Cosby's first moments of freedom since he was released from prison last week eating simple tomato, mozzarella and basil pizza that he craved

Exclusive DailyMail.com photos show the actor sitting on his bed in his prison uniform 

Wyatt said Cosby's first words while getting into the car that would take him from prison to his home in Pennsylvania were, 'Andrew, is this a dream?'

Wyatt recalled, 'He said, 'Are you real?' I said, 'I'm real, touch me.' He said, 'Look, people can sometimes feel things in dreams.' And I said, 'Mr. Cosby this is real. You're free.'

Wyatt recalled how Cosby shook his hand, told him he would 'go down in history,' for his work on his behalf and asked, 'How does Mrs. Cosby sound?'

Twenty-four hours later Cosby was reunited with 77-year-old Camille. She and Cosby had spoken on the phone almost every day, but they had not seen each other since he left home on the day the jury came back with their guilty verdict at the end of his second trial in 2018.

Convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault, Cosby had not wanted his wife, or daughters, to see him as a prisoner.

Wyatt described their reunion as, 'like watching teenage love.' He said, 'The way she touched him and said, 'Billy.' He said, 'My dear Camille.'

News of the Supreme Court's decision came on Wednesday June 30. Wyatt recalled that when he first got wind of it, he kept it to himself. He said, 'I didn't tell anyone because it's been a roller-coaster and so many people have come with information saying that he's not going to be sentenced, he's not going to be charged, he's not going to be convicted…It's emotionally and mentally draining.'

Wyatt wanted to be sure that it was true before breaking the news to Camille. When he did, she too struggled to wrap her mind around what she was being told.

He said, 'I called Mrs. Cosby and said, ''You're not going to believe this. They've vacated his entire conviction. They threw it out in perpetuity.'' And she said, ''No, we need to check this.'''

At the time Camille was on her way from the family's Massachusetts home to New York. Wyatt was already on the road to Pennsylvania and told her, 'I'll bring him to you.'

According to Wyatt, at that same moment Cosby was asleep in his cell, oblivious to it all.

In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, Cosby's friend and spokesperson Andrew Wyatt shared the inside story of his release and the hours that followed

Cosby is seen locking arms with Wyatt as he walked out to the media outside of his Elkins Park, Pennsylvania home last week just after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his sexual assault conviction 

Wyatt described Cosby's reunion with his wife as, 'like watching teenage love. The way she touched him and said, 'Billy.' He said, 'My dear Camille'

Cosby told Wyatt he had been in a deep sleep when guards opened his door and told him, 'Get up. You're free.'

Wyatt said, 'He said, 'I heard all these inmates shouting, kicking the doors, shouting 'Get outta here Bill, Uncle Bill, the Godfather.'

Cosby is completely blind having lost his sight to glaucoma many years ago and told Wyatt, 'I thought it was a fight going on. I don't know what's happening.'

A group out of Atlanta threw a 'Welcome back Bill Cosby' party on Sunday the 4th of July

Later that night Cosby admitted to Wyatt that he didn't want to go to sleep for fear that when he woke up, he would find that it was all a dream after all.

It is seven months since the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania heard Cosby's appeal on two grounds: the admissibility of a damaging deposition given by Cosby in civil proceedings brought by Constand and the decision by trial judge Steven O'Neill to permit five other women testify to allegedly similar 'prior bad acts' at his second trial in 2018.

O'Neill had only permitted one other accuser to testify at the 2017 trial which ended in mistrial, and he never gave any reason for his change of heart second time round.

When Constand first reported the alleged assault in 2005 the then Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor found her lacking in credibility. In the absence of any corroborating evidence, he concluded that a criminal prosecution would not succeed.

Castor issued a press release saying that the county would not bring criminal charges in a move intended to help Constand get 'justice' through a civil suit.

Without the spectre of criminal proceedings Cosby couldn't plead the Fifth when deposed in an interrogation that took place over four days. In 2006 Constand received a civil settlement of $3.2million.

