Bill Cosby found guilty in retrial on aggravated indecent assault charges
Matt Rourke-Pool/Getty Images(NORRISTOWN, PA) — Comic and entertainer Bill Cosby has been found guilty on all three counts in his retrial on charges of aggravated indecent assault, stemming from a non-consensual sexual encounter 14 years ago.
The jury of seven men and five women in Norristown, Pennsylvania delivered the verdict during their second day of deliberations that began late Wednesday morning, following a two-week trial.
Eighty-year-old Cosby faced three counts of aggravated indecent assault for the alleged 2004 drugging and molesting Andrea Costand, the former director of operations for the women’s basketball team at Temple University, where for years Cosby was a trustee and major financial donor.
Cosby faces up to 10 years in prison for each count.
Cosby lowered his head and took a deep breath when the verdicts were announced, while three of his accusers who attended the trial burst into loud tears of joy. Constand remained stoic as the verdicts were read, and only later embraced supporters and the other accusers in the same court where nearly one year ago, a mistrial was declared during Cosby’s trial on the same charges after jurors weren’t able to reach a unanimous verdict. Then as now, Cosby pleaded not guilty and has repeatedly denied allegations of wrongdoing.
Cosby did become clearly angry as District Attorney Kevin Steele insisted that Cosby’s bail be raised from the current $1 million. Steele told the judge he wanted the bail increased because Cosby was a flight risk, at which point Cosby yelled at Steele, “He doesn’t have a plane you a**hole!”
Cosby remains free on his current bail, with instructions not to leave the country.
Of dozens of women who have come forward in recent years to accuse the entertainer of similar assaults stretching back to the 1960s, only Constand’s allegations fall within the statute of limitations.
Prosecution arguments in the trial portrayed Cosby as a calculating predator, while the defense presented him as the victim of a multimillion-dollar frame-up.
The primary difference between Cosby’s first trial and his second was that at last summer’s trial the judge in the case, O’Neill, allowed only one additional accuser to testify and support Constand’s account, based on the prosecution’s argument that it needed to show a common scheme or pattern to Cosby’s alleged assault of Constand. This time around, the judge allowed five such women to take the stand.
Another new element in this year’s trial was O’Neill’s decision to allow the testimony of Marguerite “Margo” Jackson, a former colleague of Constand’s at Temple, who testified that Constand once mused about framing a celebrity. The judge had rejected her testimony in the first trial as hearsay. Constand has denied Jackson’s claims.
The prosecution also revealed for the first time, with Cosby’s permission, that he’d paid Constand $3.38 million to settle the sexual assault lawsuit she brought against him in 2005.
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