Bill Cosby has been convicted of sexual assault
Montgomery County jurors deliberated for about 14 hours, beginning Wednesday, before handing down the verdict.
Cosby was convicted on three charges, each of which carries a prison sentence of three years: aggravated indecent assault: penetration with lack of consent; penetration while unconscious; and penetration after administrating an intoxicant.
Prosecutors alleged that he assaulted Constand, now 44, in his Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, mansion in January 2004. The defense countered that the sexual contact was consensual. Both sides presented 12 days of testimony and evidence to the seven-man, five-woman jury.
Cosby denies similar allegations from more than 60 women.
Prosecutors portrayed Cosby as a serial sexual predator who deceived people with his persona as “America’s Dad,” while his defense has said that women have fabricated their accounts.
It was the second time that a jury has deliberated Cosby’s fate. Last summer, another jury spent six days before they announced they were unable to come to a consensus. Judge Steven T. O’Neill ruled that they were hopelessly deadlocked and declared a mistrial.
It Started With a Joke
Three years ago, Cosby was in the midst of a career comeback of sorts: He was traveling the country on a comedy tour, exploring a new TV show with NBC and had a Netflix comedy special in the works.
Then on Oct. 16, 2014, comedian Hannibal Buress performed a comedy routine at a Philadelphia nightclub in which he called Cosby a rapist. Philadelphia Magazine posted a video clip and wrote about it on the magazine’s website the next day. The routine went viral on social media.
Barbara Bowman,who was one of a dozen “Jane Does” who came forward to support Constand in 2005 and told her story to PEOPLE magazine in November 2006, once again surfaced and did interviews with CNN and The Washington Post. Soon, other women began coming forward as well.
Within weeks, Cosby’s Netflix deal was on hold, his NBC show was killed, several future dates on his comedy tour were canceled and TVLand pulled re-runs of The Cosby Show.
In July 2015, Cosby’s deposition in the civil suit he settled against Constand in 2006, in which he admitted to giving women he wanted to have sex with Quaaludes, became public. Subsequently, Montgomery County prosecutors quietly went to Dolores Troiani, one of Constand’s attorneys, to see if she’d cooperate if they reopened her case.
Kevin Steele, who was the county’s First Assistant District Attorney at the time, came to Troiani’s office and said “they were going to reopen the investigation provided my client was willing to cooperate,” Troiani testified at a hearing on the case in February 2016. He asked “if my client had the stamina to do this again.”
Steele was running for District Attorney of Montgomery County that year and released a television ad criticizing his opponent, Bruce L. Castor, Jr., for deciding not to prosecute Cosby in 2005. Steele won the election — and on December 30, Cosby was arrested and charged with Constand’s alleged sexual assault.
On the trial’s first day, actress Keshia Knight Pulliam, who played his daughter Rudy on The Cosby Show was in court to support him, according to Andrew Wyatt, Cosby’s spokesman.
Pulliam has been vocal about her unwavering support of her TV dad. “It’s easy to be there for someone when things are good,” she said during a 2017 appearance on The Today Show. “I wanted to do what I would have wanted to receive.”