Letitia Quinones and Barbara Lynn Ashcroft discuss the Cosby case, the allegations, the prosecution and defense strategies, and what lead to the mistrial.
Lawyer 2 Lawyer
Attorney Letitia Quinones is from the firm Quinones & Associates out of Houston, Texas. Attorney Quinones brings...
Attorney and professor Barbara Lynn Ashcroft is from the Beasley School of Law at Temple University. A...
Bob Ambrogi is a lawyer, legal journalist, and the publisher and editor-in-chief of LexBlog.com. A former co-host...
Comedian, actor, and America’s TV dad Bill Cosby has been on trial for the sexual assault of Andrea Constand. Ms. Constand accused Cosby of sexually assaulting her and drugging her in 2004 at Cosby’s Philadelphia mansion. After a six day trial and the jury being “hopelessly deadlocked” after 52 hours of deliberating, the judge finally declared a mistrial on June 17th.
On Lawyer 2 Lawyer, hosts Bob Ambrogi joins attorney Letitia Quinones from the firm Quinones & Associates and attorney and professor Barbara Lynn Ashcroft from the Beasley School of Law at Temple University to discuss this case, the allegations, the prosecution strategy, the defense strategy, what lead to the mistrial, and what happens next.
Attorney Letitia Quinones is from the firm Quinones & Associates out of Houston, Texas. Attorney Quinones brings over 18 years of criminal law experience to her clients in Houston, throughout the state of Texas and across the nation.
Attorney and professor Barbara Lynn Ashcroft is from the Beasley School of Law at Temple University. A former Montgomery County assistant district attorney, Ms. Ashcroft spent seven years prosecuting more than 1,500 criminal cases comprising fraud, burglary, domestic violence, sexual assault, felony drug crime, and homicide.
Lawyer 2 Lawyer – Law News and Legal Topics
Bill Cosby Mistrial
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: In this particular case they didn’t decide to move forward based on what was presented to them at the time, but then when there was new evidence, when Bill Cosby gave in a deposition and he admitted that he gave women Quaaludes so that he could have sex with them, I mean that’s a game changer here.
Letitia Quinones: Just the mere fact that Bill Cosby admitted giving women Quaaludes so that he could have sex with them doesn’t mean that he raped them, doesn’t mean that they were unconscious at the time that he did have sex with them, and it certainly didn’t mean that they said no. And so I think the jury paid very special attention to the law in this case and that’s why some jurors felt like the prosecution didn’t prove their case.
Intro: Welcome to the award-winning podcast Lawyer 2 Lawyer with J. Craig Williams and Robert Ambrogi, bringing you the latest legal news and observations with the leading experts in the legal profession. You are listening to Legal Talk Network.
Bob Ambrogi: Welcome to Lawyer 2 Lawyer on the Legal Talk Network. This is Bob Ambrogi coming to you from Boston, Massachusetts, where I write a blog called LawSites. I also host another Legal Talk Network program called Law Technology Now, with Monica Bay. My co-host Craig Williams is not able to be with us today.
Before we get into today’s topic, let me just take one moment to thank our sponsors, Clio and Litéra.
Clio is a cloud-based practice management software that makes it easy to manage your law firm from intake to invoice. Try it for free at HYPERLINK “http://www.clio.com” clio.com.
And Litéra is the authority on document creation, collaboration and control. Increase your productivity, collaborate securely and ensure protection of your vital information. Learn more at HYPERLINK “http://www.litera.com” www.litera.com.
Comedian and actor Bill Cosby has been on trial for the sexual assault of Andrea Constand. Ms. Constand accused Cosby of sexually assaulting her and drugging her back in 2004 at Cosby’s home in Philadelphia.
During the trial Andrea Constand was called to the stand. Cosby did not take the stand in his defense. The defense rested after one witness, six minutes testimony, six days into the trial, and the jury came back to the judge on June 15 declaring that they were deadlocked. At this time the judge told them to try again, but after being hopelessly deadlocked after 52 hours of deliberating the judge finally declared a mistrial on June 17.
