Bill Cosby found guilty on all counts of sexual assault trial

Bill Cosby found guilty on all counts of sexual assault trial

Frail and 80-year-old disgraced television star, Bill Cosby could now end up spending the rest of his life behind bars, after he was convicted Thursday of sexual assault by a US jury, which found him guilty of drugging and molesting a university employee 14 years ago in the first celebrity trial of the #MeToo era.

Bill Cosby was found guilty of assaulting Andrea Constand at his Philadelphia mansion in January 2004. It was gathered that Constand was in the court room in Norristown, just outside Philadelphia, as the verdict was read out to stifled sobs in the gallery. The jury had deliberated for more than 14 hours over two days.

The 80-year-old comedian faces up to 10 years in prison on each count, but Cosby is likely to serve them concurrently. A sentencing hearing with Judge Steven O’Neill has not yet been scheduled, and Cosby remains out on bail.

The verdict came a year after Cosby’s previous trial ended in a mistrial, as a different panel of jurors said they were deadlocked and could not unanimously agree on a verdict. This jury began deliberating Wednesday around 11 a.m., and worked for more than 14 hours over two days to reach the verdict.
At the retrial, five other Cosby accusers testified as “prior bad acts” witnesses and said that Cosby had drugged and assaulted them decades ago.
It was the first celebrity sexual assault trial since the #MeToo movement began last fall, and many saw it as a test of whether the cultural shift the movement has brought about would translate in court.

Mr. Cosby did not comment as he left the courthouse, but his lead lawyer, Thomas A. Mesereau Jr., said his client would appeal. “We are very disappointed by the verdict,” he said. “We don’t believe Mr. Cosby is guilty of anything.”

In recent years, Mr. Cosby, 80, had admitted to decades of philandering, and to giving quaaludes to women as part of an effort to have sex, smashing the image he had built as a moralizing public figure and the upstanding paterfamilias in the wildly popular 1980s and ’90s sitcom “The Cosby Show.” He did not testify in his own defense, avoiding a grilling about those admissions, but he and his lawyers have insisted that his encounter with Ms. Constand was part of a consensual affair, not an assault.

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