Bill Cosby, who is scheduled to stand trial for one of more than 40 accusations of sexual assault in decades past, says he is now blind.
In brief comments posted Wednesday, Cosby, 79, told the National Newspaper Publishers Association website Black Press USA that one morning about two years ago he told his wife Camille, “I can’t see.” Doctors confirmed, he said, that his vision was irreparably impaired.
His longtime spokesman, Andrew Wyatt, told the website, “When he would perform, we’d draw a wide straight yellow line from backstage to the chair on the stage and he’d rehearse the walk, hours before the show.”
Neither gave details as to the extent of the visual impairment.
Meanwhile, the Cosbys’ youngest child, Evin, 40, defended her father, writing in an essay on the site, “He loves and respects women,” and noting that on his landmark TV series “The Cosby Show,” the star and creator “only depicted women as smart and accomplished.”
“The public persecution of my dad . . . and the cruelty of the media and those who speak out branding my father a ‘rapist’ without ever knowing the truth and who shame our family and our friends for defending my dad, makes all of this so much worse for my family and my children,” she wrote.
Saying, “He is not abusive, violent or a rapist,” Evin Cosby conceded that, “Sure, like many celebrities tempted by opportunity, he had his affairs, but that was between him and my mother. They have worked through it and moved on, and I am glad they did for them and for our family.”
She wrote, “We are told that we have fundamental rights to be innocent until proven guilty,” But, “if enough people think you are a bad person, you are branded a bad person and the media just reinforces that.”
Cosby’s representatives have consistently denied all allegations. Because of statutes of limitations, only one case, involving a then-minor, is going forward. The Montgomery County, Pennasylvania, district attorney announced in December 2015 it was charging Cosby with aggravated indecent assault involving Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee.
“The harsh and hurtful accusations of things that supposedly happened 40 or 50 years ago . . . and that have been carelessly repeated as truth without allowing my dad to defend himself and without requiring proof, has punished not just my dad but every one of us,” Evin Cosby wrote, adding, “I am pleased that finally we are seeing the whole picture and seeing cases and claims dismissed from court. I just hope that those who pre-judged my dad are now willing to admit that they were wrong.”