The XX Factor

Right-Wingers and People on Twitter Spent More Time Defending Bill Cosby Than His Lawyer Did

Bill Cosby leaves the Norristown, Pennsylvania courtroom during his sexual assault trial on June 8, 2017.

Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

After Norristown, Pennsylvania prosecutors spent a week arguing Andrea Constand’s sexual-assault case against Bill Cosby, Cosby’s defense team got a turn to lay out its case on Monday morning.

Brian McMonagle, Cosby’s lawyer, was done in six minutes.

According to reports in the Washington Post and elsewhere, McMonagle called just one witness to the stand: a detective, who confirmed that Constand had indeed filed a police report after the alleged assault in 2004.

The dearth of any substance whatsoever in Cosby’s defense offers observers a damning impression of the sexual encounter that Cosby insists was consensual. Prosecutors questioned Constand, who offered a chilling testimony of being drugged and assaulted while she couldn’t move. They also questioned a second woman who’s accused Cosby of sexual assault—the only other accuser the judge allowed to testify—as well as witnesses in whom the alleged victims confided after their alleged assaults.

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The defense’s inability to produce any testimony that challenges the accounts offered by the alleged victims speaks to a glaring contradiction in the defense narrative. This isn’t a case of he said–she said, as the defense claims. It’s Cosby saying one thing, and dozens of alleged victims—plus their parents, friends, and co-workers—saying another.

With no one who’d take the stand to corroborate Cosby’s innocence, all McMonagle could do in his closing statement was try to discredit Constand and the prosecution’s other witnesses in his own words. Constand told a “stone-cold lie,” he said. She was Cosby’s “lover,” and they were in a year-long “relationship.” (Constand, who is gay, was dating a woman at the time of the alleged assault.) Cosby is a victim of the Dr. Phil show and CNN, who aired the stories Cosby’s accusers have told, McMonagle said. These women were motivated by a desire to appear on TV, he said. He implied that because Constand contacted a lawyer who does civil sexual-assault suits soon after contacting the police, she must have been lying to get money. McMonagle told the jury that Cosby was nothing worse than a man with infidelity issues who made the world laugh and smile as a comedian.

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But when Cosby got his chance to finally prove that Constand—and, by association, the other four dozen women who’ve accused him of sexual assault—might be making it all up, he punted. The prosecution presented 12 witnesses; Cosby presented none.

He does have some advocates outside the courtroom, though. They include right-wing commentators like Rush Limbaugh who say Cosby is being targeted by lying women because he told black people to pull up their pants; people on Twitter still begging the world to leave Cosby alone; and this guy, who told Vice that what happened to Constand doesn’t constitute rape. These people have each spent more time defending Cosby than Cosby spent defending himself. It must have been easy for them to mount a case to social media and the press on his behalf. Unlike the dozen witnesses who testified against Cosby last week, these devoted defenders weren’t under oath.

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