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Bill Cosby implies racism, revenge behind sexual assault allegations

Bill Cosby is publicly addressing his sexual assault scandal for the first time in more than two years.

Radio host Michael Smerconish says he interviewed Cosby for 30 minutes.

In clips released Monday, Cosby seems to suggest racism and revenge were behind the allegations against him.

In criminal cases, defendants and their families usually stay silent. Not Bill Cosby.

Ahead of the trial, which starts next month, his camp has been steadily ramping up a public relations offensive, trying to soften his image and cast him as a victim of a witch hunt, reports CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan. 

"Nefarious is a great word," Cosby said in one of the interview clips released Monday.

In the radio interview, Cosby appears to blame racism for his sex assault scandal.

"I just truly believe that, uh, some of it may very well be that," Cosby said.

He also seems to claim his dozens of accusers were quote "piling on."

"Are you telling me that they're all lying?" Smerconish asked.

"You know better than that," Cosby responded. 

"He has actually been sued for defamation, so there's no way he's walking into that trap," said CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman.

Klieman says the interview could be part of an effort to remind potential jurors of Cosby's presumption of innocence.

"There is always the possibility that defense attorneys look for of jury nullification. That somehow, even in the face of overwhelming evidence, that there may be a reason for jurors to acquit," Klieman said. 

Smerconish will air the interview uncut on his Sirius radio show Tuesday morning.

"I'm surprised by how much he did address, including revealing to me whether he will take the stand in his own defense," Smerconish said in a Facebook video. 

Cosby granted the interview because the radio host promised to broadcast statements from Cosby's daughters Ensa and Erinn. Smerconish also agreed to air an interview between Erinn and her father.

"For two years or more, it has been relentless publicity against him. And who is there to humanize Bill Cosby, if not Bill Cosby and his own children," Klieman said. 

CBS News declined a previous offer from Cosby's representatives to publish a written statement from another daughter, Evin.

He is accused of drugging and assaulting one of his alleged victims, Andrea Constand.

Cosby's trial is scheduled to begin June 5 in Pennsylvania.

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