Comedian Bill Cosby is blind, he confirmed in a rare interview released Wednesday, in the run-up to his sexual assault trial in suburban Philadelphia.
The interview, published by the National Newspaper Publishers Association Newswire, only features a few quotes from Cosby. He and a public relations expert decided to give the interview to the agency, which focuses on the black community, because they felt the outlet would be more interested in "facts over sensationalism," according to the interview.
It's his first time speaking at length to the press since charges were filed against him for allegedly sexually assaulting a Temple University employee at his home in 2004. Cosby has pleaded not guilty and is free on $1 million bail. He calls the encounter consensual.
His attorneys said in court in November that Cosby is too blind to identify his accusers in photographs. He has been guided into the Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, courtroom for pre-trial appearances.
In the interview, Cosby said he called out to his wife when he woke up one morning without sight, and he also referred to "the true histories" of the United States being different from what is in textbooks.
Cosby also said in the interview that he misses performing: "I think about walking out on stage somewhere in the United States of America and sitting down in a chair and giving the performance that will be the beginning of the next chapter of my career."
His youngest daughter, Evin Cosby, released a statement defending her father as loving and the victim of unproven allegations that were played up because of their salaciousness. Dozens of women have come forward in recent years to allege they were the victims of Cosby's sexual misconduct, which Cosby has denied. He's also argued he can't defend himself against vague accusations stretching back decades.
"The harsh and hurtful accusations of things that supposedly happened 40 or 50 years ago, before I was born, in another lifetime, 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.
The trial beings June 5, and the judge expects it to last about two weeks.