This article originally appeared on People.
As his sexual assault trial looms, Bill Cosby broke his silence early Wednesday to say he is now completely blind.
Also, in an emotional essay published early Wednesday, Cosby’s youngest daughter Evin defended the entertainer.
My father “loves and respects women,” Evin Cosby, 40, wrote in an essay published on the NNPA Newswire. “He is not abusive, violent or a rapist. Sure, like many celebrities tempted by opportunity, he had his affairs, but that was between him and my mother. They have worked through it and moved on, and I am glad they did for them and for our family”
Cosby, 79, is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple employee Andrea Constand, now 44, at his Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, mansion in January 2004. Cosby has pleaded not guilty and denies similar claims from more than 50 other women. He is scheduled to go to trial on the charges on June 5. Jury selection begins in Pittsburgh on May 22.
In his interview with the NNPA Newswire, Cosby said he’s blind. About two years ago, he awoke two years ago and said to his wife, Camille, “I can’t see,” he told the outlet.
“Doctors later confirmed the worst: that there was nothing that could be done to repair his vision,” the story says.
“When he would perform, we’d draw a wide straight yellow line from backstage to the chair on stage and he’d rehearse the walk, hours before the show,” Andrew Wyatt, one of Cosby’s spokespeople, told the NNPA Newswire.
Cosby spoke mostly about his passion and support for education in the interview. He said he misses performing and that he hopes to resume his career. He stopped performing after he was charged in December 2015 with sexually assaulting Constand.
“I hope that day will come,” he told the outlet. “I have some routines and storytelling that I am working on. I think about walking out on stage somewhere in the United States of America and sitting down in a chair and giving the performance that will be the beginning of the next chapter of my career.”
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Cosby declined to discuss the current sexual assault case against him but Evin did not shy away from the topic in her essay.
“The public persecution of my dad, my kids’ grandfather, and the cruelty of the media and those who speak out branding my father a ‘rapist’ without ever knowing the truth and who shame our family and our friends for defending my dad makes all of this so much worse for my family and my children,” she wrote.
“Two years ago, and over 10 years later, several women came out,” she wrote. Like the woman from 2005, they claimed to have been raped and drugged. But, like the one from 2005, their stories didn’t match up. Instead of going through the criminal justice system, these stories never got investigated and just got repeated. They have been accepted as the truth. My dad tried to defend himself. His lawyers tried to defend him, but they all got sued.
“People were constantly reaching out to me about why doesn’t your dad say something,” she wrote. “I kept saying he’s trying, but the media is only interested in the stories of the women. Friends of ours tried to help, but the media wouldn’t print what they said or knew.”
Attorneys for Constand and seven other women with defamation lawsuits against Cosby could not immediately be reached for comment.
Evin referenced the January 1997 murder of her 28-year-old brother, Ennis.
“I thought when my brother Ennis was murdered, that was the worst nightmare of all time,” she wrote. “It’s so hurtful to this day. I try to block out the day he was killed, but that pain has only worsened in these last years. For some reason, my family’s pain has been a trigger for people to seize upon us harder.”