By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – The redundant lesson of the day is: money and fame aren’t everything.

Just ask Bill Cosby, the iconic comedian and TV star who is under pop culture assault over eight-year-old allegations that he drugged and raped a woman and also assaulted others.

Cosby, who has never been charged criminally, settled a civil case out of court eight years ago with a woman whose lawsuit threatened to surface other allegations. One of those other women has written an article for the Washington Post claiming she was abused by Cosby 30 years ago.

Toss in an explosion of online outrage and you have all the makings of a modern-day bonfire with the 77-year-old Cosby’s reputation and commercial viability at risk.

I can’t think of too many violent crimes more abhorrent than rape. And if Cosby committed those crimes, his stature as a frequent social critic of lawless behavior would add a repulsive layer of hypocrisy to the mix.

But the key word here is “if.”

Cosby’s lawyer said Sunday his client’s refusal to discuss all this is due to the fact that the charges have been “discredited.” The fact that they are being widely repeated, says the lawyer, “does not make them true.”

He has a point.

If there’s a shred of evidence to bolster the case against Cosby, by all means let’s see it and have justice done. If there isn’t, then speculation about Cosby’s integrity should be balanced by questions about the motives of those now repeating serious charges without further substantiation.

A Globe columnist wrote the other day that “it seems the court of public opinion has already decided its case against” Cosby.

If that’s true, it smells more like lynching than justice.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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Jon Keller