NORRISTOWN, United States (REUTERS) – Comedian Bill Cosby was convicted on Thursday (April 26) of drugging and sexually assaulting a onetime good friend in 2004, marking the primary such conviction of a celeb because the #MeToo motion that has introduced down wealthy and highly effective males for his or her treatment of girls.
Cosby, 80, greatest generally known as the lovable father from the 1980s TV hit The Cosby Show, faces as much as 10 years in jail for every of three counts of aggravated indecent assault in opposition to Andrea Constand, 45, following a three-week trial on the Montgomery County courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania.
After weeks of sustaining decorum through the trial, Cosby exploded following the decision when prosecutors requested the choose to take him into custody, saying he was a flight danger partly as a result of he owned a airplane.
“He doesn’t have a plane, you a*****e!” Cosby responded in a booming voice as he leapt to toes.
Moments earlier, as the decision was learn, Cosby appeared down with a tragic expression. Lili Bernard, one among his many accusers, started sobbing. Constand sat stone-faced.
Judge Steven O’Neill dominated that Cosby may stay out of jail on US$1 million (S$1.three million) bail pending sentencing at a later date, so long as he surrendered his passport and remained at home.
Cosby then left the courthouse together with his attorneys and publicist.
“The fight will go on,” defence lawyer Thomas Mesereau instructed reporters, insisting on Cosby’s innocence.
he conviction marks the downfall of a person as soon as celebrated as “America’s Dad” however whose repute was ruined after some 50 ladies accused him of comparable offenses going again a long time.
Only a type of circumstances was current sufficient to be eligible for prosecution, that of Constand, a former administrator for the ladies’s basketball staff at Temple University, Cosby’s alma mater.
Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents 33 of the Cosby accusers, rejoiced that Cosby was found “guilty, guilty, guilty.” “We are so happy that finally we can say, women are believed, and not only on #MeToo, but in a court of law,” Allred instructed reporters.
Other Cosby accusers celebrated the decision with hugs, cries, and applause.
“It’s a victory not just for the 62 of us who have come forward but for all survivors of sexual assault, female and male,” Bernard instructed reporters, utilizing a excessive estimate of the variety of Cosby’s accusers. “I feel like my faith in humanity is restored.”
The seven-man, five-woman jury reached a unanimous verdict after deliberating for 14 hours over two days.
Less than 12 months in the past, a unique jury was deadlocked after six days of deliberations on the identical fees, prompting the choose to declare a mistrial. Prosecutors determined to retry him.
Soon after the primary trial, a sequence of girls leveled sexual assault and harassment accusations in opposition to males in media, leisure and politics, giving rise to the #MeToo and #TimesUp actions that inspired ladies go public with private tales of abuse, in some circumstances after years of silence.
Like lots of Cosby’s different accusers, Constand mentioned she was drugged and violated whereas unable to defend herself.
Constand testified she went to Cosby’s home to debate a possible profession change when he gave her three blue drugs he mentioned would loosen up her.
She mentioned the drugs made her really feel woozy, and that Cosby walked her to a settee and laid her down.
“The next thing I recall, I was kind of jolted awake,” Constand mentioned from the witness stand. “My vagina was being penetrated quite forcefully. I felt my breasts being touched. He put my hand on his penis and masturbated himself with my hand. I was not able to do a thing.”
Cosby has mentioned any sexual encounters had been consensual, and his attorneys portrayed Constand as a “pathological liar” who falsely depicted their romantic relationship as an assault.
Five different ladies additionally testified to related treatment from Cosby, whose attorneys argued that the ladies had been fabricating tales in the hunt for wealth and fame.
Prosecutors countered that the true rip-off artist was Cosby, who hid behind his kindly TV persona to win the belief of girls he then drugged and sexually assaulted.
The prosecution case was bolstered by the 5 further accusers who had been allowed to testify. In the primary trial, O’Neill allowed just one accuser apart from Constand to take the witness stand.
Cosby had been a transcendent determine in present business, developing as a black comic through the civil rights motion of the 1960s. He received over white audiences with a clear routine that largely prevented the controversies of the day. He then started a profitable tv profession on the sequence I Spy, and later as a children’ favorite with the Saturday morning cartoon Fat Albert And The Cosby Kids.
His most well-known function got here as Dr Heathcliff Huxtable, the smart and witty father of an prosperous black household, on The Cosby Show from 1984 to 1992..