So today on Lawyer 2 Lawyer we are going to talk about this case, talk about what happened here and what might yet happen going forward. To help us do that we have two guests who are both experts in criminal law. Let me introduce them.
First of all, I would like to welcome attorney Letitia Quinones from the firm Quinones & Associates out of Houston, Texas. Attorney Quinones brings over 18 years of criminal law experience to her clients in Houston, throughout the State of Texas and across the nation. A graduate of Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Letitia focuses her practice on complex criminal litigation. Criminal defense is a passion and a calling for her. She works aggressively and tirelessly defending the rights of individuals charged with crimes.
Welcome to the show Letitia Quinones.
Letitia Quinones: Thank you. Thank you for having me. I am honored to be here.
Bob Ambrogi: Thank you. And also joining us today is Barbara Lynn Ashcroft. Barbara is an attorney, former criminal prosecutor and professor at Beasley School of Law at Temple University. A former Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney, Ms. Ashcroft spent seven years prosecuting more than 1,500 criminal cases, including fraud, burglary, domestic violence, sexual assault, felony, drug crime, and homicide.
In 2005, she became the Chief of the Montgomery County Sex Crimes Unit and was charged with overseeing the prosecution of all sexual assault crimes in the county.
Welcome to Lawyer 2 Lawyer Barbara Ashcroft.
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: It is my pleasure and my honor. Thank you for having me.
Bob Ambrogi: Thanks for being here. I suspect it’s hard to find anybody listening to the show who hasn’t heard about this case, isn’t well aware of the case, but I wanted to start with just kind of a general question of what your reaction was when you heard that a mistrial had been declared in this case. Were you surprised? Did you see something like this coming?
Letitia, let me start with you.
Letitia Quinones: Actually I was not surprised at all. I thought that with a case of this magnitude and this age, that it would certainly be reasonable for 12 jurors not to be able to reach a consensus. Particularly due to the inconsistencies in her statement, as well as like I stated before, the age of the case, and then when you couple that with women and just all the media, the attention that they put on Cosby, and the things that he was allegedly doing to women to gain their affection I should say, for lack of a better word, I could see how those two stance would conflict with one another and easily result in a mistrial, so I was not surprised at all.
Bob Ambrogi: Barbara, what about you, what was your general reaction to this?
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: I was a little befuddled. I have tried a lot of sex crime cases and particularly in the he said, she said context, and generally speaking those types of cases are about three things; credibility, consent and circumstantial evidence.
But in this case we had the fourth factor, which was celebrity. And I think with that celebrity, on one hand I was thinking it could be a mistrial, but I was very surprised that it took them 6 days and 52 hours to figure out who to believe and who to trust. And I think that a lot of that came from, I think a lot of the jurors believed Andrea’s story. I think the prosecution did an extraordinary job of getting the evidence in, and I think the majority of those jurors were trying to convince the minority of Cosby’s guilt, and that’s why it took so long.
Bob Ambrogi: I mean Letitia suggested; I am not sure that Letitia was saying this herself, but she suggested that one of the issues here was the credibility of Andrea Constand. You seem to be saying that you felt that the jurors found her credible. Is that how you perceive it?
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: That is how I perceive it. I think that Andrea came across as a very courageous woman. I think that she was very credible, very steady. She was unshaken on cross-examinations. Yes, there were some inconsistencies, but inconsistencies in sex crime prosecution is a given. There it is not an exact testimony, it never has. Victims bury their stories, so when they are asked to recite them again and again, oftentimes there are inconsistencies. But as a whole I believe the cross-examination was lacking brevity and I also believe that Andrea Constand came across as extraordinarily believable and I think the majority of the jurors believed her story and they were trying to get the hold out on board.
Letitia Quinones: Well, I would like to respond to that and I respectfully disagree with Ms. Ashcroft in that I believe that jurors tend to — and in theory what Ms. Ashcroft states 100% correctly that yes, sexual assault victims get things mixed up because they are dealing with all the issues, all the emotional issues, all the trauma that they allegedly suffered at the hands of the accused.
