Closing The Gap

Meet Kristen Gibbons Feden, the 35-year-old prosecutor who took down Bill Cosby

Kristen Gibbons Feden
Pool | Getty Images
Kristen Gibbons Feden

On April 26, Bill Cosby was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand.

The verdict was the first legal victory of the #MeToo movement, considered by many to be a watershed moment for survivors of sexual assault, and the woman responsible was 35-year-old prosecutor Kristen Gibbons Feden.

Feden, who worked on many sex crime trials as an assistant district attorney in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, delivered a closing argument that The New York Times argues would have become a "viral moment" had cameras been permitted in the courtroom.

Prosecutor Kristen Gibbons Feden
Photo courtesy of Getty
Prosecutor Kristen Gibbons Feden

Looking at 80-year-old Cosby from across the courtroom, Feden called the entertainer a "con artist" and shamed his lawyer, Kathleen Bliss, for her characterizations of the women testifying against Cosby as fame-seeking, promiscuous party girls.

"I'm a very loud person, and I don't like seeing people get picked on," Feden told The New York Times. "I'm also a very emotional person. That can be a flaw, but it can also be used as a tool."

Feden grew up in Willingboro, New Jersey, and attended law school at Temple University after working for two years as a financial analyst at Bloomberg in New York. While at Temple, she was a member of the Temple National Trial team and an editor for the Temple Political and Civil Rights Law Review.

After graduating in 2009, Feden started her legal career as a clerk for Hon. Garrett D. Page, a Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas judge. In 2012, she joined the office of the Montgomery County district attorney, where she focused on sex crimes and elder abuse cases.

It was in this role that she was assigned to work with District Attorney Kevin R. Steele on the case, which alleged that Cosby had sexually assaulted Constand in his home in 2004.

The case first went to trial in June 2017. Feden delivered the opening statement, and the trial ended with a deadlocked jury and a mistrial. Three months later, Feden left the district attorney's office to join Philadelphia law firm Stradley Ronon, but took a leave from the firm to serve as a prosecutor in Cosby's retrial. Bill Sasso, chairman of the law firm, says he recruited Feden after she was featured on Philadelphia Business Journal's "40 Under 40" list.

Comedian/actor Bill Cosby arrives at Montgomery County Courthouse on July 7, 2016 in Norristown, Pennsylvania
Gilbert Carrasquillo | Getty Images
Comedian/actor Bill Cosby arrives at Montgomery County Courthouse on July 7, 2016 in Norristown, Pennsylvania

Cosby's case is Feden's most notable one to date, and she says she hopes people who have followed the trial will understand that "as much as people like to judge and blame the victims, the victim is already judging and blaming herself."

After the mistrial in 2017, Feden says was determined to do all she could to ensure a guilt verdict at Cosby's retrial. She tells The New York Times that as she prepared to deliver her closing argument, she went back and made additional notes to her original statement after hearing Bliss speak.

"What I tried to do was contrast her character assassination with these very humane, very human emotions that had been flowing from the witness box," she said.

After Thursday's verdict, District Attorney Steele credited Feden with helping the jury reach its final decision.

"She was adamant, adamant about what to do," he said.

The morning after the verdict was announced, Constand took to Twitter to thank Feden and everyone else who worked tirelessly to bring Cosby to justice.

Feden, who is the mother of two boys and married to attorney Nicholas Feden, will return to Stradley Ronan after Cosby's official sentencing.

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