MADE by: Jasmine Browley
America has been in an emotional tug of war since that fateful night in 2014 when comic, Hannibal Burress, landed the joke that further catapulted his career and categorically tanked another. Bill Cosby, legendary entertainer and activist, once held an esteemed place in the hearts of millions but with more than 50 women coming forward to accuse him of sexual assault in the last two years, those same hearts have grown cold.
Cosby’s lawyer, Monique Pressley, however, is as fiery as ever and quickly becoming a media darling of sorts because of her quick retorts, confident defiance and nice-nasty demeanor with hard hitting journalists. Whatever your stance on Cosby’s case is, no one can deny that Pressley is out here making her Howard University law professors proud. As a matter of a fact, here’s a few life lessons we’ve gleaned from the attorney:
1. Stay ready
On top of fighting Dr. Huxtable’s, uh I mean Bill Cosby’s legal battles and heading up her law practice, Pressley is also an adjunct professor of law at Howard University so she knows a thing or two about homework. Like the old adage says, stay ready so you won’t ever have to get ready.
2. Address issues head on.
In perhaps one of the most heated debates in HuffPost Live’s history, the show’s host, Dr. Marc Lamont Hill implied that the attorney was victim-blaming Cosby’s accusers after Pressley questioned the amount of time the women took to come forward. In true Pressley fashion, she didn’t beat around the bush in her response, instead tackling the label head on by expounding on her statement:
“I’m not victim blaming. The only way for a woman to get the justice that she seeks—and that, if her allegation is true, that she deserves—is to come forward [soon after the crime]. And even if the reasons that the women did not do that are legitimate ones, what cannot happen—in my opinion, in the United States—is that 40 years later there is a persecution tantamount to a witch hunt where there was no prosecution timely and there was no civil suit timely. And there’s not any testimony or any accusation from any of these women that Mr. Cosby in any way bound them, gagged them, prevented them from coming forward and saying whatever their truth was at the time. That’s not what happened,” she said.
3. Stand your ground.
In a CNN interview earlier this month, the reporter, in an obvious attempt to rattle Pressley, opened with “Why isn’t your client here to assert his innocence?”
Clearly the journalist didn’t realize who she was dealing because when Pressley so confidently answered, “That’s exactly what I’m here to do; what do you mean?” you would’ve thought she was hosting the show and not the other way around.
Like Pressley, when we’re faced with particularly high levels of condescension, look it in the face and unwaveringly challenge it.
4. Don’t feed into drama.
When Pressley was challenged by ‘press conference princess,’ Gloria Allred, who’s representing 27 of Cosby’s accusers, to a live debate on MSNBC “at the same place and time that she is,” she refused to take the bait.
“Here’s the thing, and I loathe to even address what really shouldn’t be addressed in this fashion, but I will only show up at the same time and place as Ms. Allred in the court of law in Los Angeles for the one case she has been able to bring into court out of the however many for the women she claims to represent. So when we show up for Huff v. Cosby, I’m there and she’s there and we as attorneys do what attorneys do. We’re not in high school. We don’t debate. We’re not politicians running for office. What would we win? A trophy? No. We are attorneys with clients. So when it’s time to actually show up and address a judge or a jury, I am there to see Ms. Allred or whomever else represents women who’ve brought false accusations against my client.” *drops mic and smiles*