However, when you are talking about something where someone’s rights are going to be deprived, where they are going to be locked up for years at a time, I believe that jurors demand consistency. I believe that they demand some type of credibility coming from this witness, and I say that meaning this. If I walk out of my office and walk across the street and go buy a soda, when I come back that story will never change. I walked out of my office, I walked across the street, I bought a soda. That’s what jurors want to hear in my opinion.
And so when you start talking about the deprivation of someone’s rights and the deprivation of someone’s liberties, they demand credibility, and I would love to hear what the split was in terms of this verdict, how many was for guilty, how many was for not guilty, because that will certainly tell the story. But I hesitate to jump on board with Ms. Constand being credible in her testimony.
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: And if I may just follow up on that.
Bob Ambrogi: Okay, go ahead.
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: Okay. So what I was going to say, and I think this is an important consideration when you are prosecuting sex crimes, you have got to look at what does the victim have to gain here. In this particular situation I think what adds to Andrea Constand’s credibility is she has nothing to gain by putting herself through this ordeal.
I believe what has happened here is she has almost become a 09:44 for all these women that have come forward that Bill Cosby drugged and sexually abused them, and I think that that came through to the jurors.
And when you look at the interest in the outcome, she didn’t have an interest in the outcome. She wanted to tell her story. She wanted to face the man that she has said has abused her and drugged her and that was her right to do that, and I think that came across to the jurors. I think she came across as very authentic and genuine.
Bob Ambrogi: Letitia, I was going to ask what you perceived as the major inconsistencies in her statement. What was it that might have been a red flag for the jury, as you saw it?
Letitia Quinones: Well, I think that her recollection of the events I think and the time that it took for her to actually report the events, I think all of those things, when there are inconsistencies that come up with that, that causes the jurors pause and now when you talk about, if I may just respond to that, what is the motive for an alleged victim or complainant to bring charges against someone, that is such a general and blanket statement that I think a lot of prosecutors use in terms of, well, what does she have to gain here.
I wish that I could say that every complainant that ever filed charges against someone did so on a good faith basis, but the truth of the matter is that there are complainants and alleged victims who do bring charges against someone for very selfish reasons that have nothing to do with whether or not it actually happened.
It could be this is my moment of fame, this could be I am lacking somewhere in some type of emotional health and so I use this to get the attention or to cause harm to someone who I feel has harmed me, and it may have been, you didn’t get me the deal I wanted or you didn’t have the relationship with me I thought that we should have had. There are so many factors that go into that.
So I think when you look at the inconsistencies in terms of the details of the events and how they occurred, as well as the time that it took for her to report it, and the fact that investigators and detectives took a look at this case a long time ago and not only did they decide that it wasn’t worthy to move forward, but I believe Bruce Spence at that time made the same decision, who was the prosecutor in Montgomery County at that time.
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: Actually what you are saying, it’s Bruce Castor, who was the defense attorney at the time.
Letitia Quinones: Castor, I am sorry.
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: And I was in the office at the time, and respectfully, you are mischaracterizing what happened, because in this particular case they didn’t decide to move forward based on what was presented to them at the time, but then when there was new evidence, when Bill Cosby gave in a deposition and he admitted that he gave women Quaaludes so that he could have sex with them, I mean that’s a game changer here.
And we are not talking generally; we are talking specifically as to this case. When you take his admissions, along with Andrea Constand’s story, the evidence is there to show beyond a reasonable doubt that Bill Cosby drugged her and sexually assaulted her, but that’s a call for the jury. And we are going to find out that when DA Steele tries this case the second time a couple of months down the road.
Bob Ambrogi: So Barbara, you are director of a program in trial advocacy, I know we all hate to exercise hindsight on these cases, but is there something the prosecution could have done here that might have brought about a different outcome?
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: I do not believe that there is anything that could have been done to change the outcome in this case. Bill Cosby walked into this case with instant credibility. His profile is America’s dad, lovable, entertaining, embracing family values. His accusers considered him a predator. But to put that in front of 12 people, chances are that what happened here is the majority of those jurors, and we will find that out when we find out the split, were ready to convict.
