A judge has recently decided that Bill Cosby is to stand trial on sexual assault charges stemming from a 2004 case. Cosby will stand criminal trial for three counts of indecent assault in a case involving Andrea Constand, the first of more than 50 women to allege that Cosby sexually assaulted them. Criminal defense attorney Paul Cambria spoke to WBEN about the upcoming trial and the likelihood that Cosby will be acquitted. The full interview is available on the WBEN website.
Several factors could contribute to acquittal
When WBEN asked if Cosby is likely to be acquitted of these charges, Mr. Cambria said that it is possible for several reasons. “His position has always been that his encounters were consensual,” Mr. Cambria explained. “I think where he stumbled and got himself into the situation that he’s in is that, when he was sued by the woman who now is the focus of his criminal trial, he admitted that he was purchasing Quaaludes and that at some times he was giving those to people. Although, he claims in this situation that, I guess, he gave her Benadryl or something like that. That, coupled with her statement, is what got the judge to rule that there should be a trial. And, there’s a 12 year statute of limitations and they missed it by days. He was only a few days away from that statute having run.”
Mr. Cambria also told WBEN that Constand’s credibility and the jury’s perception of the situation could play a part. “His lawyer, from what I’ve seen, is taking the position that there are a lot of inconsistencies between her statement to the police and her statements in the civil trial. And, as a result of that, her credibility is in question. So, that might be his out. All of these cases really depend on the juries. I mean, it could be an OJ Simpson situation where, if you get the right jury, it doesn’t matter. So, the big part of this has to be played out,” he said.
WBEN asked Mr. Cambria if a woman needs to be conscious to give consent. Mr. Cambria responded, “Well, there’s no doubt about that. And what she is claiming is that he gave her some wine and then he gave her these pills and, the next thing you know, he was fondling her and so on.” He went on to say that Mr. Cosby claims that the two had a number of encounters in hotel rooms and that everything was totally consensual.
Analyzing sexual assault cases rationally
Mr. Cambria emphasized the importance of looking at these cases rationally. “It seems as if [Cosby’s] defense lawyer seems to be getting a little frustrated here because the reports are indicating that he’s shouting and yelling in court and that sounds like, you know, frustration. You would think a professional would be able to hold it,” he said. “But the whole thing could very well turn out to be an acquittal for him. These always depend upon, as I say, the jury and the impression that the witnesses make to the jury. And these days, unfortunately, accusations sometimes are given as much stature as convictions. But we really have to step back and keep a cool head in analyzing cases like this.”
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.