NORRISTOWN, Penn. – What’s next for the man once known as “America’s Dad” after a judge declared a mistrial in the aggravated indecent assault case against Bill Cosby?
Prosecutors immediately said Saturday they will retry the case. Regardless of how that plays out, the road ahead is murky for Cosby.
He still faces a number of civil lawsuits alleging assault and defamation. Yet he suggested before the trial in Pennsylvania that he plans to get back to comedy.
“I want to get back to the laughter and enjoyment of things that I’ve written and things that I perform on stage,” he told CNN host Michael Smerconish last month on his radio program on the SiriusXM POTUS channel.
Dozens of women have accused Cosby of misconduct, but Andrea Constand’s accusation was the only one that led to criminal charges. Most of the other incidents allegedly occurred years ago, outside the statute of limitations.
Lawyers for Cosby have said throughout that their client is innocent of all accusations.
Still, a handful of lawsuits in federal and state courts could lead to monetary awards against Cosby. Three are defamation cases in which accusers say Cosby defamed them as liars, and two are civil assault lawsuits.
The most prominent was brought by Tamara Green in federal court in Massachusetts. Green, who says Cosby sexually assaulted her in 1970, filed a suit in December 2014. She accuses Cosby and his team of lawyers and representatives of defaming her and calling her a liar for speaking out about the accusations.
Six other women — Therese Serignese, Linda Traitz, Louisa Moritz, Barbara Bowman, Joan Tarshis and Angela Leslie — have joined that suit.
Janice Dickinson, the model and reality TV personality, said in a November 2014 interview that Cosby sexually assaulted her after the two had dinner at Lake Tahoe in 1982. Cosby attorney Martin Singer called that accusation a “fabricated lie.”
Dickinson and her attorney Lisa Bloom sued Cosby for defamation in May 2015, saying Singer’s comments hurt her professionally and personally.
“Calling Dickinson a liar is a defamatory statement under the law … and that’s the mistake Bill Cosby made,” Bloom said at the time. “It was too late for her to sue for rape or for drugging, but once he, through his representatives, called her a liar, she had a fresh claim for defamation and that’s the lawsuit that we filed.”
One other defamation suit, filed by Katherine McKee, was dismissed by a federal judge in February. She said she plans to appeal the decision.
Finally, Cosby faces at least two open civil assault lawsuits. Judy Huth, who says Cosby sexually assaulted her at the Playboy Mansion when she was 15, sued in December 2014. Chloe Goins sued in May 2016.
‘I want to get back to the laughter’
Cosby has suggested he may go back to comedy.
Before his arrest, the septuagenarian was still cranking out jokes. He released a comedy special in 2013 titled “Far From Finished.” In 2014-15, he embarked on a cross-country tour around the time dozens of women were accusing him of assault.
In the Smerconish interview before the trial, Cosby said he would have to deal with negative public opinion no matter the verdict. But he said he still has an “awful lot to offer” in his comedy.
“I know the side that I’m on and the side that I’m hoping for, and after that, there’s more work to be done,” he said. “But I still feel that I have an awful lot to offer in terms of my writing, in terms of my performance.”
In his later years, Cosby took on a role of public moralist, criticizing what he saw as a lack of family values and personal responsibility in the African-American community. He told Smerconish he hoped to be that motivational figure once again.
“I want to take other things and move it to halls, churches, etc., to give what I feel will be motivational and informational and drive people to make changes in themselves, the home life, because the one quote that I sustained is ‘The revolution is in the home.'”
Cosby also appeared to take aim at protesters who caused a number of cancellations on his comedy tour.
“Why would people threaten the hall, threaten the people who booked the show, when in fact the people who are coming are those who are buying tickets?” he said. “So these people are saying he has or she has — the people they want to bar — has no right, no right whatsoever to be appearing in this place.”