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Friday, 27 April 2018

Bill Cosby found guilty on all charges in Andrea Constand sex assault retrial

Bill Cosby was convicted Thursday of drugging and molesting a woman in the first big celebrity trial of the #MeToo era, completing the spectacular late-life downfall of a comedian who broke racial barriers in Hollywood on his way to TV superstardom as America's Dad.

Cosby, 80, could end up spending his final years in prison after a jury concluded he sexually violated Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia mansion in 2004. He claimed the encounter was consensual.

Cosby stared straight ahead as the verdict was read but moments later lashed out loudly at District Attorney Kevin Steele after the prosecutor demanded the former TV star be sent immediately to jail. Steele told the judge Cosby has a plane and might flee.

"He doesn't have a plane, you a--hole!" Cosby shouted at Steele. "I'm sick of him!"

The judge decided Cosby can remain free on $1 million bail while he awaits sentencing but restricted him to Montgomery County, where his home is. No sentencing date was set.
Cosby waved to the crowd outside the courthouse, got into an SUV and left without saying anything. His lawyer Tom Mesereau declared "the fight is not over" and said he will appeal.
  The jury    of seven men and five women reached a verdict after deliberating 14 hours over two days.


The verdict came after a two-week retrial in which prosecutors had more courtroom weapons at their disposal than they did the first time: They put five other women on the stand who testified that Cosby, married for 54 years, drugged and violated them, too.
At Cosby's first trial, which ended in a deadlocked jury less than a year ago, only one additional accuser was allowed to testify.

After the verdict, the district attorney became teary-eyed as he commended Constand for what he said was courage in coming forward. He said Cosby "was a man who had evaded this moment for far too long."

"He used his celebrity, he used his wealth, he used his network of supporters to help him conceal his crimes," Steele said. "Now, we really know today who was really behind that act, who the real Bill Cosby was."

Cosby could get up to 10 years in prison on each of the three counts of aggravated indecent assault. He is likely to get less than that under state sentencing guidelines, but given his age, even a modest term could mean he will die behind bars.

Constand, 45, a former Temple women's basketball administrator, told jurors that Cosby knocked her out with three blue pills he called "your friends" and then penetrated her with his fingers as she lay immobilized, unable to resist or say no.
it was the only criminal case to arise from a barrage of allegations from more than 60 women who said the former TV star drugged and molested them over a span of five decades. The onslaught all but destroyed his career and his good-guy image as wisdom-dispensing, sweater-wearing Dr. Cliff Huxtable on "The Cosby Show."

The business fallout from the verdict was almost immediate: Bounce, a TV network that caters to black viewers, announced it would drop reruns of "The Cosby Show."

Cosby's retrial took place against the backdrop of #MeToo, the movement against sexual misconduct that has taken down powerful men in rapid succession, among them Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey and Sen. Al Franken.

During closing arguments, Cosby's lawyers slammed #MeToo, calling Cosby its victim and likening it to a witch hunt or a lynching.

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