omedian Bill Cosby was convicted yesterday on all three counts of drugging and molesting a onetime friend in 2004 at his home, a decisive victory for prosecutors in one of the first celebrity sexual-assault trials of the #MeToo era.
Cosby, 80, best known as the lovable father from the 1980s TV hit “The Cosby Show,” faces up to 10 years in prison for each of the three counts of aggravated indecent assault of Andrea Constand, who is now 45.
Cosby looked down with a sad expression when the Pennsylvania jury’s verdict was read. Lily Bernard, one of his many accusers, began sobbing. Constand sat stone-faced. Outside the courtroom, two other Cosby accusers were seen hugging, crying and clapping.
District Attorney Kevin Steele asked the judge to have Cosby taken into custody immediately, saying he was a flight risk in part because he owned a plane. “He doesn’t have a plane, you asshole!” Cosby responded.
Cosby’s lawyer has said the “fight is not over” after the 80-year-old comedian’s conviction on sexual assault charges. Tom Mesereau spoke yesterday outside the suburban Philadelphia courthouse where a jury held. Mesereau said Cosby will appeal his conviction
A former administrator for the women’s basketball team at Temple University, Cosby’s alma mater, Constand is one of about 50 women who have accused him of sexual assault. All of the other allegations are believed to be too old to be prosecuted. Cosby has said any sexual encounters were consensual.
The unanimous decision by the seven-man, five-woman jury came less than a year after a different jury deadlocked in his first trial on the same charges, prompting the judge to declare a mistrial. Prosecutors decided to retry him.
The first trial ended just before a flood of sexual assault and harassment accusations against rich and powerful men in media, entertainment and politics gave rise to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.
Those high-profile revelations have encouraged women in all walks of life to go public with personal stories of abuse, in some cases after years of silence.