Last Wednesday, in an excoriating opinion, the Supreme Court described Castor's successors' - former DA Risa Ferman and current DA Kevin Steele – act of using Cosby's civil depositions against him in a criminal trial, as a 'bait and switch.'

The judges stated that the move had stripped Cosby of his Fifth Amendment rights twice over, harming him in the civil action and damning him in the criminal one.

They not only vacated his conviction but ensured that he would never again be prosecuted on charges relating to Constand.

Thwarted DA Steele has dismissed the Supreme Court decision as one based on, 'a procedural issue that is irrelevant to the facts of the case.'

When Cosby entered prison, he weighed 215lbs. He now weighs 173lbs and, Wyatt said, Camille is determined to fatten him up. Cosby is seen looking worse for wear in his 2020 mugshot (right) compared to his 2018 mugshot (left) 

Wyatt believes that prison saved Cosby's life, because it was during his time behind bars that doctors' concern over his soaring blood pressure led to the discovery of a 90 percent blockage in both his right and left carotid arteries

Today Wyatt pushed back describing Steele's conduct as an 'egregious abuse of [Cosby's] constitutional rights and due process.'

He said, 'The constitution is not a technicality…it was not given to us as a suggestion.'

And, where some have sought to draw a distinction between legal and moral guilt suggesting that being cleared of one does not equate to absolution of the other, for Cosby and his team the Supreme Court decision is nothing short of total vindication.

Wyatt said, 'Look this man at 83 years old is [physically] and mentally strong. I always say that prison didn't break Mr. Cosby. Mr. Cosby broke prison.'

Cosby refused to participate in any courses for the rehabilitation of sexual predators despite the fact that he would only be eligible for parole if he did so.

Now Wyatt said, 'I think that was a strong message to the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court.'

Wyatt said that Cosby was 'pressured every day' to sign papers conceding to the program. But, he said, 'Mr. Cosby was steadfast.'

He modeled himself on Nelson Mandela, Wyatt said, a man whom he met many years ago. The way Wyatt and Cosby see it he was a political prisoner too with his prosecution carrying undertones of racism in the desire to bring him down.

Cosby was prepared to serve out his time – a sentence of up to ten years – in SCI Phoenix's general population rather than take any step towards accepting guilt.

He became involved in the Man Up program run by a fellow inmate to help offenders prepare themselves for life out of prison and, Wyatt said, he earned the respect and protection of his fellow prisoners in the process.

Wyatt said, 'I would say he did the time in the proper way. He stayed healthy. He worked out in his cell, did leg lifts and crunches, sit-ups that sort of thing and tried to eat as healthy as possible.'

When Cosby entered prison, he weighed 215lbs. He now weighs 173lbs and, Wyatt said, Camille is determined to fatten him up.

In fact, Wyatt believes that prison saved Cosby's life, because it was during his time behind bars that doctors' concern over his soaring blood pressure led to the discovery of a 90 percent blockage in both his right and left carotid arteries.

Cosby refused to participate in any courses for the rehabilitation of sexual predators despite the fact that he would only be eligible for parole if he did som which Wyatt said was, 'a strong message to the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court.'

Supporters are seen outside of Cosby's home in Pennsylvania the day of his release 

There were also demostrators outside of Cosby's residence who protested the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's motion to overturn the conviction 

Cosby had two separate procedures to clear them in Fall 2019 and according to Wyatt, 'I would like to say prison saved his life because I don't think he would ever have told anyone [about his symptoms].'

Now that Cosby is free, he is, Wyatt said, receiving acupuncture, drinking VIDL Wellness tea and embracing an holistic approach to health as advocated by his wife who is a great proponent of Chinese and herbal medicine.

According to Wyatt, far from being rocked by the events of the past years – the trials and very public airing of numerous extra-marital encounters described by Cosby as consensual – the Cosby marriage is stronger than ever.

Neither of the Cosbys were, according to Wyatt, troubled by the women who came forward with their allegations before and during both trials. Instead, they viewed them as, 'distractors.'

