Interview with Bradley Wright
Gloria, first of all thank, you for understanding the situation with my daughter and the Holy Hush in Dallas. We appreciate all that your staff has done and taking the time to help us bring Brianna and Harlyn back home to the love and support of family and friends. Our entire family wants to thank you and your staff for taking the time to listen. Specifically Patty, I know she worked extremely hard to get us together over these last several months. With your Cosby and Trump battles and my flying and driving back and forth to Dallas, it seemed like it may never happen. Thanks to Patty’s persistent demeanor for bringing us together.
“If there are no consequences, or consequences that are not proportionate to the battery that has been inflicted, then there’s no incentive to stop the violence.”
WRIGHT: So, I thought I would start with a little history of you protecting women and their rights all these years. How long have you been practicing?
ALLRED: I’ve been practicing about 41 years.
WRIGHT: In those 41 years you had Nicole Brown-Simpson’s family as a client, arguably one of the most thrilling and documented murder cases in history. In addition, you had Roe vs. Wade, which in my opinion is surely one of the most controversial and confrontational cases regarding women’s rights. I’m sure this was a huge one for your career. Was there a favorite case you’ve experienced over the years?
ALLRED: I would say my favorite case was my last case, my present case, and my next case. Basically, all my cases and all my clients. They’re all important to me, and I care about the individuals involved, not just the case. They’re human beings who have many challenges they’re facing, and I’m there to be supportive of them and to help them win as much justice as possible under our imperfect set of laws and our imperfect justice system.
WRIGHT: Well, here is a question you may or may not be comfortable answering.
ALLRED: You can ask me anything and everything.
WRIGHT: In this case, I know you have direct involvement which is why I qualified the question. Bill Cosby. I first encountered Bill Cosby on a Sunday night, when I was ten years old in Inglewood, California, at my grandma’s. She had the television on “I Spy,” and I was mesmerized. Fat Albert, Saturday mornings, Bill Cosby sold me on Jell-O, Dr. Huxtable! Were you surprised with the Bill Cosby deal and the accusations against him?
ALLRED: Well, you’re describing what many women experienced, which is in their lives whether or not they’re involved with someone named Bill Cosby. I’ll just speak in general; often it’s kind of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. With Mr. Cosby, many people alleged that it was Dr. Huxtable, which is a character played on his television show, and the real Bill Cosby. When women began to approach me about Bill Cosby, many of them not knowing each other, they were alleging very similar types of facts as to what they had experienced with Mr. Cosby. As I looked at what they alleged occurred, where it occurred, and when it occurred, I was able to conclude that, unfortunately, the statute of limitations, which is the arbitrary time period set by law, is different in every state. Different for example: abuse by an adult against another adult vs. abuse by an adult of a child. Different time periods are set by law, and for most of those women, it was too late either to file a civil lawsuit against him or even too late to have a district attorney prosecute the case, even if the district attorney, based on the facts they shared with him or her, concluded that the case could be concluded beyond any reasonable doubt. In other words, the statute of limitations was a bar that prevented them from having a legal action to exercise.
But they wanted to speak out. They wanted to say what they said was ‘their truth.’ And of course, there is no statute of limitations on speech. If one knows the risk and wants to weigh the risk against the benefit and concludes that one wants to speak out, then, of course, that person has the right to do so. So the women decided they wanted to speak out, and they did. Then suddenly the district attorney of Montgomery County in Pennsylvania decided to file a criminal case, the only one in the country against Bill Cosby at the time it was filed, and within the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania. And the victim, or alleged victim, was Andrea Constand, who gave permission for her name to be used. That case is now pending; it is scheduled to begin trial on June 5th in Montgomery County. Andrea will testify, and the prosecutor wants to call 13 other accusers. The prosecutor indicated to the Court that he, that is the police department, had interviewed over 50 accusers of Bill Cosby.
WRIGHT: In Pennsylvania?
ALLRED: Well, they weren’t all in Pennsylvania, but law enforcement in Montgomery County interviewed more than 50 accusers who were all over the country. I represented 33 of them. The prosecutor said to the court, I would like to call 15 of the 50 to the witness stand as part of my case against Mr. Cosby. The defense argued you shouldn’t be able to call any other accuser other than the person who is alleged to be the victim. It was decided that one, and only one could be called.
WRIGHT: And what was different about this one?
