Bill Cosby’s fall from grace entered a new chapter on Thursday, April 26, when a Pennsylvania jury found him guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia mansion in 2004.
Cosby, 80, stared straight ahead as the verdict was read – guilty on all three counts of aggravated indecent assault, The Associated Press reported.
The verdict came after Cosby’s first trial ended with a hung jury. Each count carries a maximum sentence of up to ten years in prison.
Bill Cosby’s lawyer says “fight is not over” and plans to appeal after comedian convicted at sexual assault retrial. https://t.co/HFANKCFeqJ
— The Associated Press (@AP) April 26, 2018
Constand, former director of operations for Temple University’s women’s basketball team, told jurors that Cosby gave her three blue pills that left her unable to move. She said the comedian then penetrated her with his fingers as she lay immobilized.
“I wanted it to stop,” Constand, 45, testified. “I was weak. I was limp and I could not fight him off.”
Cosby claimed the encounter was consensual.
His lawyers argued that Constand was a “con artist” who framed the Hollywood star for money, according to the New York Daily News. Cosby’s legal team cited the $3.38 million settlement she received after filing a lawsuit against the star in 2005, as evidence that she was trying to shake him down.
United we stand… pic.twitter.com/Qbws2Te4Dm
— Andrea Constand (@dreconstand2017) April 26, 2018
The retrial lasted 12 days and included testimony from additional accusers, including former supermodel and reality star Janice Dickinson.
After the verdict was read and jurors left the courtroom, Cosby went on an expletive-laden tirade against District Attorney Kevin Steele, who argued that the star’s bail should be revoked because he has a private plane and might try to flee.
“He doesn’t have a plane, you asshole!” Cosby fired back at Steele. “I’m sick of him!”
The judge ruled that Cosby could remain free on $1 million bail while he awaits sentencing in the next couple of months. Meanwhile, Cosby’s lead attorney Thomas Mesereau said the comedian will appeal his conviction.
Following the verdict, prosecutor Steele described Cosby as “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,” the district attorney said.
NEW: Gloria Allred, attorney who represents dozens of Cosby accusers: “Justice has been done!” https://t.co/TSZBNSJeny pic.twitter.com/mlovabRG9W
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) April 26, 2018
Famed attorney Gloria Allred, who represents several of Cosby’s accusers, held a news conference on the stairs of the courthouse, which was carried live on cable news and on social media.
“Justice has been done!” Allred stated. “We are so happy that finally we can say women are believed.”
Once the epitome of Hollywood success, Cosby’s reputation is now in tatters.
A Philadelphia native and Temple University graduate, he launched a successful standup comedy career in the 1960s, and went on to star in such television hits as I Spy, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids and The Cosby Show.
As co-creator of The Cosby Show, which became a No. 1 hit for NBC and spawned the successful spinoff A Different World, Cosby opened doors for countless African-Americans in the entertainment industry.
But his public image began to suffer in 2004 after he took black parents to task during what became known as his “Pound Cake” speech.
During an NAACP Awards ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, Cosby called out single mothers, young black men who wear their pants down low and black parents who give their children ethnic-sounding names.
While some praised Cosby for keeping it real, others branded him a hypocrite.
The television icon’s image took several more hits in the months that followed.
In March 2005, Constand filed a civil complaint against the star alleging he had drugged and sexually assaulted her. In a court deposition from the case that was unsealed years later, Cosby admitted to giving Constand three half-pills of Benadryl.
Constand’s complaint claimed that 13 women came forward at the time with similar allegations: “Cosby gave them a drug and then had sexual contact with them while they were unable to respond.”
The case was settled for millions of dollars.
35 women speak about being assaulted by Bill Cosby, and the culture that wouldn’t listen: https://t.co/H5dss5F2F4 pic.twitter.com/RCF0BWBrxA
— New York Magazine (@NYMag) July 27, 2015
In the years that followed, Cosby’s star status seemed to protect him from public scrutiny, with the comedian inking new TV deals and continuing to perform sold-out comedy shows across the country for fans.
Then in October 2014, comedian Hannibal Buress called Cosby a “rapist” in a standup routine. A video of the bit went viral, prompting dozens of women to step forward with similar allegations that Cosby had drugged their drinks and assaulted them.
Cosby is the first big celebrity to be found guilty in the #MeToo era, with Thursday’s verdict completing his descent from Hollywood icon to convicted sex offender.