Actor, philanthropist Bill Cosby found guilty of sexual assault

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In the 1980s, Bill Cosby was considered the “All-American dad.” Now, he faces up to 30 years in prison.

Bill Cosby was found guilty on three counts of sexual assault Thursday, at Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa. The longtime actor and comedian was convicted of drugging and molesting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand in 2004. The incident took place at Cosby’s home in Philadelphia.

A jury that consisted of seven men and five women took 14 hours to decide on a verdict. Cosby will stay out of jail pending sentencing which is expected to happen within 60 to 90 days. Cosby’s lawyer, Tom Mesereau, told reporters that Cosby will appeal all three of the aggravated indecent assault convictions.

During the trial, the defense team claimed that Cosby was framed. They attempted to validate this claim when the defense put their top witness for Cosby on the stand.

Marguerite Jackson, an academic adviser at Temple University, told the court that Constand once told her that she could “get that money” if she claimed assault and filed a civil lawsuit, according to The Washington Post. Prosecutors challenged Jackson by saying she was not present on the trip where the comments allegedly took place and Constand denied the conversation ever happened.

In a deposition, Cosby admitted to administering quaaludes to women before intercourse. The popular 1970s drug also known as “disco biscuits,” is a depressant derived from the mandrake root that was believed to increase sexual virility and minimize sexual inhibitions.

In closing arguments, the prosecution called Cosby a serial predator, reported The Guardian.

Last year, Cosby was tried for drugging and assaulting Constand when she was unconscious; however, it ended in a mistrial last June. Cosby’s attorney called Constand a con-artist looking for a payday.

Cosby settled a civil lawsuit with Constand in the amount of $3.4 million in 2006, according to PBS News. The comedian admitted to giving Constand pills, but said that they were cold medicine. He also said the sex was consensual and that Constand never told him to stop.

Cosby, now 80 and legally blind, could get sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in jail for each of the three counts he was convicted.

#Metoo Movement Trial

The proceedings saw emotional highs in a trial that is connected to the current anti-sexual harassment and anti-assault campaign #Meetoo.

Frequent rallies and protests outside the courthouse persisted. In the final days of the trial, a nude protester jumped a barricade to get the comedian’s attention during the rape trial. The 39-year-old woman lunged at Cosby while claiming he had assaulted her. Nicolle Rochelle is a former Cosby Show actress and played a friend of Cosby’s fictional daughter on the television show when she was 12.

Rochelle later admitted that Cosby had never assaulted her but that she was protesting in his victims’ names, which she had painted on her naked torso when she tried to jump the comedian.

Before the re-trial began, the presiding judge, Steven T. O’Neill issued a statement about courtroom behavior:

“Persons attending the proceedings are not permitted to wear, possess, or display anything that would demonstrate support for, or opposition to, either side of the proceedings, or which could be interpreted as commenting upon matter related to the case.”

Lili Bernard, who has accused Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting her, leaves the podium after speaking to the media outside Cosby’s trial in Norristown, PA, Friday, June 16, 2017.

After the guilty verdict, Lili Bernard, an alleged victim who participated in protests said, “What this jury has shown … with MeToo Movement has been saying, is that women are worthy of being believed.”

A troubling history of abuse, manipulation and drugging

In total, Cosby is accused of drugging and raping around 60 women over several decades, 5 of which testified against Cosby during the trial.

When District Attorney Kevin Steele tried to revoke Cosby’s bail, Cosby snapped “He doesn’t have a plane, you asshole!” Cosby added that he was tired of Steele, saying “I’m sick of him.”

At a press conference following the verdict, the DA told reporters   that justice was served. “Today, we’re finally in a place to say that justice was done,” said Steele. He added that Cosby’s outburst was the real Cosby. “We now know who the real Bill Cosby is,” Steele said.

The district attorney also said that the trial had revealed that Cosby had “spent decades preying on women, drugging and sexually assaulting them, who evaded this moment for far too long and used his network of supporters to help him conceal his crimes,” according to USA Today.

Shortly after the announcement of his conviction, Bounce TV removed The Cosby Show from their television lineup. Bill Cosby has denied all accusations and is facing 30 years in prison.

Ark Republic reached out to Cosby’s legal team, but had not received any comments at press time.

Now, Cosby awaits sentencing.

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Niko Mann is a writer who likes to focus on breaking cannabis industry news, but also writes about cannabis legislation, comedy, education, marketing, politics, and social justice.

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