Bill Cosby has been found guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting ex-basketball player Andrea Constand, 45, at his Pennsylvania home in 2004, putting an end to any doubt anybody might have had about his guilt.
The 80-year old actor’s fall-from-grace is a done deal, so to speak.
The jury’s verdict came on Thursday, the second day of deliberations at the Montgomery Court House when he was pronounced guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Constand, who was a Temple University employee at the time.
While he faces a maximum of 10 years in jail for each of the three counts he’s been found guilty of, as well as a fine of up to $25,000, the quantum of punishment will be announced after the sentencing trial, which will happen within 90 days, until which time the octogenarian will remain out of jail.
Arguing in favor of revoking Cosby’s $1 million bail, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele reasoned with the judge that being a man of “unlimited wealth” there was a strong likelihood of Cosby fleeing the country on his private plane.
Cosby’s expletive-filled reaction was instantaneous and explosive. “He doesn’t have a plane, you asshole! I’m sick of it, you asshole!” he lashed out.
Judge Steven O’Neil turned down the bail cancellation citing Cosby’s age and medical condition.
“I am not going to simply lock him up,” he ruled, ordering Cosby to surrender his passport and stay confined in his home.
Cosby, who has been accused of dozens of sexual misdemeanours, spanning decades, sat back in his chair and stared down after the jury’s ‘guilty as charged’ verdict was announced, while Ms. Constand, who had silently watched the court proceedings until then, stood up and was hugged by supporters, including her lawyer.
“I truly hope that his long list of victims will now be able to find some kind of peace,” said Gloria Allred – the lawyer who represents a number of Cosby’s accusers, who stood behind her, arm around each other, as their lawyer spoke to reporters following the verdict.
Lili Bernard, who once appeared as a guest on the 1980s sitcom “The Cosby Show” is also one of Cosby’s accusers and was present in court on Tuesday when the verdict was read out.
Unlike Constand, Bernard couldn’t get a hold of her emotions and started sobbing uncontrollably, prompting court personnel to lead her out of the courtroom.
“I feel like my faith in humanity is restored,” a teary-eyed Bernard said outside the courthouse.
“We are very disappointed by the verdict,” said Tom Mesereau, Cosby’s lead attorney. “We don’t think Mr. Cosby’s guilty of anything, and the fight is not over.”
Speaking at a news conference, District Attorney Steele praised Constand for her bravery in the face of adversity, all these years, saying that the “most important person in this is Andrea Constand — 14 years later, it may be easy to forget that she was the first courageous person that stood up in public,” while Constand stood silently with folded hands.
“Her quiet courage and her actions through this have helped victims stand up,” the D.A. said. “I hope and I pray that our actions have shown that we will stand up with those victims.”
Janice Baker-Kinney, who said in her testimony that Cosby had given her Quaaludes before assaulting her sexually, told MSNBC after the verdict that she was “shaking with relief” and that she couldn’t stop sobbing.
According to the star witness for the defense, who had been a senior academic adviser at Temple University, Constand had told her in 2004 that there was money to be made by falsely accusing a known personality of sexual misconduct.
In a 2006 civil settlement, Cosby had paid $3.38 million to Constand, it was revealed at the start of the retrial.
Five other women, who were also, allegedly, drugged and sexually assaulted by Cosby, testified as witnesses for the prosecution.
“He preyed on Andrea Constand the same way he preyed on all those five women,” Assistant District Attorney Kristen Feden said.
The Thursday verdict was the culmination of a long drawn case that spanned 18 years, two trials and numerous investigations by law enforcement authorities.
The previous jury had failed to reach a verdict in June last year.
Some reactions to the verdict:
— Jackson Medcalf-Eichholz (@askboomer1949) April 27, 2018