One of the alternates already said he was leaning towards convicting. From the trial advocacy perspective the district attorney did an amazing job of bringing the evidence forward.
On the flip side, Brian McMonagle is a brilliant criminal defense lawyer. He didn’t put Cosby on the stand. He made it look like Cosby had already spoken. If he had done the cross-examination of the victims, maybe things would have been differently. His closing argument was one of the best criminal defense closings I have ever heard.
So you had great lawyers on both sides and I think that’s what kept these jurors deliberating for so long, is the lawyering was amazing and they just couldn’t come to a unanimous decision.
And I think that’s going to happen the second time around. I think that everybody is going to up their game and they are going to retry this case and I think we are going to get a verdict, and it’s not going to be a hung verdict.
Letitia Quinones: I disagree.
Bob Ambrogi: Letitia, again, I had to ask about Monday morning quarterbacking, but I just wonder if you have any, looking back on the case, what you thought of the defense and the prosecution here?
Letitia Quinones: I actually agree with Ms. Ashcroft in that they both put on excellent cases and tried excellent cases. I can’t imagine one thing that I would have done differently, and I too am the Director of the Mock Trial Program at Thurgood Marshall School of Law. And so I am teaching trial and I am in trial all the time and I can honestly say that both sides did impeccable. They did what they could with what they had, and they utilized it the best way that they can.
They litigated the hell out of this case. As I was researching and going back, the defense filed every motion that they were supposed to file. They fought every legal issue along the way. It was a hard fight. And I think that the proper verdict was reached in that, and I say that because the system works when you get 12 people who listen to excellent lawyers put on excellent evidence and present their case the best way that they can. When you can’t reach a verdict, then justice is served, because you have to have 12 people reach unanimous verdict that state unequivocally, beyond a reasonable doubt, I believe that this person committed this crime.
I don’t think that 12 people are ever going to get there where they can unanimously make that decision. I believe that a lot of the prosecution case and they were right in doing so, if I was a prosecutor, I would have went the same route, hung their hat on all the other women who alleged X, Y, and Z.
And I say that because just the mere fact that Bill Cosby admitted giving women Quaaludes so that he could have sex with them doesn’t mean that he raped them, doesn’t mean that they were unconscious at the time that he did have sex with them, and it certainly didn’t mean that they said no.
And so I think the jury paid very special attention to the law in this case and that’s why some jurors felt like the prosecution didn’t prove their case, because that mere statement alone is not evidence of guilt in my book. And if I was the defense attorney, I would have harped on that. It’s no different than if a man gives you a drink when you come to his house; certainly he is giving it to you to relax.
Now, Quaalude tends to be a bit stronger than maybe a drink, but it’s not stronger than three or four drinks that you would possibly have and I don’t see it being any different than that.
And one thing that I don’t think came out is that it was not forced on her. She willingly took the Quaalude or the Benadryl, and so therefore he did nothing to her by way of evidence against her will, in my opinion. And that’s why I think some of the jurors had a hard time convicting him.
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: Well, let’s take a look at what we agree on Letitia and what we don’t. What we agree on is that the jury did an extraordinary job in embracing their civic duty.
Letitia Quinones: Absolutely.
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: Their commitment to deliberate until they were hopelessly deadlocked, we both agree on that.
Letitia Quinones: Absolutely.
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: 52 hours. What we don’t agree on is that the evidence that was presented is very different from the prosecutor’s perspective and certainly from Andrea’s story.
Andrea believed that Bill Cosby was giving her herbal pills, okay, herbal pills, not Benadryl, not Quaalude, not something that was going to incapacitate her, to the point where she had rubber legs, could not react, found herself being sexually assaulted, didn’t know what was happening, couldn’t move.
Brian McMonagle played this case like it was a romantic relationship. A romantic relationship is not leaving somebody on the sofa, okay, at 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning, without a pillow, without a blanket, and then rudely pushes her out of the house. This case in not based on all the other women out there, it’s based on one prior bad act, Andrea Constand’s story and Bill Cosby’s admissions that he gave Quaaludes to women.
