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Report: Bill Cosby Found Guilty in Sexual Assault Trial; Judge Skeptical of Request to Jail Cosby Until Sentencing. The Jury Deliberated More Than 14 Hours Over Two Days to Reach This Verdict, Guilty on All Three Counts. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired April 26, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: So, he's not going to be awaiting sentencing, mark. Then I assume at some point they could try to appeal, right?
MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. Absolutely. I guarantee you they're going to appeal. They probably will appeal -- one of the first issues will probably be not answering the question as to consent. I know there's no definition and always fraught with danger when a juror asks a question, you never want to get to interactive but that's probably going to be my guess is the first thing you would do is you try to get ahold of the jurors. You try to interview the jurors, you try to see if there was anything untoward that happened in the jury deliberation room and then you try to tie it to the consent issue and see if there was anything else extraneous that made its way into the room.
And my guess is the second issue that would be foremost is the idea of allowing more than one other accuser, uncharged crime to come in. As you had mentioned in the setup to this, there was four additional ones this time around. And that usually is a problem. You might remember, Wolf, in the Specter retrial, that was the same prosecution game plan they used in that case.
BLITZER: Laura Coates suggested, Mark, and I wonder if you agree during this period leading up to sentencing, he won't be sent to jail. Given his history, would he normally go to jail following sentencing as he awaits an appeal?
GERAGOS: Yes. And normally I will tell you in most jurisdictions, if you're convicted on felony and you've been out of custody, 99 times out of 100 the judge will remand you to custody.
BLITZER: So, he might be remanded into custody right now following the -- this conviction --
GERAGOS: 99 times out of 100 that's what happens.
BLITZER: Let me ask Laura if she agrees with you on that. What do you think?
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It is true it's very common once a conviction has been handed down that you would put the person in custody. What may be distinct here is the level of the crime associated in Pennsylvania state court and also the idea of whether or not the court is going to consider are they at risk to the community? Is there some basis on which they intend to actually send them to prison? If the judge has zero intention of ultimately handing down an incarceration sentence as opposed to perhaps probation or other things and they likely may signal they may not have an intention to do so and they would not remand in that way. If the judge at this point in time remands Bill Cosby to prison based on this conviction on three separate counts, you can be sure they don't release following the official sentencing and say never mind, I changed my mind. It's going to really show the hand. I think this may one of those scenarios based on the level of crime, the age of the person and the idea he may not present a threat to the community, he may go home today for now.
BLITZER: Let me get Paul Callen into this conversation as well. What's your reaction, Paul?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's not really a shocking verdict in the sense that he was up against something that very, very few people accused of a serious sexual assault are up against and that is the huge number of women who have made accusations against him. I remember that cover of "New York" magazine, end to end of women who made accusations against Cosby. Admittedly only four extraneous women were introduced into evidence in this trial, but it would be hard to believe that all of those jurors hadn't heard about the many other accusations. And I think it was just the weight of the whole thing that did him in. Secondly, of course, on retrial, typically prosecutors more often than no win their case on retrial because they have an opportunity to sift through errors that resulted in the hung jury in the first trial. I'm not surprised by this verdict at all.
BLITZER: Just to recap, obviously the top of the hour right now. Let me just remind viewers who may just be tuning in, this Montgomery County Pennsylvania jury has found Bill Cosby guilty on all three counts of aggravated indecent assault. He was on trial for drugging and then sexual assaulting Andrea Constand in the Philadelphia suburb back in 2004. Cosby is now 80 years old. The former comedian faces up to ten years in prison on each count, but he could serve them concurrently. The jury, by the way, deliberated more than 14 hours over two days to reach this verdict, guilty on all three counts. You know, Laura, if you're wondering, we should find out fairly soon whether or not he's going to go home or whether he's going to go to jail.
[14:05:00] COATES: We should find out if they will remand or send home pending sentencing. Either way what you're see hearing I think speaks volumes to the power of this jury who although you said 14 hours, that's a very small amount of time to have come back again that last time it was far longer they deliberated. I think it was over 50 hours for a trial that was less than half of this one. And what Paul said on the notion that normally a retrial is going to benefit the prosecution because you get to hear all the testimony in advance, you can find the different loopholes, you can find credibility of the people testifying. You already know the entire defense's case and what they're going to preview. But at the same token, you also have the defense who can do that, parse through the statements of Andrea Constand, figure out why he might not be credible or a liar, as they tried to make her out to the closing arguments.
