80-year-old comedian Bill Cosby was found guilty Thursday of three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault involving former women’s basketball coach Andrea Constand, 44, in 2004. Jury deliberation lasted 14 hours. The jury consisted of seven men and five women who unanimously rendered a guilty verdict.
Constand was a basketball coach at Temple University when Cosby allegedly drugged and sexually assaulted her at his Philadelphia home in 2004. Cosby was, at the time, a trustee of the university and also a major monetary donor.
After the guilty verdict was decreed, Constand was seen embracing her family and supporters, while Cosby left hurriedly as he hung on to the arm of Andrew Wyatt, his spokesperson.
After the verdict was read, District Attorney Kevin Steele asked the judge to revoke Cosby’s $1 million bail, claiming he owned a plane and could be a flight risk. In response, an upset Cosby reportedly shouted, “He doesn’t have a plane, you [expletive]!”
Judge Steven T. O’Neill did not revoke bail, but said Cosby was not to leave his home unless he was attending a bail hearing. A sentencing date has not been set at this time. With each of the three counts of aggravated indecent assault carrying up to 10 years’ imprisonment, Cosby could spend the rest of his life in jail.
The guilty verdict came as a shock to the trial’s audience as well as Cosby himself, who was reported as smiling while the prosecution offered its closing arguments. His attorneys had sought a mistrial during the hearings and failed.
Eleven months ago, a jury could not reach a unanimous decision on these same charges and that trial was declared a mistrial. The jury declared itself “hopelessly deadlocked” after deliberating for 53 hours. Cosby had already paid Constand nearly $3.5 million in a 2006 civil lawsuit settlement.
Among the five additional accusers testifying in this second trial were former model Janice Dickenson and Chelan Lasha, who was just 17 years old when she became one of Cosby’s victims, she alleged. The added testifiers’ claims were similar to Constand’s, and they were presented as evidence that Cosby had a history of predatory behavior toward women.
The retrial lasted about three weeks and saw many protestors flocked outside the Philadelphia courtroom. One protester was Nicolle Rochelle, 38, an actress who had appeared on The Cosby Show as a child as one of Rudy Huxtable’s friends.
On the trial’s opening day, Rochelle appeared topless with the names of Cosby’s alleged victims written all over her torso as well as the words “Women’s Lives Matter.”
Rochelle lunged at Cosby before being detained by police and charged with disorderly conduct.
The incident with Rochelle was not related to anything that had happened to her during her time on The Cosby Show but rather her anger over finding out about the allegations. She told reporters, “I had a great experience on the show so I was very hurt by the fact that he did this for so many years.”
In response to why she decided to protest topless, Rochelle told People, “The case is being publicized with this narrative of race. He’s being painted as the victim. I wanted to emphasize that this is about rape. I wanted to make him uncomfortable and to make people think about women’s bodies.”
At least 50 women have gone public with accusations against Bill Cosby for sexual assault, with many claiming they were drugged and raped.