We know what Quaaludes do, they incapacitate you. We had a toxicologist talk about that. It’s impossible for somebody that has been given Quaaludes; giving a woman a drink, totally acceptable. If you put something in that drink to incapacitate them and then have sex with them, that’s called a crime.
Letitia Quinones: And I agree. I just don’t think that’s what happened here.
Bob Ambrogi: Let me interrupt just a moment, Letitia, we will come right back to you. We have got to take a short break to hear some words from our sponsors and we will be back in just a few moments to talk more about the Cosby case and the mistrial.
Bob Ambrogi: Imagine what you could do with an extra eight hours per week. That’s how much time legal professionals save with Clio, the world’s leading practice management software. With intuitive time tracking, billing, and matter management, Clio streamlines everything you do to run your practice, from intake to invoice. Try Clio for free and get a 10% discount for your first six months when you sign up at their website, HYPERLINK “mailto:www.%20clio.com” clio.com, with the code L2L10.
Documents are the currency of business. They represent you in every business interaction. Executives need to know what changes have occurred in documents, what metadata risks exist and how to encrypt, share, and collaborate securely.
Litéra simplifies the document creation and collaboration process to protect you from risk and loss of reputation. Litéra offers better solutions for document lifecycle management so you can focus on doing what really matters; HYPERLINK “http://www.litera.com” www.litera.com.
Bob Ambrogi: And welcome back to Lawyer 2 Lawyer. This is Bob Ambrogi and we are talking today with attorney Letitia Quinones from the Quinones Law Firm in Houston, Texas and Professor Barbara Ashcroft from the Beasley School of Law at Temple University.
We are taking about the recent trial of Bill Cosby, where a mistrial was declared and Letitia, I did just cut you off, was there a point you wanted to make, I can let you make it now.
Letitia Quinones: I was saying to Ms. Ashcroft, I definitely agree, if you give someone a drink and you put something in there unknowingly that they are not willing or agreeing to take, certainly that is a crime. I just don’t think that’s what happened here, and I think that the jurors who had a hard time convicting him agrees with me obviously. And I say that because who is giving you some type of herbal supplement at my house late at night when we are in some type of “romantic setting”. I mean that doesn’t cause pause, you don’t think that there is something going on there. You decide to take a herbal supplement this night while we are here and conversing and in some type of romantic atmosphere. I just find that hard to believe, I really do, and I think that jurors do as well.
I think what Bill Cosby was guilty of is very much the same thing that Mike Tyson was guilty of and that’s how treated their romantic counterpart after the romantic situation that occurred between them. And I think that had he treated her with a little more respect or maybe if she had gotten more out of him after that romantic occasion between the two of them, then maybe he wouldn’t be sitting there today.
So I have a hard time overcoming those hurdles, I just do. And I am a woman, and I am a very strong woman and I believe in a woman’s right to say no and all the woman’s right, but I also know not to place myself in a unrealistic situation, and I don’t put any blame on any rape victim whatsoever. I just believe that based on what I have seen in this particular case, I have a hard time convicting someone when I just don’t believe it beyond a reasonable doubt and I think those jurors had a hard time as well.
Bob Ambrogi: Let me turn to a difference subject. We talked earlier, alluded earlier to — Barbara Ashcroft talked about the three C’s I guess that come up in sex crime cases and talked about the fourth one here, which was the celebrity factor. And Letitia, I wanted from your perspective as a defense attorney how that factor may have played out in this case and whether that worked to Cosby’s advantage or disadvantage.
Letitia Quinones: I think for Bill Cosby it certainly worked in his advantage. I won’t be naive or try to elude someone to believe that it didn’t. It certainly worked at his advantage because of the reputation he built over the years that he has been in the business.
I mean had he been someone else that did not have such a stellar reputation, it may have been different. Certainly it helped him that he was known as America’s dad, because it’s hard for jurors to get over that someone with that type of reputation and that type of history could do something egregious like this.
So on this particular situation because it’s Bill Cosby and because of his reputation I think it helped him. I don’t think that that’s across the board. I don’t think that that applies to every celebrity, but I do think it applied to Bill Cosby, that it was more of a benefit than a detriment.
