Bill Cosby Found Guilty in Sexual Assault Retrial
A jury ruled against Bill Cosby in his sexual assault retrial on Thursday, finding him guilty for aggravated indecent assault in all three counts brought against him by Andrea Constand.
Distsrict Attorney Kevin Steele asked Judge Steven O’Neill to revoke bail, saying that Cosby had his own plane and could flee, promptly an outburst from Cosby: “He doesn’t have his own plane, you a–hole!”
O”Neill admonished the entertainer, but did not revoke bail.
The jury’s announcement – delivered in a hushed courtroom at 1:45 p.m. – marked the stunning end to the first celebrity trial in the heated atmosphere of the #MeToo movement. The panel of seven men and five women, including two African-Americans, began deliberating on the case on Wednesday morning, and announced the verdict on the 14th day of the retrial
Cosby, who was once known as “America’s Dad” for his role as the lovable Cliff Huxtable on “The Cosby Show,” was found guilty of all three counts of aggravated indecent assault. Each count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
The charges were first brought to trial last June, but the jury ended in a deadlock on all charges after more than 50 hours of deliberations.
The 80-year-old entertainer was accused by Constand, the former operations manager of the women’s basketball team at Temple University, of drugging and molesting her in January 2004. Constand said she became close with Cosby, who was a major supporter of the university, and viewed him as a mentor. She alleged that he abused her trust, however, when he invited her to his home in Montgomery County and offered her three blue pills to help her relax.
She testified that she took the pills because she trusted Cosby and believed they were some kind of an herbal relaxant, and soon became incapacitated. Then, she said, she felt his fingers inside of her, but “couldn’t fight him off.”
Late Wednesday, jurors asked for a re-reading of Cosby’s deposition in the civil lawsuit brought against him by Constand, who received a settlement of nearly $3.4 million.
In the deposition, Cosby describes the moves he put on Constand on the night in question. Cosby also acknowledged that many years before, he used to give quaaludes to women he wanted to have sex with.
The jury also asked to re-hear the testimony of key defense witness Marguerite Jackson, who testified that Constand told her in February 2004 that she could make up a claim that she had been sexually assaulted by a well-known person in order to get a financial settlement.
The latest trial became marked by heated debates between the prosecution and the defense, punctuated by emotional testimonies from more than two dozen witnesses. Cosby did not take the stand.
Cosby has been accused of sexual assault by dozens of women in the past few years, but Constand’s allegations are the only ones that became the subject of a criminal case. The charges against Cosby were filed on Dec. 30, 2015 – just days before the 12-year statute of limitations was due to expire.
The once-revered entertainer is the only major celebrity to face a jury amid the growing cultural awareness of the problem of sexual assault. In less than a year, dozens of rich and powerful men have been accused of sexual harassment or assault as more women have decided to publicly address the issue.
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