Wyatt said, 'I don't think he looked back on anything [like that during his time in prison]. He said that was part of his life. That was his past and he and Mrs. Cosby had discussed that, and they moved on and he moved on from it. Infidelity happens.

'I think he reflected on a lot of things, on how he wanted to manoeuvre his life…career-wise. But as far as any of those alleged distractors, he never thought about them.'

As for Camille, Wyatt said, 'She told me, 'I understood the business that my husband was in. And not only did I understand it, I accepted those things. We dealt with those things then and there's no perfect relationship. There is no perfect marriage.'

He said, 'Look, she's always supporting. She has been his manager for 54 years. She loves him. She's the matriarch of the family and she's the matriarch of all of us. Everything you see me do has always been steered and directed and supported by her.

'Everything that you see him do is steered and directed and supported by Mrs. Cosby. Everything that you see the attorneys do is steered and directed and supported by Mrs. Cosby. She's on board.'

Wyatt said, 'You don't have to air your dirty laundry to the public and that's what Mrs. Cosby and Mr. Cosby decided not to do. I think that's what infuriated the media.'

But much of the airing of that 'dirty laundry' was arguably beyond their control. Does Wyatt think the damage done to Cosby's reputation is irreparable? Can the man once known as America's Dad ever regain the public trust he once enjoyed?

Even though Cosby was charged only with the assault on Constand (above), the trial judge allowed five other accusers to testify that they, too, were similarly victimized

According to Wyatt, 'He got it back when he was vindicated, Wednesday. He got it back. Look he has over 3.3million followers on social media who never left.

'There was a group out of Atlanta on Sunday 4th of July threw a 'Welcome back Bill Cosby' party. You get [the trust] back by standing on principle and you maintain your innocence and people see you're fighting.'

The trials of the past years – the allegations, the millions in legal fees, the decimation of his character and legacy – are not things that Cosby can easily leave behind or move on from regardless of his newfound freedom. But, according to Wyatt, he has big plans for the future.

He wants to go on tour and insists that he is in good enough health to do so. He is developing a television show, working on a documentary and a book and determined to use his own experience of prison to advocate for prison reform.

He wants to look forward, not back.

Wyatt said, 'Look, this was a huge victory. This was the Super Bowl, the NBA Championship, the Stanley Cup and the World Series…and we didn't ask for a participation trophy.

'We played the game, and we played the game fair. They didn't.'

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Read full article at Daily Mail

The Cosby case and the cool virtue

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 10 July, 2021 - 02:06pm

The cool virtue | The Blade

Toledo Blade 10 July, 2021 - 02:06pm

Bill Cosby Accusers Are "Disgusted" & "Sickened" By Actor's Release From Prison

HotNewHipHop 10 July, 2021 - 02:06pm

The women appeared for a joint interview with NBC News on Thursday (July 8) and didn't hold back on vocalizing their emotions regarding the case.

"I'm angry at the legal system," Victoria Valentino said. "We put our necks on the line and then the legal system yanked the rug out from under us." Marcella Tate reiterated those sentiments. "I'm feeling frustrated," said Tate. "And upset because I feel like a bully has been let go."

"I'm concerned for the victims of sexual assault, that they will have that attitude of why bother?" asked Barbara Bowman. "Why bother telling my story?" Added Lili Bernard, "This is not about race, it's about rape. The only place that race plays into this is the fact that Bill Cosby was disproportionately targeting Black women."

Other women stated they were "sickened" and "disgusted." Check out a clip from the interview below.

[via]

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Releasing Cosby is an injustice to survivors like me | Opinion

The Philadelphia Inquirer 10 July, 2021 - 02:06pm

Cosby’s release was not based on his innocence, but rather because former District Attorney Bruce Castor told Cosby he didn’t intend to prosecute him, and based on this Cosby provided damaging testimony later used as evidence by Kevin Steele, the Montgomery County district attorney who got him convicted. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court thus decided that Cosby’s trial was unfair and released him.