ALLRED: She was called victim #6. Or what she’s actually called is ‘prior bad act witness #6.’ I happened to represent that person. So, she is testifying in this case and will be a key witness since only one other is permitted to testify. Under Pennsylvania law, the prosecution would have to show that she would testify and would tend to prove a common plan, scheme or desire — a modus operandi, called a M.O., or absence of mistake. In other words, the issue in the People vs. Cosby case is: ‘Is Mr. Cosby guilty of aggravated, indecent sexual assault?’ There are three felonies he’s charged with. Mr. Cosby has previously indicated that he was with Andrea Constand, that he did provide drugs to Andrea Constant (three pills), that she consented to sexual activity and that he did digitally penetrate her. So, the issue is consent. Now under Pennsylvania law, the prosecutor can seek to call it absence of mistake. In other words, if the prosecutor can prove that Mr. Cosby had a plan to scheme or design to incapacitate women by drugging them or providing alcohol or both, such that they could not be in a position to consent, to say yes or no, then that would be a criminal act if he incapacitated them and then engaged in sexual conduct with them. So this prior bad act witness, accuser #6, would tend to prove if they, the jury, believed what she had to say, that Mr. Cosby engaged in similar conduct or misconduct with her and that he could not have been mistaken about whether Andrea consented or not if he was engaging in a plan to incapacitate women through the use of drugs and then engage in sexual activity.
WRIGHT: Is this why the witness was allowed to testify? Was there some sort of pattern with her and the victim?
ALLRED: That’s a good question, and the judge did not say in his order, in which he said the prosecution could call prior bad act witness #6, why the prosecutor could call her but not the other 12 the prosecutor sought to call. I’d rather not speculate. I’m happy that one was called. There have been many, many battles in this case to try to get it to trial. For example, Mr. Cosby did not want his deposition from the prior civil case filed by Andrea Constand to be allowed into evidence. This Is where he admits to obtaining prescriptions for drugs, I think he said seven prescriptions, with the intent to have sexual contact with women. Of course, he didn’t say whether he gave the drugs to the women with their knowledge or consent. His attorney objected when that question was asked of him, because of course if he said it was without their knowledge and consent that would be a criminal act. But I’m saying he doesn’t even want that in. And then comes the question will Mr. Cosby even take the witness stand at trial. I doubt it. However, if his deposition is admitted into evidence, he did testify under oath in that, and so the jury can hear his own words if he doesn’t take the witness stand. Further, Mr. Cosby gave an interview to the police on Andrea Constand years ago. The first DA did not prosecute, but now a new DA did. So his police interview will come into evidence. It’s going to be a very interesting trial.
WRIGHT: How long was the police interview?
ALLRED: Well, I don’t know the length of it. There’s a lot going on in that case and looks as though it is going to take place in June.
WRIGHT: You said socially convicted, that’s for sure, right?
ALLRED: Well, in the court of public opinion, I think that many people do believe the women and do feel that something happened. But that doesn’t mean he can’t get a fair trial. The jurors will be asked to put this aside and look at this case only through the evidence that is introduced in the courtroom and not anything that has been produced on television or on the internet or the radio or any place else. And he is a celebrity. People have the view of him like you said earlier, which is: ‘Wow, what a respected father figure he was,” one of the most popular people on television, who had this very positive image, proof of which is he was doing Jell-O ads, and that means he had a very high Q rating, which means he was very popular with the public. So anyway, that’s a very interesting and important case, an unusual case. And, is he a saint or is he a sinner? Is he just a typical citizen or is he a sexual predator? That’s going to be for the jury to decide, if he’s innocent or guilty, acquitted or guilty.
WRIGHT: I’m still amazed that for so many years he could hide that behavior, that persona who he really is. Seems like we have the Holy Hush in Dallas and the Hollywood Hush in Hollywood.
ALLRED: Well, there’s an allegation out there that he may have entered into confidential settlements.
WRIGHT: Which you’ve done with your clients, right. Is it your job to make sure they’re satisfied?
ALLRED: I help to obtain the goal that my client wishes to obtain and that she believes is the best for her after she hears the options from me and the benefits and the risks. In some cases, it’s to have a confidential settlement.
WRIGHT: You’re telling us we have legal justice and we have the hush money financial justice?