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: And I appreciate your honesty there and we again agree on that, but I think it goes further than that. Not only did Bill Cosby have instant credibility from being America’s dad and Dr. Huxtable and funny and entertaining and all of that, but I think that that’s how he got Andrea Constand. I think as a celebrity who was trusted; the word is trust. Many predators use trust to wow their victims, and once their victims trust them, the victims are very naive, they are ready and willing to believe anything that this person feeds them, including herbal pills that she thought were herbal pills, but they were according to her something that incapacitated her to the level that Bill Cosby was able to have unconsensual sex with her.
Letitia Quinones: Let me ask Ms. Ashcroft, if someone invited you, a male counterpart invited you over to his home one late evening and offered you an herbal pill, would you take it?
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: Well, that would be putting me in the shoes of the victim and since I am a sex crimes prosecutor, chances are I wouldn’t.
Letitia Quinones: Well, I am just asking the question.
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: I am not Andrea Constand and I am not somebody that was wooed by Bill Cosby. I am a hardcore former sex crimes prosecutor, so I am not taking pills from anyone, but I think that’s a little unfair.
Letitia Quinones: Well, I don’t think Ms. Constand was a weak-minded woman; she was a very accomplished, well-to-do woman, I don’t think that she was weak-minded at all. I think that a lot of jurors felt the same way I did in that, well, if I was a woman and I was over there that I would have a hard time believing that someone offered me an herbal supplement in this type of environment and atmosphere.
And like I said, I never blame a victim and I don’t want to be construed as such, I just have a hard time believing that Ms. Constand is a true victim, under what Mr. Cosby was charged.
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: But with all due respect, you don’t know what the jurors —
Bob Ambrogi: We are not going to agree on that point I don’t think.
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: We don’t know what the jurors are thinking because they don’t have to tell us what they were thinking or believing, but it would be really nice to at least know —
Letitia Quinones: We are only speculating.
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: That’s right, we are all speculating. It would at least be nice to know what the — who was in the Cosby camp and who was in Andrea’s camp and I am really eager to find that out.
Letitia Quinones: Me too, that would be something I think that’s very interesting.
Bob Ambrogi: Well, speaking of speculating, let me ask you both what you think is going to happen going forward in this case, will there be a retrial; I know the prosecutor said there will be a retrial, do you think that’s going to happen? And do you think the strategy the second time around will be different either for the prosecution or the defense?
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: Letitia, you want to start?
Letitia Quinones: I will. I definitely think there will be another trial. I believe that the state is almost obligated to do so. I think that they will certainly take a hard look, as Ms. Ashcroft stated before, what the split would be. Everyone would love to know what those jurors are thinking and who was on Cosby’s camp and who was on the State of Pennsylvania’s camp, I think that’s going to play into it.
But I think either way that the state is going to at least give it one more shot and I do believe that everyone is going to order the transcript. They are going to look back. There’s no perfect trial. Any trial lawyer plays Monday morning quarterback, every trial lawyer does that. So they are going to look back and they are going to say, oh, I could have done better here or I shouldn’t have done this and they are going to correct their mistakes. I believe both sides are extremely competent and capable and so I can imagine that when it does come back around that both sides are going to up their game up. I have no doubt about that.
Bob Ambrogi: Let me just ask you Letitia before we move on to Barbara on that question, but there seemed to be a lot of surprise, at least in the media over the defense decision, the fact that defense didn’t call any witnesses, not that they weren’t surprised that Cosby didn’t testify, but the media seemed to react strongly to the fact that there was just one witness called for, whatever it was, six minutes of testimony. What was your impression? What was your take on that?
Letitia Quinones: I thought it was brilliant, I really did. I thought that it was methodical. I thought that it was almost as if he was conducting surgery with that trial. He didn’t need to put on any other witnesses; it would only hurt him in my opinion.
