Bill Cosby's attorney Monique Pressley told HuffPost Live on Friday that all women who are sexually assaulted have a "responsibility" to immediately report it to create evidence of the crime -- evidence she says does not exist in the accusations against her client. But Pressley rejected the idea that her defense of the comedian constitutes victim-blaming, a phenomenon she wrote off as a "hashtag."
Pressley spoke with host Marc Lamont Hill days after allegations of rape against Cosby reached a new crest, with 35 of his alleged victims appearing on the cover of New York magazine. The lawyer said the decades-old stories of those and other women who have accused Cosby can never be proven or disproven without evidence that would have existed had they reported the assault earlier.
"I'm not speculating, I'm not thinking, I'm not opining, I'm not waxing poetic, but what I'm saying is women have responsibility. We have responsibility for our bodies, we have responsibility for our decisions, we have responsibility for the way we conduct ourselves," Pressley said.
She insisted that though she does not blame any woman for not reporting a rape or assault, their decision not to do so is the foundation of Cosby's defense. Pressley said:
The only way for a woman to get the justice that she seeks -- and that, if her allegation is true, that she deserves -- is to come forward [soon after the crime]. And even if the reasons that the women did not do that are legitimate ones, what cannot happen -- in my opinion, in the United States -- is that 40 years later there is a persecution tantamount to a witch hunt where there was no prosecution timely and there was no civil suit timely. And there's not any testimony or any accusation from any of these women that Mr. Cosby in any way bound them, gagged them, prevented them from coming forward and saying whatever their truth was at the time. That's not what happened.
The full 50-minute HuffPost Live interview with Cosby's attorney is available here. Below, watch more highlights from the conversation.