ALLRED: Well, most people want accountability of some type. They want the wrongdoer, the sexual predator, the perpetrator, the battery, or whatever wrong has been inflicted on the victim, the victim wants him, whoever that person is, to be accountable. Now there are different ways to achieve accountability. One might be a financial settlement – the perpetrator pays the victim whatever she needs to recover from the wrong that’s been afflicted on her. So that would be the civil justice system. Another might be through the criminal justice system, where the perpetrator, if it’s a criminal act, might go to jail or prison. Another is shaming him publicly. Sometimes you can achieve one of those, sometimes two, sometimes three of those goals. But I’m very client-oriented, so I’m not there to impose agendas or goals on anyone. It’s simply to support them in their decision. They know what they need, and the client knows what’s best for her life. Everybody’s life is very complicated, with many choices. There’s no answer. We have to help educate women so they can make the choices that are best for their life.
WRIGHT: It’s like a flywheel. I’m sure many women who settle financially would rather see their perpetrators go to jail right?
ALLRED: Not necessarily. It’s an individual decision, yes.
WRIGHT: What is the difference, to you, between verbal domestic violence and physical domestic violence? Which can cause the most harm?
ALLRED: It really depends. Do you have a broken jaw? Has your spine been fractured? I don’t know. In many cases when violence has been inflicted, the law does a better job of recognizing physical violence and the injuries suffered by the victim than it does recognizing the emotional violence. It’s hard to understand that. So you know, usually the perpetrator… I can tell without meeting the person, if someone describes what happens to a victim, I can tell them here is the profile of the perpetrator. And in fact, if they describe this person to me that he’s never before been a batterer, I can tell you that he’s going to be a batterer because there is a profile. There’s an O.J. Simpson type of batterer, and he was. He did plead to spousal violence against Nicole, but the law didn’t do much about that. I’m a big one for imposing consequences. I believe that when serious consequences are imposed on perpetrators, that is a learning experience for them, the perpetrators, and then they have to think about if they’re going to do it again. If there are no consequences or consequences that are not proportionate to the battery that has been inflicted, then there’s no incentive to stop the violence. So I believe in accountability and consequences. Consequences that fit the crime.
WRIGHT: And O.J. was never held accountable and that comparison is what scares us as a family?
ALLRED: Well there’s even a question about what he was supposed to do in the community after inflicting violence on Nicole, whether he even did this. And I mention this in a chapter in my book. So I still think, fast forward to 2017, do I think that the laws have significantly improved to protect victims? No.
WRIGHT: That’s crazy, law and male headship both. Will it ever change?
ALLRED: I think somewhat, but we aren’t there yet. Most perpetrators are not even prosecuted, but if they are prosecuted, I don’t think that the punishment imposed on them fits the crime. I’ve said many times, and I’ll say it again, if a man would beat an animal, he would generally get a significant prison term. But if he beats a woman, his wife, the mother of his children, generally he will not get the significant time in prison sentence that he would have if he’d beaten an animal. This is because animals and their rights are more protected than women and their rights. That’s my opinion; that’s my observation. I’m not interested in pitting women against animals,but I’m saying we have a long way to go. The fact that there was an intimate relationship does not justify giving a lighter sentence to a perpetrator of domestic violence.
WRIGHT: I’m going to ask you a question with one word. You will answer with only one word? ‘Trump.’
ALLRED: (long pause) Dangerous. I also have a lawsuit against him you know? In fact, my client is a resident of Orange County. Summer Zervos. Very brave young woman. She is one of the accusers of Donald Trump during the campaign for the presidency. We heard the Access Hollywood tape and then candidate Trump said- well he wasn’t a candidate when he said it, he was a candidate when the Access Hollywood tape was broadcast — about how he could kiss a woman, just basically kiss her seemingly without her consent, because he was a star. He could grab her by the, I’ll use the word “genital,” he chose the ‘p word’, and it was shocking to many people. And then when he was asked about it in the debate by Anderson Cooper, whether he’d actually done what he was heard to say on that tape, he said it was just locker room talk and denied doing what he was actually heard saying he did. Then women started coming out to the New York Times and to me, alleging he actually had done what he was heard to say in the tape in some way to them. And Summer Zervos was one of them, and we held a news conference, and she detailed what she alleged he had done. Then after a number of women kept coming out and coming out, I was bringing out some of these women or doing news conferences with them. Mr. Trump said, “they are all liars. What they say is fabrication and fiction. I’m going to sue them all after the election.” The Electoral College votes were such that he became President of the United States. He has not sued them. I then demanded a retraction. I said, “Retract what you said about these women and your threat to sue them.” He did not retract, so on January 17th, this year; I filed a lawsuit on behalf of Summer against, soon-to-be-President Trump. We filed it in New York, a defamation case against him on behalf of Summer. She is the only accuser to come forward. He’s argued…his first argument is going to be legal immunity, that because he’s President he can’t be sued. We’re arguing Paula Jones vs. Clinton, the Supreme Court case in which the United States Supreme Court said no man is above the law, including the President of the United States. The President of the United States can be sued as long as it’s not for official conduct. We’re alleging he has he defamed her: 1) before he became President of the United States and 2), we alleged that he defamed her, which would be personal misconduct, not official conduct, before he became President of the United States. Summer is very brave, and I’m very honored and very proud to represent her, because to sue the President of the United States, arguably the most powerful man in the world, for a young woman to stand up against that, and him, is very significant, and we are looking forward to taking his deposition. I’m looking forward to asking him questions under oath, as I expect him to raise his hand and tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help him, God. And, I’ll expect him to tell the truth. However, if he decides to lie under oath about a material fact in this case, he knows that he’s lying under oath. Again, I’m not saying he will, but if he does commit perjury that’s a high crime and misdemeanor for which he could be impeached. President Clinton was impeached. Will a Republican Congress, which sought and did impeach President Clinton for lying under oath, will they do that to a Republican President? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. This will be very interesting. My feeling is they’re going to want to delay and delay and delay, so that day does not come for a long time. And, of course, I want this to move quickly.
