Bill Cosby is facing a jury for the first day of his sexual assault trial, but he has the support of at least one of his five kids from his Cosby Show heyday. TMZ posted a photo of Cosby, 79, walking arm-in-arm with his longtime co-star Keshia Knight Pulliam as they headed into a Montgomery County, Pa. courthouse. Pulliam played Cosby’s youngest daughter, Rudy, for eight seasons Rudy, on the hit 1980s NBC sitcom.
Bill Cosby is facing three counts of aggravated indecent assault in the case filed by Temple University employee Andrea Constand. Constand alleges that The Cosby Show star drugged and raped her in 2004 when she was a guest at his Philadelphia-area home. If convicted of the crime, Bill Cosby faces 30 years in prison.
Bill Cosby has long denied the charges against him. Constand first reported The Cosby Show patriarch to police in 2005, according to CNN, but the district attorney at the time of declined to press charges. Cosby settled a civil suit with Constand in 2006, but since then more than four dozen women have come forward with similar allegations against the once-beloved sitcom star, including ’80s supermodels Beverly Johnson and Janice Dickinson.
While most of Hollywood has turned their back on Bill Cosby, a few of his Cosby Show co-stars have remained loyal to him.
Malcolm Jamal-Warner, who played Cosby’s son Theo Huxtable on The Cosby Show, told it was painful to see his longtime friend and mentor being crucified in the media.
“He’s one of me mentors, and he’s been very influential and played a big role in my life as a friend and mentor,” Warner told the magazine.
“Just as it’s painful to hear any woman talk about sexual assault, whether true or not, it’s just as painful to watch my friend and mentor go through this.”
Warner stopped short of defending Bill Cosby against the rape allegations, explaining that he “wasn’t there,” but he went on to praise his former TV dad for all that he has done for the African-American community and for his contributions to show business.
“That’s the Bill Cosby I know,” Warner said. “I can’t speak on the other stuff.”
Bill Cosby’s TV wife, Phylicia Rashad (Claire Huxtable on The Cosby Show) told Showbiz 411 she thinks the allegations against Cosby are part of a plot to destroy his career.
“What you’re seeing is the destruction of a legacy,” Rashad said. “And I think it’s orchestrated…Someone is determined to keep Bill Cosby off TV.”
Keshia Knight Pulliam previously addressed Cosby’s rape scandal during a live appearance on The Today Show. At the time, Pulliam revealed she had not spoken to Bill in several years, but she reminded people that while her TV dad’s case has “very much been played out in the court of public opinion… we’re still in America, where ultimately you’re innocent until proven guilty.”
Keshia told E! News that she can’t speak to what transpired between Bill Cosby and his accusers, the man she knows is as “an amazing, philanthropic, inspirational guy who always treated me very well.”
While Bill Cosby has the support—or at least the benefit of the doubt, of some of his Cosby kids, at least two former co-stars have not stepped up to show their support. Lisa Bonet, who played daughter Denise Huxtable on The Cosby show, has kept silent about the scandal. However, in an interview with the Guardian, Bonet’s daughter Zoe Kravitz said her mom is disgusted by the allegations against her former TV father.
“She really hasn’t [talked],” Kravitz told the Guardian.
“She’d plead the fifth, even to me. I think she’s just staying out of it. She’s just as disgusted and concerned as everyone else is, but I don’t think she has any insight. It’s news to her as well.”
Also, actor Joseph C. Phillips, who played Bill Cosby’s son-in-law and Bonet’s husband Martin Kendall on The Cosby Show, said she believes the rape allegations against the Emmy-winning actor are true. Phillips published a blog post titled “Of Course Bill Cosby is Guilty,” in which he admitted he never saw the legendary actor drug women but makes it clear it was “common knowledge that Bill played around.”
While Keshia Knight Pulliam supports Bill Cosby in court, the fallout for his sitcom co-stars has been severe. TV Land promptly pulled reruns of The Cosby Show from its schedule, which meant all of the stars lost residual money until Bounce TV picked the show back up last fall.
[Featured Image by Mark Makela/Getty Images]