I think they played their hand incorrectly. But ultimately once again it was the power and volume of all the other accusers that they were able to hear. In the first trial when a judge says I'm not going to let the jury hear from anyone else besides the person who was actually on the other side of the table, the plaintiff in this case, Andrea Constand, it tells the jurors don't consider anything else, I as a judge am tell you, do not consider what you don't hear, it may not be credible. This time when they welcomed in the testimony of the other women to say literally, this happen to me, too. Then you had them bolstering the prosecution's case and believing what they had to say.
BLITZER: I want to show some dramatic video we just got in a few minutes ago. One of the accusers of Cosby walking out rather emotionally. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[distraught Cosby accuser walking out of court house]
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: That's powerful video.
COATES: It is powerful. When I was a federal prosecutor, I handled a great number of sexual assault cases. What I'm seeing there are people who are overwhelmed by the moment, the moment of their personal truth now being affirmed and validated by an actual jury verdict. And it cannot be overstated when people feel as though they're going against the he said/she said scenario, where we have laws in this country and we have the idea that oftentimes you even have to have protection against exposing the sexual past of the alleged accuser or victim in a case like this, it is overwhelming to see the response and believe that none of the women you saw in the video were Andrea Constand, they still felt that their stories and their truths were validated and this was a vehicle for them to show a wrong had been done for them as well, even though limitation periods had already run on many of the cases, even they had not gone to ask for justice for themselves, I think what you're seeing is recognition of how powerful it was to feel for them that even by osmosis they were heard.
[014:10:] BLITZER: There's Andrea Constand. There she is with a smile on her face. You saw a lot of journalists on the courtroom as this trial has clearly ended. This stage will await the judge's decision on sentencing. That should be coming up as well. I assume we're going to hear from the prosecutors, Laura, momentarily here outside the Norristown, Pennsylvania courthouse.
COATES: Absolutely. People have criticized the prosecutor in this case in particular because they believe this was all about publicity and the 11th hour prosecution in and of itself after the former prosecutor declined to prosecute because they felt they did not have sufficient evidence and as the prior prosecutor said who is in an embattled contest with the now sitting DA in that jurisdiction felt there was more of an opportunity for justice through a civil settlement. Now this person accused of having a publicity stunt-based prosecution against Bill Cosby himself will feel --
BLITZER: There's Bill Cosby. He's walking out of the courthouse himself right now. Let's see if we can hear anything. Clearly, we couldn't. We couldn't hear anything. But you see he's holding on to someone. He's losing a lot of his eyesight.
COATES: He is. Remember when he walked in and we saw that video of him walking in, you heard him almost mouth the words, oh boy, as if what am I going to expect when I come into this courtroom. A man of few words throughout this entire trial. He is being led in front of him by it looks to be some sort of a court Marshall who is aiding the security of this person. I am not seeing Bill Cosby in handcuff handcuffs, going back behind the court which is often times where a holding sell were to take place. If a judge were to remand you that moment in time, he often will take you back to behind the courtroom and you'll stay there until you are processed in many ways.
That may bode very well for Bill Cosby in terms of him being released for now from prison while he awaits sentencing. You still see somebody who is very stoic. He does not have a lot of emotion that he's conveying right now. He did just lose his own daughter about several weeks ago, who was an ardent supporter of her father throughout this entire thing.
BLITZER: That's his lawyer, Tom Mesereau.
COATES: His lawyer is walking out as well again further indication that that unless the judge has given them somehow of a courtesy, I see there's a sign saying "restricted hallway" where he's going to. Perhaps he's en route to a place where he'll be privately screened. But that is a luxury that most convicted defendants would not have that high publicity luxury. It seems as though he may be able to leave the courthouse today pending sentencing. We'll have to wait and see what the courthouse has to say.
BLITZER: Let me ask Paul, someone who is 80 years old, convicted of three counts of felony obviously aggravated indecent assault, punishable by up to ten years in jail, an 80-year-old individual like Bill Cosby is losing his eyesight, is he a threat to the community if they let him go right now at least awaiting sentencing?
CALLAN: No, Wolf, I don't think he would constitute a threat to the community in any way, shape or form. I also think that a judge looking at this case, whether it was a hung jury in the first trial and also this issue of allowing the testimony of four other women regarding uncharged crimes, is really extraordinary. And it's something an appellate court is going to very carefully examine. I think there a lot of attorneys who believe this case will be reversed on appeal because those prior women were allowed to testify. The courts are usually very, very strict on this idea of allowing somebody to hear about prior crimes of a defendant, if the defendant doesn't take the witness stand.
