Innocent until proven guilty

Bill Cosby's last lesson

Bill Cosby’s last lesson

My family was a big Bill Cosby fan. My dad loved his sense of humor. If we saw his name in a production, we were more likely to watch. In my later years, I read his book on Fatherhood. I continued with my dad’s tastes and listened to Cosby comedy whenever possible. I appreciated his wisdom. I loved his lessons. Until the accusations of rape started pouring in.

A steady stream of tearful accusers rolled past our screens. It was painful to watch. Ultimately – due to peer pressure and guilt – I finally stop thinking of Cosby as anything like “wise.” The more the media talked about the alleged crime, the more difficult it was to think of Cosby as anything other than a serial rapist at large.

When the criminal trial began, I though, “Here comes the end for Cosby.” But something unexpected happened. We have a mistrial – because, because, why?

A mistrial means one of two things: either the prosecution did a terrible job of putting the case together, or the evidence was not convincing – the witnesses were conflicting – and the circumstances that are so important in cases like this, simply did not line up. Nobody is saying that the prosecutor on the case –  District Attorney Kevin Steele – has made any obvious blunders. In a matter of hours after announcing the mistrial, Steele announced that the prosecution will  retrial – but for different charges (5A: double-jeopardy). Which means they’ll have weaker evidence, probably weaker eyewitnesses, and more circumstantial evidence. Maybe this time Cosby’s defenders will have a chance to present evidence that at least one of the most prominent accusers may have planned to blackmail Cosby all along.

There’s been quite a lot of flack about the “eerie similarity” between all of the accusers. Maybe that’s an angle that starting to work against them. I know I’m starting to feel as though I have been conned.

I’ll hold my final opinion until after the next (and probably final) retrial. But if it goes to mistrial or worse yet, if Cosby is acquitted – what then? For certain, I’ll be aghast. Shocked. Dismayed. Either way however, the “court of public opinion” has really shown its evil side this time. And I was right there all along. We’ve engaged in character assassination of the worst kind – without the benefit of due process guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Maybe this is Cosby’s last lesson for us. Not so much about how the public can turn against a celebrity – that’d be too mundane. No. This lesson is deeper. It’s more about revealing the true self – about looking at the mirror and seeing the flaws in our own character. I am a former Bill Cosby character assassin. Guilty as charged.

Today, I hold that Bill Cosby is innocent. I am certain of it, until a jury says otherwise.

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