Bill Cosby postmortem
At the end of comedian Bill Cosby's criminal trial last month, my fearless Facebook prediction was that the prosecution failed to prove Cosby guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The result would either be a not guilty verdict or, like his first trial, end in a hung jury and mistrial.
The jury did find Mr. Cosby guilty of sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004.
Later that day, a female friend discreetly whispered in my ear that she agreed with me. She felt that Cosby had been railroaded.
This sophisticated woman of the world wasn't buying the prosecution's portrait of Ms. Constand as an Alice in Wonderland innocent.
Didn't the jury find it odd, she mused, that Constand capped a night out with friends by visiting the married Mr. Cosby at home to discuss career options?
Constand admitted to drinking wine with Cosby and readily accepting his offer of three "unidentified" blue pills (apparently Quaaludes), to "help her in relax."
It gets weirder.
The alleged assault occurred while they were lying on a sofa in a "spooning" position, a rather odd way to discuss career options.
About the dozens of late-night telephone calls she initiated in the ensuing weeks, including two on Valentine's Day? Easy. She was updating Cosby on Temple women's basketball games.
A dispassionate observer objectively viewing this undeniably novel fact scenario might well ask whether the then-30-year-old Constand was preternaturally naïve, wholly lacking in the common sense to be wary of a married man's late-night offers of wine and unidentified pills – or, which I suspect is the case, very well coached.
The fact that Cosby was convicted of three felonies despite the inconsistencies in Constand's testimony leads me to believe that factors beyond the legal nuts and bolts of the trial were in play, specifically a #MeToo movement out for blood coupled with the failure of the black establishment to mount a counteroffensive in Cosby's behalf.
In a post-trial statement, the jury denied being swayed by outside influences, but most observers cite the #MeToo movement as the difference between the first mistrial last June and conviction now.
Within days, the Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer led with a article inquiring whether the #MeToo movement energized by the Cosby conviction will reshape how the criminal justice system treats alleged sexual abuse cases.
It already has. In today's supercharged climate, the presumption of innocence and due process have gone by the wayside.
Wall Street Journal columnist Jason L. Riley reminds readers that our criminal justice system ought to be making decisions based on evidence, not historical wrongs or social movement zeitgeist.
The #MeToo movement has transformed every Andrea Constand who feels used, abused, and angry when her lover doesn't call the day after the night before into weak-willed infants, legitimized their grievances, excused their conscious choices, and granted them a sympathetic ear.
Many men will attest that Hell has no fury like a woman scorned, or hell-bent on revenge when denied a prized man, marriage, position, or role, or seeking to assuage her morning-after (or many mornings after) remorse.
Lurking in the background was the fact that Cosby is persona non grata among many black activists and intellectuals. In the mid-2000s, he strayed from the liberal songbook by railing against civil-rights leaders spending too much time making excuses for the social dystopia in the black community.
In the end, Cosby was alone.
Champions of the #MeToo movement may want to curb their enthusiasm lest they be consumed by the fire they are fueling, spreading to boardrooms, executive suites, and even casual water cooler encounters.
Bill Cosby's scalp may be the first.
It won't be the last.
Ask New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.