[14:15:00] And the thought is that people naturally think if you've done it once, you'll do it again and the court system likes to see cases decided on the evidence that is in court and the evidence relating to a particular victim. So, I'm not saying it will be reversed but a lot of lawyers think it's a really close call. In that situation, it's not unusual for a judge to allow a defendant to remain out of custody while this appeal is being considered by the appellate court. Given his age of 80, his problem with his eyesight, there are a lot of strong arguments to allow him to remain at large pending his appeal.
BLITZER: The difference between the first trial and this trial, Laura, is the #metoo movement has come here to the United States. Every juror said they were familiar with it. Do you think that had an impact in this conviction?
COATES: I do think it had an impact. Of course, it would be very difficult not to be familiar with it. The question for the jury is whether it would guide your hand and you'd be unable to objectively consider the facts as presented. Certainly, no court of law wants to sanction a jury to say we are allowing you to try to convict somebody based on a wave of momentum of cases unrelated to you. This was not a call to action against Harvey Weinstein. This was an action against Bill Cosby.
In that respect I think that the jury had to be very careful and a prosecutor and defense team who was voir direing those jury members would have to say is there any reason you could not follow the law, not just #metoo. Why is this appellate fodder? Most of the time, in every instance you'd never want to have a case where you're telling somebody I think you're a criminal because you've done other things, if you did something else, you'd probably do this as well. We want people to be convicted or tried or indicted on what they've actually done.
BLITZER: Jean Casarez is with us now. Jean, you were in the courtroom as these verdicts were announced, walk us through what you saw and what you heard.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Let me start that after the verdict rang out and it was the clerk that gave the verdict, accusers of Bill Cosby, they were in the courtroom and they let out audible cries at that moment. They weren't real loud, but you could hear them through this quiet courtroom that was just really paralyzed with what I think they were hearing at the time. Court personnel took them out. Immediately it was the state attorney that stood and said we would like to remand the bail of Bill Cosby -- revoke it and remand him into custody as soon as possible. We believe he could be a flight risk.
The judge had an issue with that. He believed that the $1 million bail that currently stands is good until sentencing. At that point the state attorney said, your honor, we believe he's a flight risk, he has a private plane. At that point Bill Cosby stood up, looked at the state attorney and said in a loud, booming voice, he doesn't have a plane, you asshole. It was loud and strong and his PR representative came to calm him down. And the judge sided with Bill Cosby, you give me facts he's a flight risk, I don't see it.
I watched the jury file in. Not one of them looked at Andrea Constand. That can be a sign of in favor for the defense. And then the verdict, guilty, guilty, guilty. At that point Bill Cosby made no audible reaction. He was just staring at the table in front of him, head lowered a little bit. Andrea Constand, all the prosecution team, no visible or audible response. It was a quiet courtroom except for those accusers, the ladies that believe they are victims of Bill Cosby that just couldn't contain themselves when they finally for the first time heard guilty in a criminal court for an entertainer, Bill Cosby, America's dad. Wolf.
[14:20:00] BLITZER: Jean, just to be precise, the judge said Cosby could go back to his Pennsylvania home, he couldn't leave that home and he would require some GPS tracking devices to be installed on him to make sure he didn't flee. And they also ordered I'm told now from some notes that we're getting that there were several assessments for Cosby that now need to be done. What does the judge mean by that?
CASAREZ: That's right. The presentencing investigation has to be done. This is where they look at his physical and mental status and also aspects of scoring. He's never been convicted of a crime before, is he a flight risk, the severity. This is felony aggravated indecent assault. They serious felonies, conviction on three counts. But there's a scoring procedure that goes in place there and they will determine what they believe, those with the probation and parole department believe should be how many years he serves. Remember, it's up to ten years per count. The prosecution then can weigh in also on what they believe. The other assessment will be the sexually violent predator assessment. Remember, it's up to ten years per count. The prosecution then can weigh in also on what they believe. The other assessment will be the sexually violent predator assessment. At this point he will be a registered sex offender because of the conviction of these three sexual assault crimes.
BLITZER: Our producer Aaron Cooper saying he's not allowed to leave the state of Pennsylvania either. Is he allowed to leave his home?
