Bill Cosby’s next criminal court date in his sexual assault case is February 2 in a Montgomery County Court in Pennsylvania. The preliminary hearing originally scheduled on January 14 was postponed until February 2. It is now indefinitely postponed. In its place, Cosby lawyer Monique Pressley’s Motion to Dismiss the Case as improperly charged and Motion to Recuse the Montgomery County Prosecutors will be heard. Pressley argues a previous agreement with the prior prosecutor stated Cosby would never be charged. The prosecution case may be in for an uphill battle
Montgomery County, Pennsylvania prosecutors charged Bill Cosby, longtime TV Dad, with aggravated indecent assault without consent, aggravated indecent assault while complainant is unconscious or unaware and aggravated indecent assault while person impairs complainant. The incidents allegedly occurred on January 15, 2004 at Mr. Cosby’s Philadelphia suburban home against former Temple University employee, Andrea Constand.
From what I have seen and read about Monique Pressley, she is an intelligent, aggressive and tenacious attorney who will mount a zealous defense on behalf of her client. Having previously worked in the District of Columbia’s Federal Pubic Defender’s Office, she is skilled at handling criminal defense cases. And from all accounts that I have seen, she is doing a phenomenal job speaking on behalf of her client, asserting his right of innocence under the law—despite what the court of public opinion holds.
Often times, people will ask defense lawyers if they believe their client is innocent or guilty. Our beliefs of guilt or innocence as attorneys do not matter. The willingness of passionate defense attorneys to mount a zealous defense, as Ms. Pressley appears to be doing, is what matters.
No case is ever a slam dunk—despite what the public views as one. And sexual assault cases are among the hardest cases to prove and obtain a conviction. That is often because unfortunately the victim is the one who appears on trial too. The victim’s statements, inconsistencies, character, prior acts are all scrutinized for her credibility in the present case.
A judge will ultimately make the decision on whether other victims may testify. Other victims may testify in a case where there is a common scheme or plan known as “modus operandi”. Since over 50 other victims allege similar sexual acts and patterns occurred to them is one reason for some of the other victims to testify. But on the other side of the coin, a judge must decide if any of the other similar alleged acts are too prejudicial for a jury to hear. I am sure that Pressley will fiercely advocate why prosecutors cannot bootstrap Constand’s case with the other victims and the jury must weigh Cosby’s case solely on the instant charges.
Having a woman and particularly an African American woman is an added bonus in Cosby’s defense. Pressley will be able to cross examine on the charges without turning off potential women jurors. And having an African American female attorney standing beside Cosby, in the fight of his life, will subtly send a message and possibly raise doubts to what might be any African American jurors. Pressley’s fierceness in defending Cosby shines through. And through her efforts, the case against Bill Cosby may never reach a jury.
Lawyers are required to zealously represent their clients. Ms. Pressley is more than meeting that requirement. Regardless of what I may think about Mr. Cosby’s guilt or innocence, he made the right choice in selecting Monique Pressley as his attorney.
Washington, DC based Debbie Hines is a trial lawyer, legal analyst and former prosecutor. When she is not representing and defending clients in court, she can be seen on air on Al Jazeera America, BET, CBS News, Fox 5 DC, MSNBC and other outlets. Her writings appear in the Huffington Post, Washington Post, Baltimore Sun and Baltimore Afro American. She is a native of Baltimore.