Cosby: GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY on three counts
Once iconic comedy and television star Bill Cosby has been found guilty by jury of sexually assaulting and drugging a woman at his home 14 years ago. Cosby was long considered a comedian who worked “clean” and was nicknamed “America’s Dad” in a comedy show that ran 8 seasons starting in 1984. It was considered an authentic family values show with a touchy feely feeling. But over the years dozens of women accused him of being too touch feely with them — making accusations to the one similar to the assault charge that brought him down.
The biggest underlying issue was whether the United State was still in an era where someone rich and powerful could have multiple accusations out there about him yet not suffer the consequences due to fame, wealth, and connection. Could a jury convict a celebrity beloved for the image he had successfully created for himself?
On the second day of its deliberations at the Montgomery County Courthouse in this town northwest of Philadelphia, the jury returned to convict Mr. Cosby of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand, at the time a Temple University employee he had mentored.
The three counts — penetration with lack of consent, penetration while unconscious and penetration after administering an intoxicant — are felonies, each punishable by up to 10 years in state prison, though the sentences could be served concurrently.
The Montgomery County district attorney, Kevin R. Steele, asked that Mr. Cosby’s $1 million bail be revoked, suggesting he had been convicted of a serious crime, owned a plane and could flee, prompting an angry outburst from Mr. Cosby, who shouted, “He doesn’t have a plane, you asshole.”
“Enough of that,” said Judge Steven T. O’Neill. He did not view Mr. Cosby as a flight risk, he said, adding that Mr. Cosby could be released on bail but authorities would continue to hold his passport and he would have to remain in his nearby home. The judge did not set a sentencing date.
Mr. Cosby sat back in his chair after the verdict was announced and quietly stared down. But several women who have accused Mr. Cosby of abusing them, and attended the trial each day, briefly cheered. Judge O’Neill praised the jurors, calling it “an extraordinarily difficult case” and adding, “You have sacrificed much, but you have sacrificed in the service of justice.
The first trial ended in a deadlock last year and the retrial began this month on April 9. Cosby is accused of sexually assaulting more than 60 women over the past 40 years, including Constand, but this was the lone criminal case.
The retrial was markedly different from the first trial in nearly every way in both substance and style. While the gender and racial makeup of the jury was the same (seven men and five women, two black and ten white) it skewed younger and was local as opposed to the last jury brought in from across the state.
This time Cosby faced six accusers in court, instead of two. Constand’s testimony was more detailed, more graphic, and filled in gaps left open during the first trial. The details of her civil suit settlement with Cosby in late 2006, in which she got $3.38 million, were part of the record for the first time.
At the first trial, the defense did not present witnesses. This time they successfully fought to include one that was barred from the last trial, Marguerite Jackson, and a slew of others.
But the biggest change in the ten months between the two trials was outside of the courtroom.
The #MeToo movement exploded in October 2017 when several and then dozens of women went public to say movie mogul Harvey Weinstein raped them. The public awakening of systematic and widespread sexual misconduct by men in power has since toppled more than 100 other men—but so far sent none of them behind bars.
So despite beginning three years before #MeToo, Cosby’s case is the first major conviction of the era. It remains unclear what impact the movement had on the verdict since the jurors were all screened for any bias.
Both sides in the case gave exhaustive, lengthy closing arguments that lasted all day Tuesday. Cosby’s defense team chose to blast the #MeToo movement comparing it to “witch hunts, lynchings and McCarthyism.” They also attacked each of the five women who testified they were drugged and sexually assaulted by Cosby before Constand. The prosecution turned the defense’s closing arguments that Constand is a “con artist” back on them, saying it’s Cosby who was the con artist and called out the defense for attacking the accusers.
One likely outcome: it will increase interest in allegations from women about alleged actions by President Donald Trump before he came into office.
Incredible scenes as women run weeping from the courtroom immediately after Cosby is found GUITLY, and tearfully embrace one another. pic.twitter.com/5GWThXycx9
— David Mack (@davidmackau) April 26, 2018
I'm glad that Cosby will be going to jail. But..
We could find Bill Cosby guilty but we can't do the same with Donald Trump despite 19 women coming out about his sexual assault?
— Carlos (@bIazingxmexican) April 26, 2018
It took decades for Bill Cosby’s accusers to receive justice. This is a message to any survivors out there still in the shadows, afraid of a system that protects elites & ridicules victims, keep fighting & when you’re ready to share your story, we’ll be ready to listen & fight.
— Simar (@sahluwal) April 26, 2018
— NBC News (@NBCNews) April 26, 2018
— The Onion (@TheOnion) April 26, 2018
— Ryan Knight (@ProudResister) April 26, 2018
Wonder if Trump will want to pardon Bill Cosby?
— Roland Scahill (@rolandscahill) April 26, 2018
This Bill Cosby verdict is a big deal.
A really big deal.
Women were sexually assaulted by this man and then dragged through the mud by his lawyers and a lot of the press.
I hope they are able to find some sliver of peace and healing today.??
— andy lassner (@andylassner) April 26, 2018