Bill Cosby speaks from prison

Stacy M. Brown/NNPA Newswire | 11/27/2019, 6 p.m.
Bill Cosby broke his silence, granting his first exclusive interview since beginning his sentence at SCI-Phoenix, a maximum-security Pennsylvania penitentiary ...
Bill Cosby in photo taken by his daughter, Erinn C. Cosby.

Bill Cosby broke his silence, granting his first exclusive interview since beginning his sentence at SCI-Phoenix, a maximum-security Pennsylvania penitentiary near Philadelphia.

In a special phone call on Nov. 25 with the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s Black- PressUSA.com, Mr. Cosby said he’s spending his time helping to teach and encourage a large population of African-American inmates — men he calls “residents” — via Mann Up, a prison reform program.

The 82-year-old educator and award-winning TV producer-director-comedian was sentenced to serve three to 10 years in Pennsylvania’s prison system following his September 2018 conviction on charges of aggravated indecent assault.

Unless he receives relief from the state’s appellate courts, Mr. Cosby said he fully anticipates serving his entire sentence, saying he’s not guilty and will never admit to something he didn’t do. Displayed remorse is generally a required prerequisite to obtaining parole or a shortened sentence.

During the exclusive interview with NNPA, Mr. Cosby was candid, vivid and outspoken.

Andrew Wyatt, Mr. Cosby’s spokesman, was also on the call, where Mr. Cosby stressed that there would be no ground rules or restrictions. No topics were off the table for discussion.

Mr. Cosby received no special treatment from the facility for the interview. Because inmates are only allowed to remain on phone calls for 15 minutes, Mr. Cosby had to call back multiple times in order to complete the interview.

“I have eight years and nine months left,” Mr. Cosby stated. “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.”

He said his trials were a sham, unjust and not fair.

“It’s all a setup. That whole jury thing. They were imposters,” Mr. Cosby stated.

“Look at the woman who blew the whistle,” he said, alluding to the potential juror who overheard a seated juror proclaim before the trial that, “He’s guilty, we can all go home now.”

“Then she went in and came out smiling. It’s something attorneys will tell you is called a payoff,” Mr. Cosby stated. “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.”

“I am a privileged man in prison,” he stated.

During the call, Mr. Cosby referred to his small cell as “my penthouse.”

He revisited his famous 2004 “Pound Cake” speech and clarified that he probably should not have addressed that controversial dissertation to all African-Americans; the residents at SCI-Phoenix make for the perfect audience, Mr. Cosby stated.

(In the May 2004 speech in Washington during a NAACP awards ceremony, Mr. Cosby criticized the use of black vernacular language, single-parent families, the lack of African-Americans taking responsibility for their condition and the emphasis on buying frivolous things without having necessities.)