HLN, Mar 2018

Lili Bernard interviewed on Michaela Pereira show, HLN, CNN’s sister station.March 6, 2018, Los Angeles, CA.

MICHAELA: How are you feeling going into this next trial?

LILI: I’m feeling blessed. I want to first offer my condolences to Mr. and Mrs. Cosby and the extended family on the passing of their daughter Ensa.

M: She died two weeks ago.

L: Yeah, so I offer my sincere condolences. It brought me sadness. Your question again?

M: How are you feeling going into this trial, the retrial?

L: I’m feeling skeptical.

M: Skeptical, what?

L: Well, OK, let’s put it this way. What I witnessed last year, when I went to the first trial, was a spectacle which lends testimony to why only 2% of rapists see the inside of a jail and why rape victims seldom report the crimes that they’ve suffered. And that is because I witnessed a sort of acrimo[nious] – like a really acerbic, horrible three ring circus. And I saw defense attorneys directing the attention of jurors to dated and dazzling — however dated they are — rape myths which the jury bought. Much like a ring master would direct an audience’s attention to — like the world’s tiniest man or the most amazing bearded lady –

M: It felt like a circus-like atmosphere to you –

L: It was a three-ring circus. And so, no wonder rape victims seldom report crimes that they –

M: Do you feel confident that these 19 accusers, that the prosecution is chomping at the bit to prove there was a pattern with Mr. Cosby? Do you feel hopeful that they will be allowed to – or that at least some of them will be allowed to testify?

L: I feel hopeful. Common sense would say that they should be allowed to testify because there are 62 known Cosby accusers – publicly known Cosby accusers — of which I am one. So how would common sense only allow one of us to testify? That does not make sense to me. I don’t – I think that whereas the #metoo movement — of course — has brought up a lot of awareness, what has it done for accountability? And we need to educate a lot of people about rape. We also need to reform the laws. To me, it makes absolutely no sense that we would not be able to testify because it would prejudice the jury. Why can’t a jury know that there have been 62 women who have accused the man of similar crimes?

M: Well, even in your case, the assault that you reported, that you said happened in 1992 –

L: No, not 1992.

M: Oh, it was earlier than that –

L: Yes, it was before that –

M: It was before that. New Jersey – where you say the assault happened – where you living there at the time?

L: No – well – no, I was not living there at the time, but what happened there was that the assault happened just a few months outside of the statute of limitations.

M: There’s no longer a statute of limitations on sexual assault –

L: Yeah, right –

M: — but in your time-period there was –

L: Yes, it was just a few months outside of the statute of limitations, so the prosecutor couldn’t even consider pressing charges, regardless of the fact that I have a number of witnesses and that I have – credible witnesses – and compelling evidence –

M: Does that make you –

L: — which I brought with me to the detective’s office when they —

M: Does that make you –

L: — interviewed me –

M: — the fact that you didn’t get your day in court – and you won’t have your day in court – do you feel that in a way — that’s why you’re with Andrea Constand even more like in a way that she’s there as your representative? Is that a fair way to put that?

L: Absolutely. I look at her as the catalyst of the #metoo movement. We are definitely in a war against rape. As Gloria Allred said, “There’s a war on women.” So I look at it as we’re soldiers and she [Andrea Constand] is the Joan of Arc in the War on Rape. So yes, it is to provide support for her — whom I’ve come to know as a friend — but also to do as much as I can to help shift rape culture towards believing women.

M: Do you think the – you know we have been talking a lot about the fact that the #metoo movement has – there’s something that has shifted. I think we all feel it. And I often have wondered how would this case have looked – how would the accusers coming forward those years ago have looked now, instead of then. Do you think about that often?

L: Yes, I do think of that, and I’m so grateful to have been a part of that. I look at Andrea Constand as – sort of like a diaphragm that’s allowing all these voices to spring forward. So, I’m hopeful that the judge, who seems to be a very conscientious man — from what I witnessed — will take into account this new culture that is leaning towards believing women.