And I believe that the laws may not be too different, and Ms. Ashcroft can correct me if I am wrong, here in Texas the more evidence that you put on, the more you open that door to allow all those other victims to come in and start talking about things when you start coming up with defenses, well, it couldn’t have been him because of this, or he couldn’t have done that because of this, that opens the door for other Prior Bad Acts to come in and the 404(b).
And so I believe he was very methodical and very brilliant in keeping things to the bare minimum, so that he can manage the evidence that went before that jury. He was a gatekeeper of the evidence. He did the best he could. I think it was brilliant.
So I wasn’t surprised, I was actually extremely impressed that he had the restraint, because remember lawyers, we want to show, we want to put it on, to have the restraint and enough confidence to say, I don’t need to do this, it doesn’t matter to me what anyone says, this is a nut and shut it down, so that way he could keep that gate closed.
Bob Ambrogi: All right. And Barbara, your take on whether there will be a retrial and whether anything will be different if there’s a retrial.
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: DA Steele has already announced that he is retrying Bill Cosby and as soon as he can and Andrea Constand has already gone on the record that she will cooperate and be available to testify. So that’s a definite.
How will trial strategy change? I think from the defense perspective there’s not a whole lot to change. It was great lawyering. Cosby couldn’t take the stand because if he did, as Letitia was saying, DA Steele would have been able to bury him on cross-examination, because once defendant Cosby takes stand all of his acts he says were consensual, that he had consensual sex, never drugged women, well, that opens the door, the floodgates are open for impeachment purposes, followed by District Attorney Steele and a blistering cross-examination of Bill Cosby. That’s not going to change. They are not going to put him on the stand.
So maybe from the prosecution’s perspective, they will make a few tweaks. The first witness that went up, the Prior Bad Acts witness, a lot of individuals said that there were some issues with her inconsistencies.
So I think each team will tweak and they will make it better and make it tighter and at the end of the day, again, the jurors get to decide, and thank God that they do, right, because that is our system and it worked the first time around and I believe it will work in favor of justice the second time around, whatever that may be.
Bob Ambrogi: We are getting close to the end of our time. I want to ask quickly, seems like part of any major trial these days is the media circus that surrounds it and that precedes it, especially in this case. I wondered if you had any comments or thoughts on how the two legal teams here handled the media, either coming up to the trial or during the trial, Letitia?
Letitia Quinones: I was actually happy that they, in my opinion, they were not in the media a lot, they weren’t using the media as a tool to reach the jury pool, and so I thought they let the facts remained what they are. I think that they kept it clean, and I think they did so by not trying this case in the media.
So the way that they handled the media in this case I thought was spot on and that let the jurors hear the evidence in the courtroom, from the witness stand, which is where evidence is supposed to be presented.
And so none of us, unless you were sitting there those entire six days of trial, knows exactly what those jurors heard day in and day out, and that’s perfect, because it’s for those 12 jurors to hear in that courtroom, from that witness stand, and so from that standpoint I think they handled the media appropriately.
Bob Ambrogi: All right. Barbara, any thoughts on that?
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: It’s wonderful when we agree Letitia, DA Steele and Brian McMonagle were both class acts. They tried the case clean. They tried it the way it’s supposed to be tried in the courtroom, not outside the courtroom.
There were some issues with Cosby’s PR team and Judge O’Neill had to address that, because there were things being said that were untrue. Bill Cosby wasn’t found innocent, he was found nothing. He wasn’t found guilty, he wasn’t found innocent. So there were some issues with the Cosby’s public relations team, but the attorneys themselves, they were total class acts and really civil to one another and nothing but to make lawyers like ourselves really proud to be part of that.
Letitia Quinones: Absolutely.
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: We need more lawyers like that.
Letitia Quinones: I totally agree.
Bob Ambrogi: With both of you agreeing, it’s perhaps — with both of you agreeing, it’s perhaps —
Letitia Quinones: I know. When I agree with a prosecutor, trust me, so the heavens open up.
But I will say this that my mentor taught me, every time your client leaves that courtroom with you, that’s a not guilty.
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: Okay, fair enough.
Letitia Quinones: Fair enough.
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: He is not in jail and you know what, it’s a win, it’s a win.
