Howard Dean Under Fire For Defending Cosby [Updated]

We recently discussed the ruling of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturning the conviction of Bill Cosby. While the Court differed on what errors warranted such action, all of the justices agreed that the trial was fundamentally flawed. Indeed, it was a disgrace and Cosby could sue for malicious prosecution.  Yet, the incoming dean of Howard University’s fine arts college, Phylicia Rashad, is under attack for declaring her support for Cosby. Rashad played Bill Cosby’s TV wife on “The Cosby Show.” Fortune reported that there are calls for her resignation. Update: Rashad issued a profuse apology and deleted the tweet.

Rashad tweeted “FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!”

Some have questioned, according to CNBC, “how she might handle sexual assault allegations in her role as dean.”

However, many of us were critical of the trial and it was an injustice. That is why it was overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. That does not mean that Cosby is innocent. I do not believe he was innocent given his incriminating depositions. However, as I said in a prior posting, Bill Cosby is the ultimate example that you do not have to be entirely innocent to be wrongly convicted.

The prior prosecutor did not believe that he could convict Cosby on the evidence available. He instead promised not to prosecute to effectively force Cosby into giving four civil depositions. Even a guilty person can be the victim of a miscarriage of justice. Many believe Cosby is innocent. Many of us believe he is guilty. However, he was denied a fair trial and that made this a miscarriage of justice, as declared by the state Supreme Court.

Rashad responded to the calls for her resignation by insisting that she will fight for the survivors of sexual assault.

Her resignation would be a terrible mistake. I know little about Dean Rashad beyond her television career. However, a resignation would yield to the growing cancel culture on our campuses.  She has every right to express her support for Cosby and considerable justification in describing this trial as a miscarriage of justice.  She and I may disagree about the merits of these claims from 50 women, but higher education thrives on a diversity of such viewpoints.

48 thoughts on “Howard Dean Under Fire For Defending Cosby [Updated]”

  1. How did you update this without reviewing what an awful title you’ve given the post, Turley? From a very close distance you put the subject matter right into easily mistakable territory of saying Howard Dean, the ex governor of Vermont and former head of the Democratic party made statements are questionable. You’ve seen how your imprecise wording, or lack of recognizing clear truths directly are taken by segments of your readership into full on cray town before…, why not learn from your past mistakes?

    The ‘Dean of Howard’ lets you sidestep this massive confusion. Just saying.

    And you close with a fascinating statement: “She and I may disagree about the merits of these claims from 50 women, but higher education thrives on a diversity of such viewpoints.”

    Quite the cliff hanger there, Turley. Sounds as if you’re saying you Rashad doubts the claims of Cosby’s victims while you don’t? Or is it the other way around? I’d guess the former…, but can you see where the lack of clarity takes you in the land of essential context?


    1. Yes, eb, it is remarkable that an attorney, whose stock-in-trade is clear and precise draftsmanship in expressing intention, would make such a laughable malaprop. It is simple carelessness unbecoming a serious academic.

  2. I would like the prosecutor to lose his job and his license.

    His unethical conduct has let an admitted racist walk free and has further damaged an already sinking public confidence in the justice system.

    1. Young demands, “I would like the prosecutor to lose his job and his license.”

      You may not realize it, but you are feeding into the Cancel Culture that Turley deplores.

      1. Silberman can’t distinguish between free speech and an actual violation. It’s like saying you hate banks [ free speech] or robbing a bank [not free speech].

        Peculiar that you can’t tell the difference.

        1. Had you stated that this prosecutor should be investigated for breaking the law or violating the Rules of Professional Responsibility in prosecuting Cosby notwithstanding the supposed agreement he had with the previous, D.A., I would have agreed with you. Instead, you simply declared that he had violated his professional ethics without so much as a hearing on the matter!

          Such a mindset is typical of Conservative Cancel Culture.

          1. Jeff, if someone says “that guy should be in jail,” a court trial is implied.

            An allegation of prosecutorial misconduct that set a serial rapist free is serious. Saying that the consequence should be his losing his job would also imply an entire process, including a review and possibly a complaint with the Bar.

            Of course this should be investigated.

            It is my understanding that the prosecutor declined to charge him years ago. Afterwards he sat for depositions in a civil lawsuit by one of his victims, in which he admitted drugging women.

            Mr Castor said Ms Constand herself did not think there was sufficient evidence to prove her case. By promising not to prosecute, Cosby would not feel the need to take the 5th during the deposition.

            That way, Ms Constand could get a settlement instead of the more shaky chance at Cosby doing jail time.

            Apparently the new DA felt that since Castor’s pledge was not in writing, it was non binding. The judge agreed.

            I’m not a lawyer. I don’t know if this qualifies as misconduct or just a disagreement on points of law. Not abiding by a prior agreement seems to me to be misconduct which yielded poisoned fruit. It should be investigated.

