Bill Cosby's Accusers Talk Guilty Verdict on Broadcast Morning Shows
"Bill Cosby is a serial rapist. I’m hoping that his sentencing will reflect the magnitude of the damage and havoc that he’s reaped on the lives of many women," said Lili Bernard.
Following the announcement that Bill Cosby was found guilty of sexual assault, accusers Lili Bernard and Victoria Valentino, accompanied by their attorney Gloria Allred, spoke with Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb on Friday's Today show about the verdict.
Bernard, who attended every day of the trial, shared her reaction to hearing that Cosby had been found guilty.
“I felt blessed, vindicated and just full of gratitude,” she said. “Bill Cosby is a serial rapist. I’m hoping that his sentencing will reflect the magnitude of the damage and havoc that he’s reaped on the lives of many women.”
While watching clips of Cosby after his sentence, Bernard’s eyes filled with tears. She said she felt “disbelief, joy, relief, gratitude for the jury, for the prosecution, for the victims.” She added, “I just didn’t expect this moment to happen.”
Valentino added, “I think it definitely means that the justice system is working and people are believing us finally and it encourages and inspires other women who have not yet found their voice, and this is just beginning.”
Throughout the trial, Cosby was reported to have acted inappropriately and even yelled at the prosecutor after the verdict was read on Thursday. “That was Bill Cosby depravity 101,” said Bernard. “When the victims were crying and sobbing, he was laughing. He was scowling. He was mocking them and that was very painful to endure.”
“This is the side of Bill Cosby we know — that nobody else believed because the general public believes the character that he portrays," added Valentino. "They don’t see the real person behind that character.”
Allred reflected on the “number of differences” between the first trial and the second, which resulted in a conviction. “One of the most important ones was the admission of testimony of what we call five prior bad act witnesses,” she said. The lawyer also praised the victims who defended themselves when put in difficult situations. “I admire them for their courage.”
“This is now about the empowerment of women. This is about women now being believed in a way they never were before and anyone who was in power who abuses that power,” said Allred. “Be aware because women will speak out and they will not be silenced or intimidated anymore.”
When asked if the two accusers now feel at peace, Bernard responded, “I feel like I can move on with my life. Go back with my six kids at home and give them a big victory hug.”
“I feel very validated,” added Valentino. “I feel that I am just encouraged to keep speaking out because there’s so many women, and young men, who have not yet found their voice.”
Over on ABC's Good Morning America, two other accusers that testified against Cosby opened up about their experience.
"The first thing that went through my mind is joy and overwhelming tears," shared Janice Baker-Kinney about hearing the verdict. "Tears of joy, but I couldn't stop sobbing."
Lise-Lotte Lublin was teaching her sixth grade class when the verdict was announced. “I received a call from my husband. He told me there was a verdict and I said, ‘Well, give me some time.’”
When her husband revealed that Cosby had been found guilty, she said, “My stomach started tumbling, and I didn't know what I was going to do. I was just like, 'I just have to get out of here. I've got to get out of this room.'"
“I believe that blame is ingrained in me for over 30 years,” Baker-Kinney stated after being asked if she still feels that the assault was her fault. "It just still comes from that place of so long ago when women were always blamed for these things and I think it's going to be a long time before I could ever get that feeling to go away."
Lublin added that she felt it was part of her “civic duty” to testify against Cosby. "It was my responsibility. It really let people understand and know what had happened and that he should be responsible for his actions,” she said. “He was extremely pitiful looking and sad and he didn't look like the massive man that he was portrayed as from the past, so it was really kind of sad to see him that way."
Following her assault, Lublin made it her mission to change the law in Nevada so that similar crimes would not be disregarded. "There's two years civilly for an adult to be able to sue and it's not fair," she said. "They're not even aware of their emotions or feelings yet, so two years is not even a start for them to even recover from this and to be able to go back and necessarily sue their perpetrator."
“I believe that it’s essential to spend time in jail and it wouldn’t break my heart to see him spend the rest of his life in jail,” revealed Baker-Kinney. "He sentenced many women to years and years of therapy and inner jail. I just think he deserves to spend an appropriate time and if that means dying in jail, it won't break my heart."
Lublin agreed with Baker-Kinney’s statement. “He needs to pay for his acts by going to jail and maybe that will give some of the victims of his an opportunity to heal a little bit. He's still responsible, and everyone knows the truth now,” she said.
Cosby’s representatives defended the disgraced actor on Good Morning America. "Mr. Cosby is right now with Mrs. Cosby," said Cosby's spokesman, Andrew Wyatt. "He's feeling great. He's confident. Although he's been found guilty, he's innocent of these charges and he maintains his innocence. He's going to walk around as a man who's innocent because he didn't do anything wrong. He's confident because he didn't do anything wrong. These are allegations that are decade-long allegations. These women have no evidence. They went to no authorities."
Wyatt concluded, “I think these jurors got it wrong."