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#MeToo justice: Bill Cosby, once 'America's dad', found guilty in sexual assault trial

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The disgraced comedian faces spending his last years behind bars after a landmark court ruling

Anna Freeman

27 Abril 2018 13:22

Comedian and former ‘dad of America’ Bill Cosby was convicted by a Pennsylvania jury on Thursday of drugging and molesting an acquaintance in 2004.

The jury announced its verdict after fewer than two days of deliberation amid intense scrutiny of the court case around the world. 80-year-old Cosby faces a possible maximum prison sentence of 15 to 30 years.

According to the Associated Press, Cosby stood up and erupted after jurors left the courtroom, and used an expletive to refer to district attorney Kevin Steele, who was arguing to revoke Cosby’s bail, and yelled: ‘I’m sick of him!’

Dozens of women - including former supermodel Janice Dickinson - have publicly accused Cosby of sexual abuse, harassment or attempted abuse. This ruling is seen as a huge win for the rights of women in the #MeToo era.

A request by prosecutors to revoke Cosby’s bail was denied and Cosby was ordered to remain living in Montgomery county until his sentencing.

Cosby was found guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a former basketball player, who was 30 at the time. Cosby argued the pair had a consensual relationship.

Thomas Mesereau Jr, the disgraced comedian’s defence lawyer, said he would appeal the verdict outside the courthouse. ‘We are very disappointed by the verdict. We don’t think Mr Cosby is guilty of anything, and the fight is not over,’ Mesereau said.

The five women who spoke out against Cosby in court joined a news conference outside the courthouse with lawyer Gloria Allred, who represented many Cosby accusers.

‘We are so happy that finally we can say, women are believed, and not only in a hashtag “#MeToo”, but also in a court of law,’ Allred said. ‘After all is said and done, women were finally believed, and we thank the jury for that.’

Cosby was convicted on three charges of aggravated indecent assault.

Once America’s most popular and family-friendly entertainer, Cosby will now probably spend the last years of his life behind bars. Alleged sexual assaults carried out by Cosby often carry accusations of sedative use, taking place in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

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