Bill Cosby: From Personal Responsibility Guru to Perp

The dismantling and downfall of Bill Cosby continues.

A judge said Tuesday in Norristown, Pennsylvania, that the comedian’s trial on sexual assault charges could go forward, ending five months of efforts by Cosby’s lawyers to get the charges dismissed.

The comedian walked into the courthouse on the arm of an aide, waving to people waiting outside.

District Judge Elizabeth McHugh ruled that prosecutors had sufficient evidence to bring Cosby, 78, to trial in the lone criminal case brought against him out of dozens of allegations from women that he drugged and molested them.

The man who was once one of America’s most beloved entertainers, the man whose Cliff Huxtable character was a paragon of virtue and an idol for black families across the country, and the man who personally put himself forth as the wise guru for a generation, will now face at trial at least one of the women who have accused him of sexual misconduct.

His legacy has been almost completely changed. The beloved crazy-sweater-wearing figure who starred in a groundbreaking family sitcom — who was a voice of moral authority on black culture and education and who made audiences laugh for decades with his stand-up comedy — is now a broken man.

It’s a not a role he is accustomed to, clearly. Even as recently as 2013, he was still offering his opinions: He told CNN’s Don Lemon how black men need to raise their kids.

And a decade before being charged with sexual assault, Cosby gave a speech in which he actually blamed black people for getting shot by police and for their high incarceration rates. He urged personal responsibility, something you just don't hear these days.

Cosby delivered those remarks — called the "pound cake speech" — to the NAACP in 2004. In it, he railed against black women for supposedly "having children by five, six different men" and bemoaned the existence of black men with "pants down around the crack."

The "pound cake" reference came when Cosby went so far as to suggest blacks might be personally responsible for getting shot by police. (Can you imagine him doing that now?)

"These are people going around stealing Coca-Cola. People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake!" Cosby said, according to a transcript released at the time. "Then we all run out and are outraged, 'The cops shouldn't have shot him.' What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand?" said Cosby.

Of course, he also used to "joke" about drugging women. All of his "jokes," all of his lectures, now take on new meaning.

The court made "the right decision," said well-known attorney Gloria Allred, who has not let up in her relentless pursuit of Cosby, as she addressed the media outside the courtroom.

As for Cosby? He walked into the courthouse on the arm of an aide, waving to people waiting outside. But he appeared healthier, according to all reports, than he did when he was charged in December. He did not use a cane as he had in the past.

"Mr. Cosby, good luck to you, sir," the judge said.

"Thank you," said the legendary former TV star and comic, who stood up briskly after the ruling and seemed chipper and unsurprised, as noted by The Associated Press. He hugged one of his lawyers.

An arraignment date was set for July 20. Cosby, who could get 10 years in prison if convicted, has not entered a plea since his Dec. 30 arrest. He is free on $1 million bail.

Last Modified: May 25, 2016, 7:51 pm

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