            Cosby’s minimum sentence was 3 years, and he came close to serving that. But the conviction will be vacated.

            Meanwhile the statute of limitations has run out for his most recent victims.

            Very sad. I guess the silver lining is that his victims got to see him serve some jail time, they were vindicated in his confessions at deposition, and his past has caught up to him.

            1. Karen,

              At times, you speak very reasonably as in this case. I can’t disagree with anything you have just said.

              I do take issue with one remark, “if someone says “that guy should be in jail,” a court trial is implied.” Would that apply to those who chanted “Lock him up” when Don Jr. vilified Dr. Fauci at Trump’s Sarasota rally tonight?

              Just wondering….

              1. Of course it did. How on earth could anyone imagine it didn’t? How else could he possibly get locked up?

                1. What criminal law has Dr. Fauci allegedly committed, pray tell, a violation of which would land him in jail? Tax fraud?

            2. Karen– Loss of his license would not of itself involve a trial before a court leading to jail time. Normally it involves a disciplinary hearing in an administrative proceeding, something quite different from a criminal trial before a real judge. Professional licenses can be lost for acts that do not rise to the level of crimes. For example, doctors can be sanctioned for failure to maintain adequate records [often thrown in on top of other issues] lawyers are not infrequently bitten in the behind for failure to communicate with clients and many other things that are not in the least criminal. Jeff is just blithering and a waste of time.

              1. Young,

                Presumably Karen does not believe that conversing with me is a waste of her time as she conscientiously takes the time- as do I- to discuss many issues.

                However, as you believe that replying to my comments is a waste of your time, in the future, I’ll do you the favor of ignoring your posts altogether. You’re welcome.

      2. “. . . you are feeding into the Cancel Culture . . .”

        Nice smear by association.

        There is a fundamental difference between cancel *culture* and seeking to punish an individual based on his particular misdeeds.

        1. Sam,

          One man’s “punishment for misdeeds” is another man’s “cancelled.” Take, for example, Liz Cheney. Her misdeed was speaking the truth about Trump.

  3. More on how Leftist doctrine in public school is racist, and harms children.

    Lawsuit: Illinois School District Forced Students On ‘Privilege Walks,’ Compared ‘Whiteness’ To The Devil

    A teacher is suing an Illinois school district for racist CRT-based curriculum, including forcing children to do “privilege walks”, separated by race, and for comparing “whiteness” to the devil.

    The teacher claims this curriculum teaches children that they should be racist.

    We saw the seeds of this in the normalization of Democrats calling black conservatives racist slurs on tv. This was applauded. Even Biden was guilty of this kind of rhetoric with his vote for me or “you ain’t black.”

    Racism is encouraged as long as it is against black conservatives or white people.

    Bigots always have their excuses.

    Defund police and the ensuing crimes, not prosecuting shoplifting and the ensuing business closures, racist identity politics and CRT, the anti-cop anti-Semitic BLM, anti-American, anti-capitalism pro-socialism, pro-big-government anti-individual or parental rights…it’s all driven by the engine of Leftism.

    The Democrat Party has shifted way too far Left. Their policies have led to higher single motherhood, cycles of poverty, more crime.

    This will not change while denial exists. The problems are now systemic in the Democrat Party. There is no handful of bad actors.

    This destructive ideology has infested the public education system, academia, Hollywood, the government alphabet soup, social media in a race to the bottom.


    1. Karen, you are so sad. You want to speak of denial? You are a fervent disciple of the most destructive ideology ever to infect this country: devotion to a chronic, habitual liar, serial cheater on wives, cheater in business dealings, tax evader, suffering from a narcissistic personality disorder, who wrecked the American economy and whose incompetence at every level led to mishandling of a pandemic with unnecessary deaths and illness and lack of respect for America abroad. His illness prevents him from accepting the fact that the majority of Americans never voted for him in 2016, in 2020, and never approved of him, and that world leaders (except Russia’s Putin, who helped him cheat) think he’s a joke. Consistent with every opinion poll, he lost, but his ego won’t allow this truth to penetrate into his consciousness, so he continues lying. Those lies led to an insurrection against our Capitol, an effort to lynch the Vice President, and hunting for the Speaker of the House and members of Congress in order to harm them. Republicans, who know that support for them keeps dwindling, except for a couple, go along with the Big Lie, and on state levels are enacting voter suppression laws calculated to prevent likely Democrats from voting, all to address voter fraud that never happened. Democrats do not cause single motherhood, poverty, crime or any of the other ills you complain of. Maybe if you had attended college and took some courses in sociology, psychology, criminal justice and other topics relevant to these issues, you could understand why you are wrong, but you are a disciple, and as such, you oppose education, especially higher education.

