Today in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Bill Cosby was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home in a Philadelphia suburb in 2004. Cosby now faces up to 30 years in prison, 10 years for each count and is likely to serve them concurrently. District Attorney Kevin Steele argued that Cosby should be taken directly into custody as he has access to a private jet that can fly him anywhere but the judge declined. Cosby is out on bail until a sentence hearing is scheduled.
This verdict comes after a two week trial with over 25 witnesses — many of which were women who accused Cosby of drugging and raping them. Many cried on stand while recounting their experiences with Cosby attacking them while they were in a drug-induced stupor. Other witnesses included people who attempted to discredit Andrea Constand by detailing instances of supposed deceit or sexual affairs.
Last June, Cosby faced similar sexual assault charged but the jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict after 52 hours of deliberation and the judge filed a mistrial.
Lawyer Gloria Allred standing with Cosby accusers after guilty verdict read. She says she’s “the happiest I have been.” pic.twitter.com/C4QQBWNc8z
— Bobby Allyn (@BobbyAllyn) April 26, 2018
“When you look at this and look at what Andrea [Constand] has done to stand up and declare what has happened…her actions to help victims stand up and tell what has happened to them…I hope that our actions have shown that people stand up with those victims and all women who are out there standing up …we support them, encourage them to keep it up,” Steele said.
“You remember, don’t you, Mr. Cosby?” said accuser Chelan Lasha from the stand, making eye contact with Cosby, who remained largely impassive throughout the trial.
“I want to see a serial rapist convicted,” said accuser, Heidi Thomas.
Constand is the only victim of Cosby’s crimes that has taken to criminal court. And she recounted on the stand that she did so “for justice.”
She faced intense questioning from both sides, but especially from Mesereau during cross-examination. They attempted to shake her creditability asking why she stayed in touch with Cosby after the January, 2004 incident. “I wanted to know what pills he gave to me, and why he did that to me,” Constand said. “He stumbled on his words. He said, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ He said, ‘I thought you had an orgasm,’ and I had not. He would not answer my questions.” Constand told the court that she “jolted awake” during that night to the feeling of Cosby’s fingers in her vagina as she lay unconscious on a couch in his home.
A couple of months later she reached out to Cosby for answers to questions she had. That resulted in a $3.4 million civil settlement which was previously confidential.
Many have defined the Cosby retrial as a testament to the #MeToo movement which has given sexual assault survivors empowerment to speak up against the abuse they have experienced.