Yesha Callahan

Open Thread: Where Do You Stand On Monique Pressley?

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The Pressley Firm LLC

Slowly but surely Bill Cosby’s lawyer has begun to outshine the once beloved TV dad. As anxious as we all are to hear what will come out of the mouth of Bill and his unwaveringly faithful wife Camille during his upcoming hearing, right now the world seems to hanging on to every single word flowing from the lips of Monique Pressley, whom both Cosby defenders and opposers have become enamored with as of late.

During the past few days, numerous pieces have popped up on the Internet singing the praises of the “Howard graduate who previously served as the senior assistant attorney general in the Office of the Attorney General for Washington, D.C.,” as NY Mag reported in their piece on her. Rattling off those same accomplishments along with the fact that Pressley is also principal of the Pressley Firm LLC, an ordained minister, professor, and a mother of two, The Root determined “everybody can agree…Monique Pressley is a badass.”

To some extent that statement is true; but not everyone can separate Pressley’s prestigious career from what some see as a moral conflict of defending an accused rapist (particularly one who has already been deemed guilty in the eyes of many). But then again if Pressley was concerned about that she likely would’ve chosen a different profession altogether.

Still, it’s interesting how the tide has turned in recent months. When Pressley spoke to Marc Lamont Hill on Huffington Post Live this past August, she was heavily criticized for saying “[Victim-blaming] is like a tag word. It’s a hashtag, even.” And things only got worse when she seemingly engaged in the practice herself, adding “What I’m saying is women have responsibility. We have responsibility for our bodies, we have responsibility for our decisions, we have responsibilities for the ways we conduct ourselves… I’m not talking about these women, I’m saying all women have responsibility…”

Nowadays, Pressley is being commended for her sharp handling of journalists during interviews and given a stamp of approval that essentially boils down to the sentiment that if anyone can impart doubt in the minds of a jury and get Cosby off, it’s her. As a black woman I feel a bit of a conflict on that point because, while I want Pressley to be exceptional at her job and I’m thankful for the image of success she conveys against the backdrop of unending racial stereotypes about us, I don’t want that job to entail letting Bill Cosby skate on rape charges again — if he is in fact guilty — and letting the system fail rape victims again.

The excitement around Pressley mimics that of top Baltimore prosecutor Marilyn Mosby who rose to national acclaim when she filed charges against the six officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray, but when I look at these two successful figures, one simply isn’t quite like the other. Or are they?

  1. January 11, 2016 - Reply

    Bill Cosby is entitled to the best representation. She is lawyer, this is her job. I think she’s very intelligent, well read and will bring a great case. I don’t really have a dog in this fight, so I don’t really care whether she wins or loses. But I do believe she is a stellar attorney, and any aspiring lawyer would be lucky to work under her.

  2. January 11, 2016 - Reply

    The way I view Ms. Pressley is simple. She’s a lawyer just doing her job. Morality really has no place in the judicial system. This case is going to be decided by facts and evidence and too Ms. Pressley’s credit, she’s already begun to put reasonable doubt in the court of public opinion which arguably is a lot more difficult than putting reasonable doubt in the mind of the jurors inside the court room.

    If we’re being honest, No matter what your personal feelings are, Bill Cosby is being brought up on charges where there is almost no forensic or physical evidence. Ms. Pressley asking questions about each woman’s history might be victim blaming but it’s also the job of any decent criminal lawyer. I think if you remember that Bill is still innocent in the eyes of the law you don’t have a moral confliction. You will only be morally conflicted if you already decided Mr. Cosby is guilty. That’s your problem, not Ms. Pressley’s.

    • January 22, 2016 - Reply


      So on point..nicely stated.

  3. January 11, 2016 - Reply

    Why don’t Clutch write the author’s name on the article. I’m sure the entire Clutch staff do not agree with this piece (of sh*t). The only thing Mrs. Mosby and Cosby’s lawyer have in common is they are both black women.

  4. January 11, 2016 - Reply

    Oh please the sister is just doing her job.

  5. January 11, 2016 - Reply

    Mr. Cosby is entitled to legal representation. Just like people have the right to disagree with Bill Cosby’s words and his hypocritical actions. I have the personal responsibility to dissent. Defending the poor without stereotypes and scapegoating (while the super rich are notorious for pollution, international war crimes, and corporate exploitation) is also a personal responsibility. Some people don’t want people to disagree and dissent is a human right that must always be defended. People know how I feel about Bill Cosby. Likewise, I believe that Monique Pressley is a very intelligent black woman. People should never express hatred of her. She’s a human being. She’s a mother and she is dedicated in her job. She is doing her job. The spotlight should be placed overall in improving our community and making sure that the truth is known regardless. All of us want the truth to be shown.

  6. January 11, 2016 - Reply

    She’s a cutie 😉

    Whether you believe Bill Cosby is guilty or not Monique Pressley is a lawyer and has got a job to do.