A Montgomery County judge had previously deemed Cosby a sexually violent predator under Megan’s Law, which is not a casual designation. It means a judge ruled Cosby had, according to the Pennsylvania State Police, “a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes the person likely to engage in predatory sexually violent offenses.” This designation requires the individual to appear four times per year because it’s the worst offense category under Megan’s Law. Now such an individual has been released from prison without an opportunity for a retrial and without supervision.

Predators frequently contest their sentences. In an eerie parallel, the serial rapist who drugged and raped me in Philadelphia is appealing his Idaho conviction, alleging ineffective counsel after being deemed a sexually violent predator in Pennsylvania, sentenced to 21 years in a Pennsylvania prison, and later convicted of rape in Idaho. Similar to Cosby, he is contesting his prison sentence based on a legal technicality. We have no way of knowing how many women he raped, because many won’t come forward. Now more than ever, we can understand why.

As someone who came forward to report sexual assault and has experienced the legal process from preliminary hearings and court testimony to parole hearings, I can attest to the challenges for victims. I’m worried the decision to release a high-profile predator may deter others from coming forward.

Overturning Cosby’s conviction may send women the message that their stories simply will not be believed, even when they are joined by dozens of others making allegations. Even without reinforcing this message, women often have enough trouble believing themselves after experiencing sexual assault or misconduct.

Men like Cosby and my rapist attempt to build trust — the former based on his reputation as “America’s Dad,” the latter by masquerading as a doctor. Multiple women reported that each man used drugs to facilitate assault. In addition to hindering victims’ ability to offer consent, these drugs leave them with limited memories. That impairment, combined with the men’s seemingly innocuous reputations, can send victims spiraling into self-doubt and reduce the chances of women coming forward.

But the only way to get predators off the street is to report what happened, even if that doesn’t occur immediately. A long-held rape myth, in line with Cosby’s defense strategy of shaming and dismissing accounts of the women who came forward, is that victims immediately report. This is not true, especially when the victim knows his or her assailant. Like many other survivors, I came forward and Andrea Constand came forward months or years later. And trauma-informed experts indicate that reporting long after the incident is the norm, not the exception.

Reporting an assault makes a difference. Even if Cosby’s conviction was overturned, he spent three years in prison. My rapist has been imprisoned for 15 years. During their incarceration, these sexually violent predators couldn’t hurt other women.

We need our system to protect current and future victims, not those who violated them.

Dr. Allison Weidhaas, associate professor at Rider University, studies gender issues including female business owners, work/life issues, and gender-based violence. She is the author of a book on female business owners, has contributed to numerous publications, and is working on a book about the women who survived the match.com serial rapist. She is also an advocate for gender equality and speaks to audiences about her sexual assault.

Eight Bill Cosby Accusers Criticize Prison Release in Joint TV Interview

Complex 10 July, 2021 - 02:06pm

© Complex Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Approximately 60 women in total have accused the disgraced comedian of rape, sexual assault, and sexual misconduct, and eight of them sat down for an interview on NBC News this week to share how they feel about his conviction being overturned. Two of the interviewees previously testified against Cosby.

“I’m angry at the legal system. We put our necks on the line and then the legal system yanked the rug out from under us,” Victoria Valentino told the outlet.

On June 30, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned Cosby’s conviction, for which he had spent approximately three years behind bars. It was argued that testimony from further accusers in the retrial had “tainted” the proceedings, despite a lower court finding said testimony showed Cosby’s pattern of sexually abusive behavior. Despite his convinction being overturned, it does not mean he was found innocent. In fact, Cosby admitted to drugging women with the use of prescription drugs during a testimony in 2015.

“I’m feeling frustrated,” said accuser Marcella Tate. “And upset because I feel like a bully has been let go.”

The group of women expressed concern that the overturning of the conviction would disparage victims of sexual assault. “They will have that attitude of ‘why bother?’” said Barbara Bowman. 

Following Cosby’s release, his representative Andrew Wyatt called the moment “justice for Black America,” but accuser Lili Bernard has maintained “this is not about race, it’s about rape.”

