STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Bill Cosby found guilty of sexual assault

A jury has found Bill Cosby guilty on all three counts of sexual assault.

Posted: Apr 27, 2018 11:11 AM
Updated: Apr 27, 2018 11:13 AM

A jury found Bill Cosby guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault on Thursday, for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home in a Philadelphia suburb in 2004.

The 80-year-old comedian faces up to 10 years in prison on each count, but Cosby is likely to serve them concurrently. A sentencing hearing with Judge Steven O'Neill has not yet been scheduled, and Cosby remains out on bail.

Cosby did not audibly react to his conviction, but erupted shortly afterward. Minutes after the verdict, prosecutors asked the judge to revoke Cosby's bail. They said he is a flight risk and has a private plane.

Cosby, who did not testify in the trial and has sat quietly through the proceedings, stood up and yelled in a booming voice: "He doesn't have a plane, you asshole."

Judge O'Neill ruled that Cosby should not leave his home. Since Cosby has homes in multiple states, the judge noted that if he does arrange with the appropriate offices to stay in a home in another state he must first be fitted with a GPS tracking device before leaving.

The verdict came a year after Cosby's previous trial ended in a mistrial, as a different panel of jurors said they were deadlocked and could not unanimously agree on a verdict. This jury began deliberating Wednesday around 11 a.m., and worked for more than 14 hours over two days to reach the verdict.

At the retrial, five other Cosby accusers testified as "prior bad acts" witnesses and said that Cosby had drugged and assaulted them decades ago.

It was the first celebrity sexual assault trial since the #MeToo movement began last fall, and many saw it as a test of whether the cultural shift the movement has brought about would translate in court.

"What was revealed through this investigation was a man who had spent decades preying on women that he drugged and sexually assaulted, and a man who evaded this moment right here far too long," Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele told reporters. "He used his celebrity, he used his wealth, he used his network of supporters to help him conceal his crimes."

Cosby's attorney, Tom Mesereau, said he plans to appeal "very strongly."

"We are very disappointed by the verdict. We don't think Mr. Cosby's guilty of anything and the fight is not over," he said.

What the case was about

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 14 years ago.

The trial had the "he said, she said" dynamic that is common to sexual assault trials. Prosecutors had little forensic evidence and relied on the testimony of Constand. In addition, five other women testified that Cosby had drugged and then assaulted them decades ago as prosecutors sought to prove Cosby's actions toward Constand were part of a pattern.

Cosby's defense team launched aggressive attacks on Constand's credibility and said that their sexual interaction was consensual. Constand was a "con artist," they argued, who wanted a piece of Cosby's fortune.

In closing arguments, defense attorney Kathleen Bliss positioned Cosby's legal team as standing up against "witch hunts, lynchings (and) McCarthyism."

After the trial concluded, Constand left through a side door in the courtroom, walking into a hallway with her arms around two women and a huge smile on her face.

Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents many of the women who have accused Cosby of misconduct, said this was the happiest she had been with a verdict in 42 years.

"We are so happy that finally we can say, women are believed. And not only on #MeToo but in a court of law where they are under oath, where they testified truthfully, where they are attacked," Allred said. "After all is said and done, women were finally believed."

Universities revoke Cosby's honorary degrees after verdict

Hours after the verdict, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania announced it was revoking the honorary degree it awarded Cosby in 2007.

"Carnegie Mellon University has long had a clear and unwavering commitment: The university will not tolerate sexual violence, intimate partner violence, stalking or sexual harassment. These acts are against the law and violate our core values," the university said in a statement.

The University of Notre Dame in Indiana also said it was rescinding the honorary degree it awarded Cosby in 1990.

"While certainly troubled by serious, public accusations made by multiple women against him, the University elected to wait until due process had been afforded the accused, and a verdict delivered, before rescinding the honor," the Rev. John I. Jenkins, the university president said in a statement.

But Temple University, which Cosby attended and where he once held a position on the board of trustees, said the verdict "provides additional facts for the University to consider with respect to Bill Cosby's honorary degree." The university said it "respects" the jury's decision.

In 2014, Cosby resigned from Temple's board of trustees after holding a seat for 32 years.

How we got here

The guilty verdict is a remarkable turn of events for the man once known as "America's Dad." Cosby was a groundbreaking actor and the first African-American performer to win an Emmy for his role on "I Spy." He played the sweater-loving Cliff Huxtable on "The Cosby Show," one of the first mainstream TV shows to feature a black upper-middle class family.

Although dozens of women have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct, only Constand's allegations resulted in criminal charges.

"I feel like I'm dreaming," Lili Bernard, who has accused Cosby of assault, said afterward. "I feel like my faith in humanity is restored."

"Everybody got to see who he really is when each of those prior bad-act witnesses got to testify. The guy was an actor for a long time," Steele said Thursday.

Constand initially told police about the assault in 2005, a year after the assault occurred. Former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor at the time decided not to file charges in the case, and Constand and Cosby settled a civil lawsuit for $3.38 million in 2006.

