Bill Cosby has been found guilty of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand in 2004. On Thursday, a Pennsylvania jury returned a verdict after 14 hours of deliberation and held him responsible for rape on all three counts brought by prosecutors.
The development comes in the retrial of Cosby, once the nation’s most popular entertainer with the highest-rated series on television before a downfall triggered when several dozen women came forward to accuse him of being a serial rapist.
After the gulty verdict was read and jurors left the courtroom, Cosby launched an expletive-ridden tirade and called the District Attorney Kevin Steele an “asshole.” As Steele argued to revoke bail, Cosby stood up and shouted, “I’m sick of him!”
Last summer, in the first case, a different jury deadlocked and the court ultimately ruled the matter a mistrial. The underlying facts of the case remain the same. Costand, then 31, who worked in the Temple University athletic department, says Cosby became her mentor, and then one night while she was struggling to make a decision over the direction of her career, she went to Cosby’s residence and was given a glass of wine and pills. Costand recalled her vision becoming blurred, having difficulty speaking and having her legs become rubbery. She was led to lie down on a couch and says that Cosby’s hands were all over her and that he penetrated her.
Constand would later report the incident to law enforcement, who decided not to move forward with a prosecution. Afterwards, she would file a lawsuit, which would settle.
For about a decade afterwards, the allegations against Cosby receded into the background and he enjoyed his position as one of the nation’s most influential African-American ever.
But after another comedian named Hannibal Buress spoke of Cosby as a rapist at a show, it ignited a furor and then about 60 women came forward to share similar stories of being drugged and raped.
The second trial was different from the first in that this jury got a taste of the wide-ranging allegations circling Cosby.
Five women who accuse Cosby of drugging and assaulting them were allowed to testify as “prior bad acts” witnesses in an effort for prosecutors to prove the behavior was a pattern. Last time, only one of the women was allowed to take the stand.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) April 26, 2018
Also new was testimony from Constand’s former Temple University colleague who claims the accuser privately admitted to framing Cosby in order to cash in — and a revelation that Cosby paid Constand nearly $3.4 million in 2006 to settle her civil claims.
The comedian did not take the stand during the trial, which saw testimony from more than two dozen witnesses. Cosby attempted to convince the jury he was out of town on the night of the incident, but the jury didn’t buy the story.
Each of the three counts carries a prison term of up to 10 years, although the judge could impose the sentencing time concurrently.
There will likely be an appeal that is grounded upon Cosby’s repeated assertions that his due process rights were violated.