    • January 11, 2016 - Reply


      Yes, she is a very beautiful, intelligent woman.

  7. January 11, 2016 - Reply

    “What I’m saying is women have responsibility. We have responsibility for our bodies, we have responsibility for our decisions, we have responsibilities for the ways we conduct ourselves… I’m not talking about these women, I’m saying all women have responsibility…” What is wrong with this statement? To me, this statement isn’t victim-blaming, but one says if we don’t watch out for ourselves, no one else will. When we have children, we tell them to look both ways before they cross the street. If they fail to do that and they get hit, is the driver of the vehicle to blame? I believe we as women must guard ourselves and take EVERY precaution, WHEN NECESSARY, predators can lurk around every corner.

    • January 11, 2016 - Reply


      A very fair statement Sister.

      • January 11, 2016 - Reply

        Thank you, brother.

        • January 11, 2016 - Reply


          You’re Welcome Sister.

    • January 12, 2016 - Reply


      And this is what Stephen A Smith was trying to say before the media backlash.

      And it is not just women. I as a black man have to be responsible in every way you mentioned and it is not to excuse the wrong done to us, but as you said… about being taught as children crossing the road.

      Unfortunately, those teachings don’t happen and many times we are left with a grieving parent blaming everyone else.

      I’m glad you put this out there because I think more people need to put this out there too and again not to excuse any perpetrator, but to just say look out for yourself/ourself.

      • January 13, 2016 - Reply


        Agreed, ilivebyfacts.

    • January 13, 2016 - Reply


      I honestly hope we leave “shaming” in 2015, the other day I heard someone say stupid shaming. As if saying dumb stuff is nothing to be ashamed of.

      • January 15, 2016 - Reply

        @i mean

        Agreed. It is very overused and oftentimes used in order for people not facing their issues.

  8. January 11, 2016 - Reply

    I like Monique Pressley a lot. I’ve seen her quite a few times (before the Cosby debacle) on TV One’s News One Now. She’s intelligent, smart, and beautiful. I have no ill-will towards her.

  9. January 11, 2016 - Reply

    I like Monique Pressley a lot. She is simply doing her job and the Cosby opposers are mad because she is bringing up a lot of valid points. I like a good debate and she is not going off of emotion, but logic and reasoning.

  10. January 11, 2016 - Reply

    Regardless of how people feel concerning Cosby, Monique Pressley has a job to do. Our justice system is an adversarial one so objectivity is key and people need to learn to separate their personal feelings and court proceedings. Like it or not, Cosby has a right to hire someone competent to represent him in court. I am not going to fault her for doing her job (I don’t fault any defense attorney for doing their job even if their client is clearly guilty). Plus, I disagree that it will be her or the justice system’s fault if he walks away free thus failing rape victims… there are a lot of factors that could make him walk. Either way, I think it is safe to say that that no matter what coin Cosby lands on the court of public opinion and his legacy is tarnished.

  11. January 11, 2016 - Reply

    She’s a lawyer. She’s doing her job. No one said anything about George Zimmerman’s lawyer.

  12. January 12, 2016 - Reply

    She is awesome. You have to like her not allowing the media to make this case a public affair especially when she addressed Gloria wanting to debate her.

    Monique let her know you will get your debate… IN COURT where it should be.

    She is addressing the facts the National Media fail to address.

    We all understand some women have faced scrutiny when making rape charges.
    I can sympathize with that, but we also know not every rape charge has been true.
    You can go with the hype of the numbers all you want, but at the end of the day he is innocent until proven guilt regardless of your public opinion because public opinion many times is not derived from proof.

    She has been very thorough and professional as opposed to Gloria who is looking for media attention.

    Oh… and if it was so easy for you to believe is it getting easier for you NOT to believe with proof coming out that some claims he was no where in the area let alone the state????

    Is it getting easier for you NOT to believe considering no proof?
    Even in the case within the limits where is the proof?
    If you are willing to convict this man with NO proof then please remember this should you or your family ever face a similar situation.

    You and I can remember one woman’s claim and make it ours. This has been proven with the FALSE claims so please STOP IT with the numbers.

    Also they keep saying rape allegations as 50+ women have come forward.
    This is misleading because not all of the women claimed rape to begin with.

    So do you really want to allow the national media to continue to mislead you?

    I’m sure being raped is a horrible experience.
    But being charged can’t be too easy either if you are innocent.
    Your life could be turned completely around because it appears people will have convicted you without a trial.

  13. January 12, 2016 - Reply

    I don’t understand the reasoning behind this because what’s failing rape victims is that rape exists, she can’t take the weight of worldwide misogyny on and just fix it. that on. I don’t know if you all remember the CBC Radio-1 broadcaster who was also accused of rape and violence against women, but he’s being represented by a woman and there’s been no fuss about that. People we don’t like get to have lawyers, too.

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