Bill Cosby's legal team has accused prosecuting lawyer Gloria Allred of building her campaign on "racial bias".
Lawyers for the comedian face the prospect of 13 women - 12 of whom are white - testifying in court that he drugged and molested them.
Cosby’s legal team made the accusation outside the courthouse on Tuesday (06Sep16) after a hearing in his criminal sexual assault case in Philadelphia.
Allred “calls herself a civil rights attorney, but her campaign against Mr. Cosby builds on racial bias and prejudice that can pollute the court of public opinion,” the lawyers said in a statement, according to the New York Post,
“Mr. Cosby is no stranger to discrimination and racial hatred. When the media repeats her accusations - with no evidence, no trial and no jury - we are moved backwards as a country and away from the America that our civil rights leaders sacrificed so much to create.”
Allred, who represents almost half of the women who have agreed to testify against Cosby, called the tactic “desperate.”
The 79-year-old’s legal team’s comments were seen as ironic, as in 2004 Cosby gave an infamous speech given at an NAACP event, which came to be known as the Pound Cake Speech in which he blasted the black community for its failures in the wake of the civil rights movement, and claimed its obstacles to social advancement were not down to white racism, the problems were personal and cultural.
“Looking at the incarcerated, these are not political criminals,” Cosby said. “These are people going around stealing Coca-Cola. People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake! 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?”
Georgetown University sociology professor Michael Eric Dyson, a black scholar and author of the book Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind?, told the New York Post: “It is ironic that a man who has chastised the black poor for making race an excuse would now have to lean upon that as part of his defense strategy."
The Cosby Show star is facing felony charges of aggravated indecent assault, amid allegations he drugged and sexually assaulted former Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his home in Pennsylvania in 2004. Cosby is set to go on trial next June and he could get 10 years in prison if convicted.
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