When rumors first spread of an alleged drugging and assault by one of America’s most beloved sitcom and movie actors, people were understandably shocked and appalled.
On Thursday, April 26, Bill Cosby was found guilty of his charge, effectively putting an end to the long-running period of speculation and back-and-forth regarding the famed actor’s supposed conduct.
Cosby’s conviction marks the downfall of one of the nation’s most popular entertainers and could serve as a moment of vindication for the dozens of women who have levied similar complaints at Cosby throughout the years.
He was found guilty on three counts – one of penetration without consent, one of penetration while unconscious, and one of penetration after administering an intoxicant. Each count carries a ten-year sentence, though they may be served concurrently.
The three counts of aggravated incident assault were committed against Andrea Constand, who also became a prominent figure in the media frenzy surrounding Cosby’s allegations. Montgomery County district attorney Kevin R. Steele asked that Cosby’s $1 million bail be revoked on the grounds he owned a plane and could flee.
Cosby reportedly lashed out in retaliation, shouting: “He doesn’t have a plane you *sshole.” The judge quickly quieted Cosby but did allow him to be released on bail under the condition his passport was held and he remain in his home until the sentencing date which has yet to be determined.
The other women who had levied accusations against Cosby and had been following the trial briefly cheered upon hearing the verdict. Cosby sat with his head down, and the judge congratulated the jury on reaching a ruling in what he dubbed an extraordinary difficult case. While Cosby didn’t comment as he left the courthouse, his attorney told press members they were extremely disappointed in the verdict and believed Cosby was innocent.
This was the second trial for this case. The first ended last summer after the jury ended up deadlocked following nearly a full week of discussion. The 80-year-old Cosby has opened up in recent years about philandering women for decades in an effort to convince them to have sex. Though the defense painted Constand as a con-artist looking to get a big payout, the jury didn’t agree with them.
Cosby’s conviction effectively shatters his longstanding image as one of the most upstanding and moralizing figures in the entertainment industry. With a body of work that extends over five decades and numerous appearances in TV and film to his name, Cosby’s influence and fanbase were massive. In recent years his work was largely shunned, and this will likely continue given the court’s findings.
The deciding factor was likely the testimonies of the other women who had placed similar allegations against Cosby. Collectively, it seemed to paint the picture of a continued pattern of predatory behavior. The pattern of women joining in the allegations was also cause for controversy and was used by the defense. But his conviction remains a big victory for those who claim he victimized them.