American actor and comedian, Bill Cosby was on Thursday, April 26, convicted by a Pennsylvania jury of drugging and molesting an acquaintance in 2004.
The jury announced its verdict after less than two days of deliberation. Cosby, 80, faces a possible maximum prison sentence of 15 to 30 years.
Cosby stood up and erupted after jurors left the courtroom, the Associated Press reported. He used an expletive to refer to district attorney Kevin Steele, who was arguing to revoke Cosby’s bail, and shouted: “I’m sick of him!”
The verdict came as vindication for dozens of women who have publicly accused Cosby of sexual abuse, harassment or attempted abuse.
A trial on the same charges last summer ended in a mistrial with a hung jury.
A request by prosecutors to revoke Cosby’s bail was denied. The court ordered Cosby to remain living in Montgomery county until his sentencing.
Cosby was convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a former basketball player who was 30 years old at the time of the alleged incident. Cosby said the two had a consensual relationship.
Five women in addition to Constand testified for the prosecution at the trial that Cosby had assaulted them. Cosby did not testify in his own defense.
The five women joined a news conference outside the courthouse with lawyer Gloria Allred, who represented many Cosby accusers.
“We are so happy that finally we can say, women are believed, and not only in a hashtag ‘#MeToo’, but also in a court of law,” Allred said. “After all is said and done, women were finally believed, and we thank the jury for that.”
But the defense team called into question the motives and characters of Cosby’s accusers, branding Constand a “pathological liar” and declaring of one supporting witness: “It sounds as though she slept with every single man on the planet.”
Cosby was convicted on three charges of aggravated indecent assault. The charges included: that he “did penetrate the genitals of the complainant with a part of his body without consent”; that he “did penetrate the genitals of the complainant with a part of his body while the complainant was unconscious”; and that he administered “drugs, intoxicants or other means for the purpose of preventing resistance”.
The verdict completes a dramatic downfall for one of America’s most popular and family-friendly entertainers, who now faces the prospect of spending the final years of his life in prison.
Cosby’s accusers have described alleged sexual assaults by him involving sedatives, taking place in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.