THE CHALLENGE – HIGH PROFILE LITIGATION PUBLICITY
Bill Cosby, often referred to as “America’s Dad” in pop culture, was convicted of three counts of aggravated indecent assault. It shocked the nation, but the conviction had a massive effect on the Philadelphia region where Cosby was revered as a hometown hero. Furia Rubel’s client, Stewart Ryan was a crucial part of the prosecution team in the conviction of Bill Cosby on charges of sexual assault. Ryan was the only Assistant District Attorney to remain with the Montgomery County prosecutor’s office from the time of Cosby’s arrest through his conviction. Armed with this legal acumen and an abiding compassion for survivors, Ryan successfully prosecuted this historic sexual assault case. He was later commended by the Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele for “his legal acumen, courtroom skills, commitment to seeking justice for all sexual assault victims and outstanding leadership.” Just prior to the sentencing, Ryan reached out to Furia Rubel for high profile litigation publicity support.
Ryan had previously been barred from speaking to the media. His main objective was to position himself as a thought leader on the Bill Cosby case and sexual assault cases in order to support his civil law practice. The agency achieved this goal through extensive research, targeted media pitching, and monitoring of the reporters who were covering the story and what they needed from their sources during the peak of the news cycle. With focus and tenacity, the agency was able to provide strategic counsel and high profile litigation publicity to our client and provide ROI on his main objective.
With only two days to prepare, Furia Rubel’s PR team assembled Ryan’s biography to send to the media, as well as, extensive media research to ensure that the information was sent to the right people at outlets. It included national outlets like Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, ABC News and more. Additionally, it included local Philadelphia regional publications including The Philadelphia Inquirer, KYW Newsradio, Times Herald, and others. Furia Rubel helped Ryan prepare a high profile litigation publicity media advisory for his firm’s use on its website and talking points that he could refer to in preparation for media interviews. We began reaching out to media contacts the weekend before the sentencing hearing to ensure that outlets knew about Ryan’s availability for interviews.
THE DELIVERABLES – HIGH PROFILE LITIGATION PUBLICITY
The sentencing hearing began at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, September 24 in Norristown, Pa. Every Philadelphia news station was focused on Cosby and national outlets covered the hearing in conjunction with the other big story that week – sexual assault allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh and the upcoming testimony from his first accuser. Reporters were camped out at the courthouse, waiting for any sight of Cosby or news from inside the courtroom. The Furia Rubel team monitored social media to determine who was at the courthouse and ensured that those reporters had Ryan’s information. It was a collaborative effort, with Ryan providing updates as the day went on, and vice versa. Most of the coverage about Ryan on Monday related to the ruling that Cosby is a sexually violent predator. Ryan provided the information about that designation to Cosby in the courtroom.
On Tuesday, the sentencing was handed down and Ryan was free to speak with the media after a press conference with Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele. Furia Rubel quickly updated a media advisory for the use of his firm’s marketing department with the pertinent information and continued to monitor media requests.
Locally, the Associated Press, The New York Times, The Legal Intelligencer, 6ABC, and NBC10 interviewed Ryan. Furia Rubel also arranged his Wednesday appearance on Good Morning America (GMA). Ryan appeared on a panel with Gloria Allred, a feminist attorney who represents dozens of Cosby’s other victims and Lise-Lotte Lublin, a Cosby survivor to discuss the sentencing with GMA anchor George Stephanopoulos. Another important opportunity Ryan had after the Cosby sentencing was from The Philadelphia Inquirer. He was invited to the Inquirer’s newsroom to watch Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony regarding sexual assault allegations with other local experts including Carol Tracy, executive director of the Women’s Law Project; Robin Fierstein, licensed psychologist who specializes in trauma; and Mary Onama, executive director of the Victim Services Agency in Montgomery County. This commentary positioned Ryan as a thought leader in Philadelphia for topics related to sexual assault and victim advocacy.
Ryan continues to receive media interview requests which have resulted in additional national and local publicity. A full recap of the publicity can be found on Furia Rubel’s spotlight on high profile litigation publicity.