Letitia Quinones: It’s a win. Every time he goes home it’s a win, yeah, absolutely.
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: It’s a win, yeah.
Bob Ambrogi: That sounds good. We are just about out of time. I do want to give each of you an opportunity to give any final thoughts on this before we wrap up, and also, if you care to let our listeners know how they can find out more about your work or follow-up with you, you are welcome to do that as well.
So Letitia Quinones, let’s start with you.
Letitia Quinones: Yeah, I would just sum up again and just commend every portion of this trial. Like I said, I did a little research into the motions that were filed, the way that they litigated the case, the swiftness of the rulings from the judge, the due diligence of the prosecutor and the defense attorney in this case, I have nothing but admiration and respect for any trial lawyer who conducted themselves the way that those two gentlemen conducted themselves.
And additionally, it was a very hard fight and again my mentor told me when there is blood, sweat and tears on the ceiling, you know you have done your job, and I think that’s what occurred here.
Listeners can reach out to me. I am at HYPERLINK “http://www.quinonesandassociates.com” quinonesandassociates.com, or you can just google me at Letitia Quinones, L-E-T-I-T-I-A Q-U-I-N-O-N-E-S.
Bob Ambrogi: Thank you very much. And Barbara.
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: I think it was a hard-fought fight. I think the advocacy was extraordinary; the preparation that went into trying this case and defending this case was beyond anything that I have seen for a really long time. Advocates on both sides were amazing.
I also think that maybe in the big picture this is really a wonderful message to send to victims of sexual assault in that whoever you are, whether it’s a celebrity or it’s the President of the United States, if you go to law enforcement and you report crimes of sexual assault or alleged crimes of sexual assault that you will be treated with respect and dignity, and I think that that’s a really important message that comes out of this case. I really do. I think victims from across our country should know that there is hope and go ahead and go out there and report. I give a lot of credit for the District Attorney for moving forward with this case against Bill Cosby.
Bob Ambrogi: Great. And how can people find out more about the work that you are doing at the Law School at Temple?
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: Well again, you could Google me and if you want to talk to me you can find a way to do that. I don’t know that I can give out my school email address.
Bob Ambrogi: Googling works, I can attest to that, because I googled you, yeah.
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I don’t want to give out my email to the school where I am teaching, but anyway, you can google me and you could reach me at HYPERLINK “mailto:[email protected]” [email protected].
Bob Ambrogi: All right. Well, thank you very much. I really appreciate both of you taking the time to be with us today and share your really interesting insights on this case, and we will all stay tuned for future developments of course.
We have been talking today with attorney Letitia Quinones from Quinones & Associates in Houston, Texas and Barbara-Lynn Ashcroft, Associate Professor of Law at Temple Law School and Director of the LL.M. in Trial Advocacy there at the Law School. Thanks again to both of you.
Letitia Quinones: Thank you.
Barbara Lynn Ashcroft: Thank you. It’s been a pleasure and always wonderful to battle with a criminal defense lawyer. Thank you.
Letitia Quinones: Always, especially one as deserving as you. Thank you.
Bob Ambrogi: Well, on that high note, that does bring us to the end of our show. This is Bob Ambrogi. Thanks a lot for listening. Join us next time for another great legal topic. When you want legal, think Lawyer 2 Lawyer.
Outro Thanks for listening to Lawyer 2 Lawyer, produced by the broadcast professionals at Legal Talk Network. Join J. Craig Williams and Robert Ambrogi for their next podcast, covering the latest legal topic.
Subscribe to the RSS feed on HYPERLINK “http://www.legaltalknetwork.com” legaltalknetwork.com or in iTunes.
The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own, and do not represent the views of nor are they endorsed by Legal Talk Network, its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders, and subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.
Notify me when there’s a new episode!
|Published:||June 23, 2017|
|Podcast:||Lawyer 2 Lawyer|
|Category:||News & Current Events|
Lawyer 2 Lawyer
Lawyer 2 Lawyer is a legal affairs podcast covering contemporary and relevant issues in the news with a legal perspective.