CASAREZ: I personally myself did not hear about electronic monitoring device on his person, but the judge did talk about his passport. There was sort of a question in court that I personally saw on December 30th, 2015 when he initially went to court on the charges, his passport was handed over to the magistrate judge. Unless it was returned, he didn't have it.
BLITZER: Lili Bernard has now walked down the stairs. I want to see if we can hear what she's saying.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LILI BERNARD, ACCUSER OF BILL COSBY: I feel like I'm dreaming. I feel like my faith in humanity is restored. This is not just for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, not just for the 62 of us publicly known survivors of Bill Cosby's drug facilitated sexual crimes against women but it's also a victory for all victims of sexual assault, feel male and male. It's a victim for womanhood. I thank the jury so much for positioning themselves on the right side of history. I just want to hug them. I just want to hug them.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: Let's go back to Jean Casarez, she is there. She just
walked out of the court room. Jean, just to recap for our viewers who may just be tuning in that dramatic moment when you heard Bill Cosby scream out following the conviction all three counts.
CASAREZ: Well, the jury had just left, and the elected State Attorney Kevin Steele jumped up and wanted to discuss revoking the bail on Bill Cosby. He's been on a million-dollar bail, he's made every hearing and every court appearance. In that he had to have reasons he wanted Bill Cosby revoked. He said, your honor, this is someone who has a private plane. Bill Cosby stood up. He's been very mild mannered and quiet and said in a booming voice, "he doesn't have a plane, you asshole." It was just like I am repeating it exactly like he said it in court. It was just screaming, it was direct, and it was focused for the state attorney who led the prosecution for him now to be found guilty.
[14:25:00] BLITZER: We're going to go to that news conference momentarily. Let's listen in right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY FOR COSBY ACCUSERS: Hi, OK. I'm attorney Gloria Allred. I represent 33 accusers of Bill Cosby, and I would like to make a short statement and then I would like to also make a statement on behalf of the three of the five prior bad act witnesses whom I represent who testified in the second criminal trial.
First of all, I want to thank the jury. Justice has been done! And we're very, very happy and proud of this result. Beginning in late 2014, the accusers of Mr. Cosby, whom I represented, began to speak out. It took a great deal of courage. In the beginning many were not believed. We are so happy that finally we can say women are believed and not only on #metoo but in a court of law where they were under oath, where they testified truthfully, where they were attacked, where they were smeared, where they were denigrated, where there were attempts to discredit them and after all is said and done, women were finally believed and we thank the jury so much for that.
And they were believed after the prosecution met their high standard of having to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. And the jury in this second criminal trial found that they believed women, and I'm the happiest I have been about any court decision in 42 years. Chelan Lasha, who testified at this trial states about the guilty verdict, I feel that the judicial system works. 32 years of nightmares and tears are over. Thanks to all of those who have supported me. My client who testified at this trial as well, she's a teacher in Las Vegas says I am extremely grateful to see that the jury was able to see past his defense attorney's lies. And she says more.
But people keep e-mailing me so it's kind of covering up what they're saying. I truly hope that his long list of victims will truly -- will now be able to find some kind of peace. And we will have more from her a little bit later. And finally, we also have a statement from Janice Baker-Kinney, who also testified at this trial. Her statement is, "I am overwhelmed with joy, relief and gratitude, joy that finally justice has been served, relief that the years of this toxic chain of silence has been broken and we can now move forward with our heads held high." There will be more from her later.
So, I just want to say it's been a very long journey, but this is an her-storic result. Not history, not his story but the story of her, the story of Andrea Constand, the who took that risk against a rich, powerful, famous man, took the risk of being denigrated publicly, took the risk of being sued for what they said because he had the resources to do it, took the risk of being shamed and blamed as the defense did in their final argument. Took those risks and they took the risks so that their truth could be known, so that their truth could be believed.
And, yes, the #metoo movement has arrived and is well and is living in Montgomery County throughout this nation and throughout this world. Thank you. Oh, lastly, I do want to thank prosecutor Kristen Feden and M. Stewart Ryan, an amazing prosecutorial office. They believed in this case, they went through that first trial, ended in deadlock. Some prosecutors would not have retried the case. They took that risk for justice, so I want to thank them. Detective Schaffer, all of those who worked so hard behind the scenes and who also believed my clients. And just everyone. So, Tom Mesereau, you tried, you failed. The personal attacks did not work. Bill Cosby, three words for you: guilty, guilty, guilty! Thank you. I'm happy to take any questions. I'm sure others would like to --