by Steve Corbett – (Greetings From Scranton)
Gas up the Corvette, Mr. President, it’s time to hit the high road.
I’ve invited Joe Biden to pick me up in Scranton so we can tear down the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Bill Cosby’s Elkins Park estate and demand Cosby give back the Presidential Medal of Freedom George W. Bush presented him on July 9, 2002.
The medal is the foremost U.S. civilian decoration, awarded to individuals who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
Bush said at the ceremony, “Bill Cosby is a gifted comedian who has used the power of laughter to heal wounds and to build bridges.”
By focusing on our common humanity, Bill Cosby is helping to create a truly united America, Bush said.
Those lies that ricocheted off the walls in the East Room of the White House now haunt countless good people of all races and ethnic groups. The funny man once known worldwide as “America’s Dad” is now despised as America’s Predator.
Back when dozens of women accused Cosby of sexual assault, our namby-pamby then-President Barack Obama said he had no way to revoke the award.
Now Biden is the boss.
That’s why I hope White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s chief of staff Amanda Finney took seriously my idea about asking Cosby to hand over the medal.
“To show President Joe Biden is serious about standing as an ally with sexually assaulted women, I’m asking Biden to publicly demand that Cosby return the medal,” I wrote in a July 6 email to Finney.
“Will President Biden make that request?
If so, I’m urging the president to pick me up in Scranton in his Vette so we can roll down to Cosby‘s estate near Philly and bring back the gold.
Would you please ask Joe how that sounds and which date works best?”
Finney failed to respond to my proposal.
Biden needs to show he’s on decency’s side.
If the commander-in-chief still lived in Scranton I’d have already stopped by his house and said, c’mon, man, you’re not going to let that maniac run amok like nothing happened, are you? You’re not going to let this freak make faces and mock those old-fashioned Scranton values you’re always boasting about, the rules you learned as a scrappy kid sitting around Grandma Finnegan’s kitchen table in our hard coal country hometown?
Well, are you?
In the animated television show Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids that aired from 1972 to 1985, created, produced, and hosted by Cosby, an educational lesson emerged at the end of each episode. Led by Fat Albert and his catchphrase, “Hey, hey, hey,” the lovable gang based on Cosby’s childhood faced and conquered many personal and cultural obstacles.
Who among fans nationwide that cherished the show’s innocence had any idea the cartoon crew’s creator would attack women with such depraved pathological violence?
During his trial Cosby even displayed brazen contempt for his prey by shouting out “Hey, hey, hey” to the crowd on his way in and out of the courthouse. Had poor Fat Albert witnessed this shameful spectacle, our cuddly ball of comic make-believe would have cried.
Cosby, 83, degraded morality by turning hope into torture chamber horror stories for every woman who swore under oath and under penalty of perjury that Cosby sexually assaulted her. More than 50 women came forward to detail Cosby’s evil, depraved pattern of sexual assault and abuse.
Released from a maximum-security state prison June 30 by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court because of a legal procedural error, Cosby walked free after serving three years of a three- to 10-year sentence for drugging and sexually assaulting a Temple University employee in 2004. A jury convicted Cosby in 2018 on three counts of aggravated indecent assault.
No better time exists for Biden to show just how serious he is about fighting violence against women. No better time exists for Biden to show he will not back down from predator men who attack women. No better time exists to do what’s right.
All Biden has to do is publicly demand Cosby return the medal. Show the world he respects women, stands by women and will remain a strong ally with women.
On the drive down I’ll tell the president how I know Cosby’s trial lawyer, long-haired Tom Mesereau who looks like a raging NFL linebacker or explosive beach bar bouncer. I met Mesereau while covering Michael Jackson’s 2005 sexual assault trial in Santa Maria, CA, where Mesereau won an acquittal for his freaky man/boy client and music god on 10 felony counts of child-molestation-related crimes. In the early days of that five month trial I attended every day, Mesereau and I made small talk about Mamma Leone’s, his mother’s family’s famous restaurant in Manhattan, and about how he boxed a little at Harvard.
We got along just fine until Mesereau realized I deemed Jackson guilty. I then knew I’d never get invited back to Neverland, where at Jackson’s invitation I once watched underprivileged Black children from L.A. eat all the free candy and ice cream they wanted at Jackson’s private movie theater and feel safe and loved in the hands of an alleged friend.
That day I rode the little train that circled the ranch and listened to calliope music on the merry-go-round. I stepped on the first rung of a playground sliding board sculpture ringed by bizarre bronze statues of children that stood like ominous kiddie porn movie props on Jackson’s sweeping property nestled in the golden hills of central California.
Jackson’s victims testified he sexually assaulted them as vulnerable little boys. Cosby sexually assaulted vulnerable adult women.
Both men ravaged humanity.
Mesereau now boasts two monster trials for two monster clients, notches on designer belts for his dark, custom-made, double-breasted suits. If Cosby goes after the government or anyone else for damages, I won’t be surprised if Mesereau takes the case. That’s what hardcore celebrity lawyers do even when they lose. With Jackson’s acquittal and Cosby’s release, we all lost – even Mesereau. Hollywood’s pampered Ivy League tough guy just doesn’t know it.
Alpha male Mesereau sees only the law.
I see the lawlessness.
Sexual cruelty framed the evidence against Jackson. Sexual brutality shaped the evidence against Cosby. But Jackson is dead while Cosby remains a public menace who swears he’s innocent, playing the role of victim rather than the reality of predator.
Like the resolute jurors who convicted him, I clearly see the hideous proof of Cosby’s cold-blooded guilt.
Joe Biden better see it, too.