Bernard added, “The only place that race plays into this is the fact that Bill Cosby was disproportionately targeting Black women.”

“He was not proclaimed innocent,” Janice Baker-Kinney said. “They didn’t say he wasn’t guilty. He’ll never be innocent. And I think those of us in our sisterhood need to hold on to that.”

Eight Bill Cosby Accusers Speak Out Against His Release in Joint Interview

VladTV 10 July, 2021 - 02:06pm

Eight of Bill Cosby's sexual assault accusers expressed their shock and disappointment in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision to overturn the comedian's conviction.

NBC senior national correspondent Kate Snow followed up with seven of the 27 women she spoke with in 2015 about Cosby's alleged misconduct. Two of the women testified against Cosby in court and shared the other accusers' anger in the legal system.

"I'm angry at the legal system," said Victoria Valentino. "We put our necks on the line and then the legal system yanked the rug out from under us."

"I'm feeling frustrated and upset because I feel like a bully has been let go," added Marcella Tate.

Kathy McKee and Linda Kirkpatrick added that they were "sickened" and "disgusted" by Cosby's release. Janice Baker-Kinney pointed out that Cosby was release was due to a due process issue and not because he was innocent.

"He was not proclaimed innocent," Baker-Kinney said. "They didn't say he wasn't guilty. He'll never be innocent. And I think those of us in our sisterhood need to hold on to that."

While some of the women believed the overturned conviction would prevent more victims from coming forward, Lise-Lotte Lublin stated she would do it all over again.

"I would go back and do it again," Lublin said. "This man has spent two years and nine months in jail, this man has lost his entire reputation. He's lost every bit of credibility that he's ever had."

The women also rejected Cosby spokesperson Andrew Wyatt's claim about the role race played in Cosby's conviction.

"This is not about race, it's about rape," said Lili Bernard. "The only place that race plays into this is the fact that Bill Cosby was disproportionately targeting Black women."

About 60 women have publicly accused Bill Cosby of rape, sexual assault, and sexual misconduct. During Thursday's interview, the eight accusers declared their intent to fight for change in the legal system, particularly changes to the statute of limitations on sexual assault.

"There's a fire inside of me," Lublin said. "That just made me want to go out and make change even more than I did in 2015. This has lit me up in the sense that I need to do something, I need to do more."

Source: USA Today

Bill Cosby 'planning to stage comeback in London'

Metro.co.uk 08 July, 2021 - 06:15pm

Bill Cosby is reportedly plotting a return to the stage in London, according to his publicist, after his sexual assault conviction was overturned, resulting in his release from prison.

The 83-year-old had been sentenced to up to 10 years after being found guilty on three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

However the conviction was overturned earlier this month by the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court and he was released after three years inside.

The Cosby Show star’s publicist Andrew Wyatt told the Los Angeles Times Cosby’s planned performance will be ‘vintage storytelling’, will be ‘inclusive of human rights and civil rights’ and draw on his own experiences from throughout his life.

It comes after Cosby’s rep also suggested there could be a documentary on the way, telling reporters outside the star’s home near Philadelphia: ‘He’s Bill Cosby. He is one of the greatest of the world.

‘There’s always going to be a different narrative… but you don’t have 1million followers and counting if you don’t have support.’

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Cosby is said to be under contract with ‘documentary people’, his spokesperson announced, adding: ‘Trust me. This guy wants to talk.’

In a statement after his release, Cosby tweeted for the first time as a free man saying in a statement: ‘I have never changed my stance nor my story. I have always maintained my innocence.

‘Thank you to all my fans, supporters and friends who stood by me through this ordeal. Special thanks to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for upholding the rule of law.’

It is reported that the entertainer is ‘exploring legal options’ to sue after his release.

If you’ve got a celebrity story, video or pictures get in touch with the Metro.co.uk entertainment team by emailing us celebtips@metro.co.uk, calling 020 3615 2145 or by visiting our Submit Stuff page – we’d love to hear from you.

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