But in late 2015, as a groundswell of women spoke out with accusations against Cosby, Steele, the new prosecutor in Montgomery County, filed charges.

In a statement, Castor congratulated Steele and county law enforcement on the victory.

"The masterful use of Cosby's incriminating civil deposition, plus the other witnesses who came forward and testified after unprecedented publicity, proved to be an unbeatable courtroom one-two combination in buttressing the victim," Castor said.

'She showed courage'

Steele said Constand was courageous in coming forward and enduring the trials.

The prosecutor said it was difficult to sit in the courtroom and witness "character assassinations" -- but the jury, he said, was on Constand's side in the end.

"I hope that people recognize that you got to show courage like his lady did," he said, pointing to Constand, who stood behind him.

"She showed courage," Steele said. "She stepped up. She went forward ... and we got to the right result. And she stayed through this."

Steele said he hopes other victims "understand that and see that courage."

'These jurors didn't get it right'

Cosby was in good spirits Thursday evening after the guilty verdict, and was spending time with his wife, Andrew Wyatt, the comedian's spokesman, told CNN.

"Mr. Cosby's spirits are up -- they're high. Just because he has been found guilty -- when you know you're not guilty -- he's not gonna act guilty," Wyatt said outside Cosby's suburban Philadelphia home. "He knows he's not guilty."

Those around Cosby, including his wife Camille, were "disappointed" with the verdict, Wyatt said.

"We're all shocked," Wyatt said. "These jurors didn't get it right. All of the evidence that was presented -- they ignored it."

Terre Haute
Broken Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 83°
Robinson
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 76°
Indianapolis
Scattered Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 75°
Rockville
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 71°
Casey
Few Clouds
74° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 74°
Brazil
Broken Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 83°
Marshall
Broken Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 83°
Storms Possible
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 150554

Reported Deaths: 7309
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook934964664
Lake10104427
DuPage9454480
Kane7949280
Will7061322
Winnebago3131101
McHenry2179100
St. Clair2089143
Kankakee133565
Unassigned1170210
Rock Island109430
Madison107770
Kendall101122
Champaign99217
Boone62321
DeKalb59520
Peoria58329
Sangamon47333
Jackson34319
McLean29214
Randolph2917
Stephenson2806
Ogle2794
Clinton24417
Macon24122
LaSalle23717
Whiteside19915
Union19519
Grundy1855
Coles18417
Iroquois1685
Tazewell1588
Knox1490
Warren1470
Monroe14113
Adams1391
Cass1367
Williamson1344
Morgan1323
Jefferson11117
Lee1042
McDonough10415
Henry1031
Vermilion822
Pulaski790
Marion730
Macoupin613
Montgomery591
Perry591
Douglas540
Livingston532
Jo Daviess491
Christian474
Jasper477
Ford411
Woodford392
Jersey371
Franklin360
Bureau312
Menard260
Mercer250
Washington250
Cumberland240
Fayette243
Mason230
Wabash230
Alexander220
Carroll212
Johnson210
Piatt200
Effingham191
Hancock191
Moultrie190
Shelby191
Clark180
Crawford180
Logan180
Bond171
De Witt160
Edgar160
Fulton160
Massac150
Wayne151
Schuyler130
Marshall120
Brown100
Saline100
White90
Greene80
Henderson80
Lawrence80
Richland70
Hamilton60
Stark60
Pike50
Gallatin40
Clay20
Edwards20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Out of IL10
Pope10
Putnam10
Scott10

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 49063

Reported Deaths: 2732
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11760689
Lake5276246
Elkhart340255
Allen2835133
St. Joseph200169
Cass16429
Hamilton1608101
Hendricks1425100
Johnson1296118
Porter76738
Tippecanoe7359
Clark66844
Madison66764
Bartholomew59145
Vanderburgh5876
LaPorte58326
Howard58058
Kosciusko5624
Marshall5016
Noble48528
LaGrange4779
Jackson4733
Boone45443
Delaware45252
Hancock45236
Shelby43125
Floyd38444
Morgan32731
Monroe30928
Montgomery29720
Grant29626
Clinton2902
Dubois2886
Henry28216
White26610
Decatur25432
Lawrence24825
Dearborn23823
Vigo2388
Warrick22729
Harrison21622
Greene19032
Miami1862
Jennings17712
Putnam1708
DeKalb1634
Scott1628
Daviess14817
Wayne1436
Orange13623
Perry1359
Steuben1302
Franklin1268
Ripley1247
Jasper1232
Wabash1142
Carroll1102
Fayette1037
Newton9910
Gibson982
Whitley975
Starke943
Randolph804
Huntington782
Jefferson762
Wells751
Fulton721
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Owen501
Adams491
Benton480
Posey450
Sullivan451
Spencer441
Brown421
Blackford392
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton311
Switzerland280
Parke240
Martin220
Ohio180
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193