White House press secretary Jen Psaki cited President Biden’s commitment to fighting against violence to women but wouldn’t say what he thinks about a Pennsylvania court overturning the sexual assault conviction of Bill Cosby.
“The president has long been an advocate for fighting against violence against women, for ensuring that we are raising the voices and the stories of people who have been survivors of sexual assault. That’s something he has done throughout his career and will continue to do,” she said at the White House briefing on Wednesday.
“But I don’t have a specific comment on that announcement today,” Psaki said, adding that a statement may be released later in the day.
She also noted that the president helped write the 1994 Violence Against Women Act.
Later in the briefing, Psaki was pressed on her response to the ruling.
A reporter said that Cosby’s conviction wasn’t overturned because he’s innocent but because a former prosecutor agreed not to pursue criminal charges against him — a deal that later prosecutors failed to abide by.
“What message does that send to women in the ‘MeToo’ era who come forward with sexual assault allegations?” Psaki was asked.
She again danced around the question and replied that she wanted to “be careful” about speaking on specific court decisions.
She said the president has “advocated for elevating the voices and stories of women who are survivors of sexual assault, sexual abuse, and certainly knows that’s a difficult journey for many of them.”
“He believes that these women are courageous, they’re brave, and he wants it to be an environment, wants us to live in a country where they, where women, will feel comfortable moving forward and telling their story,” she continued.
In its ruling, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that an agreement by then-Montgomery Country District Attorney Bruce Castor Jr. prevented Cosby from being charged by subsequent prosecutors for drugging and molesting Andrea Constand in 2004.