On April 26, comedian Bill Cosby was convicted on three counts of sexual assault. Attorney Paul Cambria spoke to WBEN about the conviction and what the next steps could be for Cosby and his legal team. The full interview is available on the WBEN website.
Reaction to conviction
WBEN asked Mr. Cambria for his reaction to Cosby’s being convicted on all three counts of sexual assault. “I’m not surprised,” Mr. Cambria responded. “This time around, the judge allowed several more people to testify. More women who said they were victimized, which is always a very compelling testimony. It supposedly comes in under rigid instructions about how it can be considered, but it usually very much is prejudicial to the defendant. So I’m not surprised, and I think the judge may put him right in jail, pending sentencing,” he continued.
When asked how likely it is that Cosby will seek bail, Mr. Cambria detailed various different scenarios. “They could remand him today and require a formal bail application. Lots of times, unless there’s a really strong appellate issue, bail pending appeal can be denied. If there’s a strong appellate issue there, the court should grant him bail pending appeal,” he explained. “But,” he went on, “in a case like this with this much publicity in the wake of the #MeToo campaign and so on, I will be surprised if he’s granted bail.”
Cosby will potentially receive the maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for his conviction. Mr. Cambria told WBEN that it is likely that the judge “will throw the book” at Cosby. “There’s so much publicity and so on in this case that I think that the pressure will be on to give him a lengthy sentence. It may not be the whole 30 years, but even if it’s 10 years it’s basically the end of the line,” he explained.
WBEN asked what evidence was presented that could have caused the jury to present a guilty verdict. “I think, first of all, the judge’s allowing several other women to come forward and say they had similar circumstances with him,” Mr. Cambria responded. “And, in addition to that, [Cosby] may have had a disadvantage this time not having a local attorney who could size up the local population and know the particular details and quirks of the population in picking a jury. Because, in cases like this, picking the jury is 90% of the case. So he may have made a big mistake by not having local counsel fully engaged in trying the case.”
Chance of appeal
Mr. Cambria explained that one of the issues that came up at the trial was the issue of consent. “My guess,” he said, “is that they will attempt to interview these jurors and see if they will discuss their deliberations. They’re not compelled to either discuss or not discuss. That’s a personal decision on the part of jurors but, if there were jurors who were holding out and then eventually pleaded guilty, they would be good candidates for an interview. And it may turn out that there’s an issue here in regard to their questions regarding consent.”
“I think what we’re going to see,” he continued, “is some swift incarceration and a substantial period of time that he is in prison before the appeal is heard. Obviously, there will definitely be an appeal.”
About Paul J. Cambria, Jr.
The chair of Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria’s Criminal Defense Trials and Appeals Practice Area, Mr. Cambria advises clients on criminal trials, criminal appeals, constitutional and First Amendment law, zoning and land use, antitrust, and professional licensing defense. He divides his time between the firm’s offices in Buffalo and Los Angeles.