Nearly a year after the jury failed to pass judgment on the sexual abuse charges against Bill Cosby, the comedian will soon be tried again. This time, lawyers will factor in the impact of the #Metoo movement on the jury
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
Since Bill Cosby's Sexual Offense ended in a hung jury in June 2017, the #Metoo movement has exploded. Women speak out against male perpetrators, and powerful men are held accountable. Cosby's recovery will start next week. Annette John-Hall of WHYY member station is investigating how #MeToo could affect the retrial process of the once-beloved comedian.
ANNETTE JOHN-HALL, BYLINE: The facts of the Cosby process have remained the same. Prosecutor Andrea Constand visited the comic house. She says that he has offered what he said were allergy pills that left her paralyzed. And then she claims he attacked her. But the world outside the courtroom has changed dramatically with the emergence of the #Metoo movement.
REBECCA TRAISTER: We were forced to hold a national conversation about why women versions of stories were not believed.
JOHN-HALL: Rebecca Traister is an author and journalist who deals with feminist issues for New York magazine. She says the first Cosby trial is a preview of what has happened at the national level.
TRAISTER: For years there were these allegations against Cosby that had been made public, but no one really seemed to care, did they? People knew about them, but nobody really wanted to think about what they meant. Nobody really wanted to expect them.
JOHN HALL: Until last fall, most of us had never heard of #MeToo. But then the Harvey-Weinstein scandal erupted and women from all walks of life came forward to reveal their own experiences of sexual harassment. But now the question arises as to how the #MeToo conversation will invade our criminal justice system and the retrial process of Cosby.
GLORIA ALLRED: There has been a power dynamic.
JOHN-HALL: Gloria Allred is the civil rights lawyer who has been working on women's issues for over 40 years and represents some of Cosby's prosecutors.
ALLRED: Well, the people who have been silenced, who have shamed the victims, sacrifice their guilt, now they are talking. And now the accused are the ones who are afraid of being accused and ashamed. So we live in a new age.
JOHN HALL: This time the court allowed five more women to testify. Along with Constand, these women are likely to testify that they have been drugged and sexually assaulted by Cosby. David Rudovsky is a civil rights activist from Philadelphia. He says that all the lawyers involved in Cosby's case have to deal with how the #MeToo movement will affect the jury.
DAVID RUDOVSKY: You have to hit that head. You can not put your head in the sand and say, well, I hope those 1
JOHN-HALL: Cosby claims whatever happened that night, Constand was friendly. Cosby's lawyers did not want to talk to us. But in January, reporters got a tip that Cosby would have dinner with friends at a local restaurant. Laura McCrystal from the Philadelphia Inquirer was there.
LAURA MCCRYSTAL: He reached out to shake my hand. And I said hello. And he said, please do not put me on #MeToo. I just shook your hand like a man.
JOHN HALL: But whether he likes it or not, Cosby is in the middle of this #Metoo moment. If the 80-year-old is found guilty, he is 10 years behind bars. For NPR News, I am Annette John Hall in Philadelphia
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SHAPIRO: Annette John Hall is the host of the WHYY podcast Cosby Unraveled
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