WRIGHT: That’s always the battle, right? Summer is fortunate to have you, one who is not opposed to fighting the power.
ALLRED: In the Judicial System, well, we’re going to fight that battle. People can support us. This is a case of public interest and importance. If they want to support Summer, they can go to my web page GloriaAllred.com, and they can see a way to contribute to Summer’s case and to her battle against the President of the United States. It’s the only time in 41 years we’ve ever sought the assistance of the public to support a case, but this is an extremely significant battle, and you know Mr. Trump has quite a few billionaire friends. Summer doesn’t have billionaire friends to help her with this case, so that’s why we’re looking for the public’s support, and they can go there to find out how to contribute at gloriaallred.com.
WRIGHT: Public support is the way to go because of the division out there. Most people either love him or hate him!
ALLRED: Well, you know, here’s what we think: truth matters. I’m all for truth and accountability. It may be a truth you like; it may be a truth you don’t like.But we all need the truth, and that’s what we’re looking for- the truth- and we’re looking for justice.
WRIGHT: What can we do to educate both our young men and young women in the world about domestic violence?
ALLRED: That’s a really important question about young men, because our sons have a stake in this cause. When we’re talking about a victim of domestic violence, it could be a woman, it could be a man, because let’s face it, It’s usually a woman. It could be a man, and men can be victims, too. They could be in a relationship with another man; a woman could be the victim of another woman — a lesbian or gay relationship. Or it could just be a dating relationship, not a marriage relationship. It could be a cohabitant relationship. Point is, when there’s violence against one member of a family, it affects many people in the family: the parents of the victim, the grandparents of the victim, the sisters, the brothers, the coworkers. It becomes a whole ripple effect. And it’s a challenge for the whole family on both sides – the perpetrator’s side and the victim’s side – and on the justice system. There is a saying in the domestic violence movement: “There’s no excuse for abuse.” And we need other members in the family to help the victims understand what their options are. Leaving is sometimes also a risk. It is especially complicated if there are children, and children are seeing their mothers victimized. That’s bad for the children, and often the violence will be first against the mother and then against the children. But even if it is not against the children, it usually is after a while. Usually, abuse gets more severe over time and more frequent over time than better or less over time. We need everyone to be educated about the options and that violence is wrong. I always say male chauvinism can be very dangerous to a woman’s health because what looks like affection, in the beginning, turns into control, which turns into battery. Anything less than an equal relationship or equal partnership is going to be dangerous to a woman’s health. Toxic to her future and to her children’s future. We need to educate our sons that violence against women, violence against anyone, is wrong, and that everyone is entitled to be treated with respect and dignity, not just outside the home, but inside the home as well.
WRIGHT: Everyone puts on an act when they’re at church or the Rotary Club or in a position of authority.
ALLRED: People in authority can betray trust, and women who have great fathers often are the most vulnerable because they don’t expect other men to treat them badly. They think, “Well my dad was a great dad; this husband will be great to me too.” This is why they’re so disappointed. Again, the women’s movement is, “What if Prince Charming comes and leaves and what if Prince Charming comes and beats you? What if Prince Charming is a frog? Turns into a Frog? And what if Prince Charming never comes?” We have to be prepared. Fairytales are not the reality; they don’t prepare us for life.