In his first interview since being sentenced in September 2018 to 3 to 10 years in prison for charges of aggravated indecent assault involving the drugging and molestation of Andrea Constand in 2004, comedian and actor Bill Cosby, 82, predicted that he would be forced to serve out his full sentence because “they’re not going to hear me say that I have remorse.”
“I have eight years and nine months left,” Cosby told National Newspaper Publishers Association’s BlackPressUSA.com in a phone interview published Sunday. “When I come up for parole, they’re not going to hear me say that I have remorse. I was there. I don’t care what group of people come along and talk about this when they weren’t there. They don’t know.”
The ruling against him, the comedian told NNPA’s Stacey M. Brown, was all a “set-up” and the jury rigged.
“It’s all a set up. That whole jury thing. They were imposters,” he said. As alleged evidence, Cosby pointed to “the woman who blew the whistle,” the potential juror who said she overheard another juror declare before the trial began that “he’s guilty.”
“Then she went in and came out smiling, it’s something attorneys will tell you is called a payoff,” he said. “I know what they’ve done to my people. But my people are going to view me and say, ‘that boy looks good. That boy is strong.’ I have too many heroes that I’ve sat with. Too many heroes whom I listened to like John Henrik Clarke, Kenneth Clark, and Dorothy Height. Those people are very strong, and they saw the rejection of their people. This is political. I can see the whole thing.”
The “Cosby Show” star spent a lengthy portion of one of the multiple 15-minute-limited calls through SCI Phoenix’s phone system describing his sense of “mission” in prison, which he suggested is trying to instill some personal accountability in the other prisoners through his role as a featured speaker with SCI Phoenix’s Mann Up prisoner empowerment program.
Calling his cell his “penthouse,” he said he goes to “lay down and start to think about how I can relay a message and give it on Saturdays so that they would hear it and feel it.” He noted that he frequently has to tell other inmates that he’s “not a psychologist”; rather, he is “an educator.”
Asked if he believes he’s reaching people, Cosby said yes, “because they want to be reached; they’re in prison.” While he tells people he doesn’t know the secret to success, he says he does know “the secret to failure”: trying to “please everybody.”
In response to Brown’s question about how he “did not let them break” him, Cosby said it was his “spirit,” which has remained strong despite the situation.
While Cosby expressed no “remorse” for the actions in 2004, he did suggest that his famous “Pound Cake” speech delivered that year should not have been directed to the entirety of the African American community, rather to a more narrowed portion of it: the type of people who end up at SCI-Phoenix.
“The mistake I made [in the speech] is making it sound like all the people were making the infractions, and that’s not true,” he said. But what he said in the speech, he stressed, has a “light” behind it.
As for the current state of the African American community, he described it generally as “under siege” and resulting in what he was trying to warn people about in 2004. “This thing with the drugs and the different pockets of the neighborhoods where it’s going on,” he said. “When you look at what drugs are doing… things that make these people drive around and shoot into crowds.”
“The insanity of what is the cause to the brain by all the drugs these people are dealing with,” he continued. “It’s exactly what I warned them about in 2004. They’ve thrown education out the window. They’ve thrown respect for the family out the window, and they’re blaming each other for what’s going on. There is post-traumatic stress syndrome, and there are also bad manners.”