The jury in Bill Cosby’s indecent assault trial found the comedian guilty Thursday of all three counts.
Cosby was convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in a Philadelphia suburb in 2004. The 80-year-old former comedian faces up to 10 years in prison on each count, but would likely serve them concurrently.
The panel began deliberating Wednesday around 11 a.m., and worked for more than 14 hours over two days to reach the verdict.
The case against Cosby centered on testimony from Constand, a former employee with Temple University women’s basketball team. She testified that Cosby, a powerful trustee at Temple, drugged her and sexually assaulted her when she visited his home to ask for career advice.
Cosby’s defense team argued that their interaction was consensual. Constand is a con artist, they argued, who wanted a piece of Cosby’s fortune.
The case is the first celebrity sexual assault trial since the #MeToo movement began last fall, and as such, it represents a test of how the cultural movement will translate into a courtroom arena. In closing arguments, defense attorney Kathleen Bliss positioned Cosby’s legal team as standing up against “witch hunts, lynchings (and) McCarthyism.”
The guilty verdict is a remarkable turn of events for the man once known as “America’s Dad.” Cosby was a groundbreaking actor and the first African-American performer to win an Emmy for his role on “I Spy.” His portrayal of the sweater-loving Cliff Huxtable on “The Cosby Show” was one of the first mainstream TV shows to feature a black upper-middle class family.
Previous trial ended in a hung jury
Although dozens of women have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct, only Constand’s allegations resulted in criminal charges.
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. Prosecutors said these women’s stories showed that Cosby had a pattern in his actions and did not make a one-time mistake in his interactions with Constand.