Bill Cosby Found Guilty Of Sexual Assault & Faces Up To 30 Years In Prison
Moments ago in Norristown, Pennsylvania this afternoon (April 26), actor, comedian, and media mogul Bill Cosby was convicted on all counts of aggravated indecent assault. The 80-year-old creator of The Cosby Show was found guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in his Cheltenham, Pennsylvania home in 2004. Cosby faces 10 years per each of the three counts, which may run concurrently. Given his age, it is possible that Cosby will spend his final days behind bars. Meanwhile, sentencing is still upcoming.
In 2004, Constand was a Temple University Women’s Basketball employee who was introduced to the TV legend once revered as “America’s Dad,” and reportedly met with him for counseling. In a deposition Cosby gave over a decade ago as part of the now 43 year-old Constand’s lawsuit, the actor admitted that he had obtained quaaludes to give to women he wanted to have sex with, “the same as a person would say, ‘Have a drink.’” The sedative has been illegal for more than 30 years. That deposition was unsealed, with Constand’s permission, prompting dozens of other women to come forward with similar accounts of Cosby assaulting them.
According to TIME, “Cosby listened to the verdict stoically, but moments later lashed out loudly at District Attorney Kevin Steele and called him an ‘a–hole’ after the prosecutor asked that Cosby be immediately jailed because he might flee. The judge decided Cosby can remain free on bail while he awaits sentencing.”
This landmark case is the first celebrity conviction in the wake of the #MeToo Movement started 12 years ago by Tarana Burke. Other public figures who have been accused of offenses ranging from sexual assault to rape include producer Harvey Weinstein, actor Kevin Spacey, TV host Matt Lauer, former US Senator Al Franken, film director Mark Ratner, and Def Jam Records/Phat Farm co-founder Russell Simmons.
The verdict in Bill Cosby’s previous trial ended in a mistrial. According to CNN, at the second trial, five additional Cosby accusers testified that Cosby had drugged and sexually assaulted them decades ago. Jurors (seven men and five women) did not accept Cosby’s defense team’s (led by Michael Jackson lawyer Tom Mesereau) assertion that Andrea Constand was seeking financial compensation for their relationship, which was consensual.
More than 60 women have made similar accusations against Bill Cosby.