  4. Did any one else think this post was going to discuss the former Governor of Vermont? lol….. oh, well.
    Since I’m here, I will say that Ms Rashad should be free to choose her friends.
    Also, does anyone remember when our first (half) black President suspended due process for hundreds of young men who were college students accused of rape?. They were denied due process! Most of them had to drop out of school. Obama should have been fired.

  5. Yea this is getting bad. I mean of course she’s his friend, she’s going to stand by her friend. Why should she have to resign? I like Bill Cosby too. Should I lose my job? I don’t like what he did there but it doesn’t negate a lifetime of good work. We loved Bill Cosby growing up. He opened the door for so many black entertainers by the barriers he was able to breach with his wit and charm. As children we had a record album he did, about 1967 or 68. It was just him telling jokes and funny stories and we loved it. The Delmonte commercials, I Spy, the Bill Cosby show, how can we be expected to just erase an entire part of our lives that we remember fondly and are part of who we are too? It’s getting so I worry how long before they start censoring the old movies and shows we love so much, more than they do now already of course, and even outlaw them? Hogans Heroes was hilarious and we loved it. Now its hard to find anywhere, except on DVD, because you can’t joke about the Nazi’s now. But the show was made up of Jews , war heroes and survivors, many who’s parents didn’t survive the Holocaust. If they could laugh at the Nazis then why can’t we again? Robert Clary was a French Jew, he lost 10 of his 13 brothers and sisters at Auschwitz. He himself was interred in 42, ending up in Buchenwald singing to the SS troops for their evening entertainment (just like he did on Hogans Heroes”) He was liberated when the allies entered Germany in 45 but out of 14 siblings in his family, only he and 3 others survived. All the others perished at Auschwitz. Yet he saw nothing wrong with Hogans Heroes. And that’s just one example of course of the sort of old shows that the modern generations find too offensive to watch and don’t want anyone else watching them either, even if we’re not offended. Imagine if Don Rickles were still working…. I wonder how much longer I’ll be able to watch the Dean Martin roasts on the streaming services? That I can now is reassuring but things have a way of snowballing when we cater to the lowest common denominator, on either “side”. For now I’m going to go and relax, its been a long day so I’ll pop on some Rowan and Martin’s Laughin and be thankful I still can, even if I wonder what’s not coming to a theater, or TV near you or me soon.

    1. You are so right. I miss the Minstrel shows with the black-faced white performers reinforcing negative stereotypes of African-Americans.Them good ole’ days!

    2. Two episodes of “Hogans Heroes” are broadcast every week night on MeTV: “memorable entertainment television”. Check your local listings. And, the Schultz character, played by John Banner, was also a Jew, and the backstory on his Schultz character is that he had been a toymaker who was drafted into the German military at an advanced age, so he wasn’t sent to the front to fight. He wasn’t stupid: he played stupid because he didn’t accept Nazi ideology and actually liked the prisoners he was guarding.

      1. slight clarification the Schultz character was not Jewish, but John Banner was.

        1. The Sundance channel also broadcasts “Hogan’s Heroes” sometimes.

  6. Prof. Turley says, “Bill Cosby is the ultimate example that you do not have to be entirely innocent to be wrongly convicted.” Amen to that. Facts and circumstances matter in a case. Or, at least they should matter. And, unfortunately, the media has typically mischaracterized the PA Court’s decision as being based on a “legal technicality,” which also suggests to many in the public that something was wrong in the law to permit this result to occur. But neither of those views are correct. Fortunately, some defense attorneys are speaking up on this issue and are getting heard to help set the record straight. But their voices are getting drowned out by the emotional responses to the case result.

    1. Feldman: “Prof. Turley says, “Bill Cosby is the ultimate example that you do not have to be entirely innocent to be wrongly convicted.” Amen to that.”

      And the Chauvin case shows one can be completely innocent and wrongly convicted because of state, judicial and media misconduct.

      1. Young, I agree with that conclusion as well. Chauvin was effectively railroaded by Mob “justice” at every level.

    2. JFeldman says:

      “unfortunately, the media has typically mischaracterized the PA Court’s decision as being based on a “legal technicality,”

      Just like the Rightwing media tried to downplay the five defendants convicted of false statements in the special counsel’s Russia investigation- George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, Richard Gates, Alex van der Zwaan, and Michael Cohen- as “process crimes.”

  7. Besides being on television, what are Rashad’s credentials? I mean, how stupid do you have to be to celebrate the fact that a serial rapist got out of jail on a technicality? “A terrible wrong”? A “miscarriage of justice”? Here’s a clue for you, “Dean Phylicia”: the FACTS ARE NOT DISPUTED. COSBY ADMITTED TO DRUGGING AND RAPING WOMEN UNDER OATH. A smart person in an academic leadership position would keep her mouth shut about the entire situation. What is someone like her, who lacks common sense, doing in academia, anyway? Is she there because she played a black female physician on television? The reason Rashad should be canned is not because she lacks credentials, or even because she lacks common sense. It’s because it makes Howard University look bad. They even have a law school there. Yes, Cosby got out of jail after less than 3 years, but he’s no victim. There are more than 50 women who have come forward to complain of identical crimes Cosby committed against them.

