Listen to Montgomery County Prosecutor Kevin Steele announce the criminal charges against Bill Cosby yesterday, 12/30/15 (go to 33 seconds):
Notice he states: "We are here to announce today charges that have just been filed against William Henry Cosby ....." Further notice he uses the "We" pronoun at the very beginning, but chooses to avoid using it again when he states, "charges that have just been filed." He could have said, "We are here to announce today charges we just filed against William Henry Cosby ..," but he didn't.
These language subtleties are not insignificant. They provide insight into the person's thinking at the time. Notice in my rendition there are 8 words between the "We" and "filed." In his statement there are 10. He is pushing himself away from "charges that have just been filed," by increasing the physical distance in the sentence between "We" and the "charges" and by obscuring who filed the charges. His verbiage, "have been filed" is passive which helps to further obscure ownership whereas mine is active and more precise. Who filed the charges? Of course we know his office did, but why not say it? We need to ask ourselves, why?
Is it because Prosecutor Steele isn’t comfortable with the charges? Maybe his staff disagrees with his decision? Does he lack confidence in these actions? Is his empathy for the alleged victim(s) overpowering? Does he have political concerns? After all, he is an elected official and serves the people.
Prosecutors have wide latitude in making prosecutorial decisions. On tough decisions, they can share the decision-making with a grand jury They can also decide to file charges and “let the jury decide.” In this case, he could have allowed the Statute of Limitations to expire, insisting on the need for further evidence.
He knows this will be a long and difficult prosecution. His predecessor declined prosecution. He had options, but he chose to take it head on and file the charges. But then he distances himself from the decision with this announcement. So, why?
Maybe the answer came just after the announcement when the victim expressed her appreciation for his decision to prosecute. Or when many of the alleged victims felt genuine relief and joy to see some of their credibility restored, at least for a day. Maybe that’s the answer. Maybe that, alone, is a successful prosecution.
Get Mr. Koenig's book, "Getting the Truth"