Bill Cosby convicted of sexual assault

By Danielle Haynes Follow @DanielleHaynes1 Contact the Author   |  Updated April 26, 2018 at 3:39 PM
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April 26 (UPI) -- A Pennsylvania jury found actor Bill Cosby guilty on charges he drugged and sexually assaulted a woman in 2004.

The jury convicted him on all three counts of aggregated indecent assault after 14 hours of deliberation.

Andrea Constand, the former women's basketball team manager at Cosby's alma mater, Temple University, said the actor gave her pills to help her relax while the two were alone at her Elkins Park, Pa., house. She said she became drowsy and unable to move, at which point Cosby touched her and forced her to touch him inappropriately.

Cosby, 80, faces up to 10 years in prison for each count, each of which could be served concurrently.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele praised his prosecution team, as well as the jury for its verdict.

"Money and power or who you are will not stop us from a criminal investigation or prosecuting a criminal case," he said.

Steele said Constand showed "quiet courage" in her pursuit of justice against Cosby.

"Her courage, her resilience in the face of horrible and unfounded attacks upon her and her family has been so inspiring to all of us," he said.

It was the second trial Cosby faced for the charges; his first trial in 2017 ended in a mistrial due to a deadlocked jury. Some members of the jury took issue with a lack of physical evidence of the crime.

Tom Mesereau, Cosyby's lawyer, told reporters he will appeal the verdict.

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

Cosby faced similar accusations from more than 50 women for incidents dating back to the mid-1960s. The judge in the Constand case allowed five of those women to testify on behalf of the prosecution.

In closing arguments earlier this week, Cosby's attorneys took aim at the credibility of Constand and the other women who testified. Mesereau called Constand a "pathological liar" and the other witnesses "failed starlets."

Montgomery County prosecutor Kristen Feden took aim at Cosby's wholesome image, referencing his role as Cliff Huxtable in The Cosby Show. She accused him of using that image to take advantage of women.

"This man is nothing like the image he played on TV," she said during closing arguments. "He is nothing like 'America's Dad.'"

Lili Bernard, one of Cosby's accusers who attended the trial, told reporters after his conviction that she felt her faith in humanity was restored. She said the verdict was not just a victory for his accusers.

"It's also a victory for all sexual assault survivors," Bernard said. "I thank the jury so much for positioning themselves on the right side of history."

She credited the #MeToo movement for giving voice to sexual assault victims and showing that "women are worthy of being believed."

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