  8. Wake up, America.

    Resume touching the “untouchables.”

    Take back your freedom; take back your country.

  9. Her comment was factual, as there was prosecutorial misconduct. I also think Cosby is guilty as sin.

    While I’m upset that Machiavelian tactics were used that ultimately led to the early release of a sexual predator, I also think that universities need deans that respect due process.

    I am curious if Rashad believes Cosby is innocent, or if her comment was directed at the egregious behavior of the prosecutor. If she thinks him innocent, I wonder what her reasoning is.

    It is interesting that universities appear to preferentially hire professors who advocate for the mass murder of white people and Republicans, yet decrying a wrongful conviction is a bridge too far.

    1. Karen, I believe the real Machiavellian tactics were the ones where a non prosecute agreement was ignored “for a good cause.” Having actually read “il Principe,” I can attest that the letter of the law was not Machiavelli’s thing. Due process is not a “legal technicality.” My namesake was a judge and prophetess. I am often grateful that I do not have that job in this lifetime. However, in some cases, like this one, guilt or innocence are legally moot because the defendant’s right to due process was violated. The entire case stretched legal precedent. I agree with you in believing Cosby was probably not an innocent lamb. However if we decide that only the innocent have rights (we’ll let Facebook tell us who’s innocent or guilty), then where does it end? The case I always think of was in Dirty Harry where Harry tortures a child rapist/murderer to get the child’s whereabouts. The guy walked. Harry didn’t like it and neither do we but the law is there to protect all of us and judges are there to protect the law- in theory. In practice, they sometimes seem to crave the limelight and that’s when bad things happen and you can say who cares, but the problem is that a precedent is set.

      1. There was an “agreement” about non-prosecution, which the trial judge decided was not enforceable because it was not in writing, which is how Cosby’s testimony under oath, wherein he admitted drugging and raping women, was admissible. So, the facts are not as cut and dried as they seem. The PA Supreme Court disagreed that the unwritten agreement was unenforceable, and held that the prosecutor engaged in misconduct. Usually, deals between possible criminal defendants and prosecutors have to be in writing to be enforceable. And, the prosecutor who used the sworn testimony against Cosby was NOT the same prosecutor who had the verbal agreement with Cosby. I am not defending what the prosecutor did here, but Rashad is wrong to even imply that Cosby was a victim. He did what he was charged with doing and got out of jail on a technicality. When you are in a university leadership position, your public statements should be thoughtful and considerate of certain values, which does not include celebrating the release of an admitted rapist who got off on a technicality. Rashad proved she is either stupid or biased, and that makes the university look bad.

    2. Karen reasons:

      “I am curious if Rashad believes Cosby is innocent, or if her comment was directed at the egregious behavior of the prosecutor. If she thinks him innocent, I wonder what her reasoning is.”

      Had Cosby’s PR person NOT declared that the Court’s reversal was an EXONERATION of his conviction, Rashid’s support for the vindication of his due process rights would not have been mistaken. Under the circumstances, she should have been mindful of how her unqualified statement of support might reasonably be misinterpreted so that a retraction was unnecessary.

      I agree there is a mob mentality in the court of public opinion as witnessed by the attack on the nation’s Capitol. All public persons must be circumspect in their public pronouncements in order that their sentiments cannot be misunderstood.

  10. Professor Reynolds at instapundit has an idea. Why not treat Marxists like White Supremacists?

    I would add that Marx himself was a genuine White Supremacist. His contempt for POCs should be better known.

  11. I can’t wait to give those attacking Rashad the “Democrat treatment”.

    Start and end with calling them RACIST!

    (No, there is no racial aspect to any of this, but that isn’t needed for Democrats to scream “RACIST!”

  12. Another Ditto, thinking that it was the former Presidential candidate and chairman of the Democratic Party fm Vermont that was the subject of this essay, rather than Cosby’s former co-star. 🙂

  13. Might want to change the title, a certain ex governor of Vermont might not like being referenced.

  14. Ha, ha; I read the headline as “Howard Dean”, former presidential candidate!!

  15. May want to change the article title, thought it was in fact Howard Dean rather than the Dean of Howard College…

  16. You can say anything that you want – as long as we approve.

    Censors have existed on both the right and the left since the dawn of politics.

    Just seems as if there are more Karens (both male and female) right now because they feel empowered by similar voices.

    We need more Turleys speaking up to remind people that censorship is wrong – regardless of the subject.

    1. I agree Monument that government should not censor views as long as it allows us to discriminate against them.

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