On the heels of firing his entire legal team, legendary entertainer and philanthropist Bill Cosby faces more fallout for his felony sexual assault conviction. The University of Maryland Board of Regents has voted to rescind honorary degrees granted to Cosby from the University of Baltimore, the University of Maryland College Park and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
According to The Baltimore Sun, University System of Maryland (USM) Chancellor Robert Caret cited Cosby’s sexual misconduct as the reason for taking the degrees back. Caret called the behavior unworthy of the honor.
“The universities’ requests, and the board’s decision, to rescind honorary degrees awarded to an individual later convicted of sexual assault reaffirms our values and sends a signal to all students, faculty, and staff across our institutions and to the people of Maryland. Sexual misconduct will not be tolerated, much less honored.”
USM is following the trend of other institutions by distancing themselves from Cosby who will be sentenced in the coming months. However, former attorney Tom Mesereau believes that the moves are premature. Mesereau told Inside Edition that the entertainer’s conviction was a huge miscarriage of justice and probably the worst he has seen in his career. He believes that the #MeToo movement is forcing judges to make an example of men like Cosby.
“I hope he doesn’t spend one minute in jail because he doesn’t deserve to,” Mesereau said.
Cosby has been convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand said to occur at his Philadelphia estate in 2004. He faces up to 10 years in prison on each count and may be scheduled to appear before Judge Steven O’Neill for sentencing as early as this September. CNN reported that Cosby will likely serve those sentences concurrently.
The difference in the second trial that led to the verdict is the fact that Judge O’Neill allowed “prior bad acts” to be admitted into evidence while preventing Cosby’s team from presenting evidence from a private investigator and other witnesses. Mesereau had announced the team’s intent to appeal the verdict shortly after it was rendered. Cosby has since replaced the legal team, but Mesereau still supports their efforts.
“People go through different lawyers. What we do is an art, not a science,” Mesereau told Inside Edition alluding to the effect that public opinion has had on this case. “I’ve talked to replacement counsel, and I wish the Cosby family and I wish the new counsel the best.”