A Montgomery County jury has found Bill Cosby guilty of the only criminal charges to emerge from a career-ending scandal fueled by dozens of women who accused the entertainer once known as “America’s Dad” of sexual assault.
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.
Victims of Cosby sitting in the Norristown, PA, courtroom shrieked and cried in delight after the first verdict was announced.
The comic sat forward on the edge of his chair, showing little emotion. But when Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele began addressing bail, Cosby became animated.
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.”
Although dozens of women have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct, only Constand’s allegations resulted in criminal charges.
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