Bill Cosby is relieved and feeling great following a declaration of mistrial in his sexual assault trial, and wants to plan a series of town hall meetings to talk to young people about how to avoid winding up at the defendant’s table themselves.
“People need to be educated. A brush against the shoulder – anything at this point – can be considered sexual assault,” said Cosby spokesperson Ebonee Benson during a visit to Birmingham, Ala. station WBRC.
She has served as spokesperson for Bill Cosby’s wife Camille Cosby, and delivered Mrs. Cosby’s forceful statement blasting the judge, district attorney and the media after the trial ended.
“Seeing Mrs. Cosby in the courtroom .. resonated with the jury,” Benson said. “It took away the celebrity aspect and made them more like regular people. Everyone has problems in a marriage.”
Andrew Wyatt, who serves as Bill Cosby’s spokesperson, said his employer is eager to get back to work.
“We are now planning town halls. We’ll talk to young people,” he said. “This is bigger than Bill Cosby. This issue can affect any young person, especially young athletes of today. They need to know what they’re facing when they’re hanging out and partying, when they’re doing certain things they shouldn’t be doing. It also affects married men.”
Cosby thanked the station for featuring the two spokespeople, who are Birmingham natives, in a pair of tweets:
Cosby was accused of drugging and assaulting Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his estate more than a decade ago. His legal team has branded the encounter as a consensual, romantic liaison.
Cosby’s fate had been hanging in the balance while jurors deliberated in Norristown, Penn. after just six days of testimony. On June 15, Day 4 of deliberations, the jurors first indicated they were deadlocked but were instructed to keep at it. Two days later the judge finally declared a mistrial.
“We knew once they heard the truth it was going to be a mistrial or not guilty,” Wyatt said. “There were so many inconsistencies in Ms. Constand’s testimony. That jury heard those inconsistencies.”
Constand posted a message of thanks following the trial:
Other Cosby accusers have spoken out as well.
“It’s not an acquittal,” Tamara Green told People. “I have faith in the jury system of the United States.”
Accuser Kristina Ruehli said jurors’ feelings about Cosby – for decades a beloved comic, television personality and celebrity pitchman – may have guided their deliberations.
“This has been a particularly difficult case in it’s factual pattern,” she told People. “I think with a jury, perhaps some may have judged Andrea by what they would have done in her place — perplexing to some — rather than that in fact a non-consensual sexual assault did occur.”