Out of prison, Bill Cosby is already planning a comeback sure to court controversy
Bill Cosby is, in a word, “exuberant.” And he wants to get back to performing — and more.
“In his physical appearance, he’s exuberant. In his mental state, he’s exuberant. In his feelings and humor, he’s exuberant,” publicist Andrew Wyatt told The Times on Wednesday. The comedian is “colorful and powerful — more powerful than we’ve ever seen.”
Cosby, 83, is with his family at the moment, Wyatt said, a week after his conviction on three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand was overturned. But plans are in the works to get “The Cosby Show” star back onstage in the U.S., Canada and London, Wyatt said.
Wyatt said Cosby’s next act will weave the disgraced comic’s “vintage storytelling” in with observations from his life today and will be “inclusive of human rights and civil rights” as Cosby works for criminal justice reform and prison reform based on his own experiences.
Cosby “gives you a formula without the preservatives,” his rep said.
An attorney who has represented dozens of sex assault survivors said the Pennsylvania court’s decision may discourage victims from coming forward.
The performer was convicted in April 2018 of drugging and sexually assaulting Constand. He was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison, a term he was serving at a maximum security state facility in Pennsylvania. They were the only criminal charges brought against Cosby, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of women.
Cosby’s team — including the legal staff — still has to work out the details about how audiences, promoters and “media insurrectionists ... who fuel the hate” will be screened, Wyatt said, but he’s not very concerned about hecklers and the like. Plus, he said, “It’s not happening tomorrow.” They have time.
Bill Cosby’s overturned conviction a blow to survivors of sexual assault.
Also in the works, according to Wyatt: A book, written by Frederick Williams, will feature Cosby and Wyatt talking about the performer’s experiences through both of his trials (the civil and the criminal) and while he was in prison. They also will discuss the strategies Cosby and his team used to get him through it all.
Additionally, production is almost done on a five-part docuseries about the nine-time Grammy winner, from “Venus and Serena” director Michelle Major, which will include the comic’s recent experiences in the legal system. Cosby still has to sit for his interview.
In the meantime, his release from prison sent shockwaves across social media last week and landed Phylicia Rashad, his longtime friend and former “Cosby Show” costar, in hot water after she tweeted her support. (She later apologized.)
With one ill-advised tweet, Cosby’s longtime TV wife proved she’s no Clair Huxtable — and made a disconcerting statement about the limits of #MeToo.
As for Cosby’s conviction being overturned on a technicality by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which found that his right to due process had been violated, Wyatt said that the U.S. Constitution "[wasn’t] given to us as a suggestion. It was a mandate.”
Cosby was not found innocent by the state’s high court. Rather, it found that he had a 2005 agreement with a prior prosecutor that shielded him from criminal prosecution in exchange for giving a deposition in Constand’s civil trial. Cosby settled with the former Temple University employee for $3.4 million in that civil complaint.
The attorney who prosecuted Cosby criminally did so despite that agreement — which was never put into writing — violating Cosby’s 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination.
“When a prosecutor makes an unconditional promise of non-prosecution, and when the defendant relies upon that guarantee to the detriment of his constitutional right not to testify, the principle of fundamental fairness that undergirds due process of law in our criminal justice system demands that the promise be enforced,” Justice David N. Wecht wrote in the court’s majority opinion.
Sixty women have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct dating as far back as the early 1970s, when he was in his 30s.
A timeline of our coverage of the allegations against the star, from their resurfacing in late 2014 to the overturning of his conviction on Wednesday.
“I have never changed my stance nor my story. I have always maintained my innocence,” Cosby said in a statement tweeted June 30, the day of his release. “Thank you to all my fans, supporters and friends who stood by me through this ordeal. Special thanks to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for upholding the rule of law.”
In a statement last week, Montgomery County (Pa.) Dist. Atty. Kevin Steele said Cosby went free “on a procedural issue that is irrelevant to the facts of the crime.”
“My hope is that this decision will not dampen the reporting of sexual assaults by victims. We still believe that no one is above the law — including those who are rich, famous and powerful,” he said.
Bill Cosby was released from prison after Pennsylvania high court ruled the sex assault case against him violated an earlier deal with prosecutors.
From the Oscars to the Emmys.
Get the Envelope newsletter for exclusive awards season coverage, behind-the-scenes stories from the Envelope podcast and columnist Glenn Whipp’s must-read analysis.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.