VIDEO: BILL COSBY HAS BEEN CONVICTED OF DRUGGING AND MOLESTING A WOMANDate: 2018-04-26
The #MeToo era is making an impact and Bill Cosby, 80, the man who owned Hollywood as an African American in the 80s who claimed TV superstardom as 'America's Dad', has been convicted of drugging and molesting a woman in 2004.
The spectacular late-life downfall of the comedian and actor could see him spending his golden years behind bars as a jury came to the conclusion that he sexually violated Temple University employee, Andrea Constand, at his home in suburban Philadelphia.
Although he claims the encounter was consensual, the verdict was reached by a panel of seven men and five women who deliberating for 14 hours over two days. The two-week retrial, during which prosecutors put five other women on the stand to testify that Cosby, who has been married for 54 years, drugged and violated them, too. Through her tears, one of those women asked him, "You remember, don't you, Mr. Cosby?"
Cosby's first trial ended with a hung jury less than a year ago.
Each of the three counts of aggravated indecent assault could see Cosby receiving up to 10 years in prison. Regardless of his age, state sentencing guidelines, and a modest term, it is likely he could die behind bars.
Former Temple women's basketball administrator, Constand, 45, told jurors that Cosby "knocked her out with three blue pills he called 'your friends'" and then penetrated her with his fingers as she lay immobilised, unable to resist or say no.
Even though there was a torrent of allegations from over 60 women who claimed the Cosby drugged and molested them over a span of five decades, this was the only criminal case to proceed.
"The time for the defendant to escape justice is over," prosecutor Stewart Ryan said in his closing argument. "It's finally time for the defendant to dine on the banquet of his own consequences."
Kristen Feden, one of the other prosecutors, said Cosby was "nothing like the image that he played on TV" as sweater-wearing, wisdom-dispensing father of five Dr. Cliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show.
Cosby's lawyers slammed the #MeToo movement calling it a witch hunt or a lynching. The movement, though, has gained traction against the sexual misconduct against taking down powerful men like Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey and Senator Al Franken.
The jurors all indicated they were aware of #MeToo but said before the trial they were impartial to the campaign.
Since last years conviction loss, prosecutors had more testimonies from other accusers to help move the case beyond a he-said-she-said, which allowed the prosecutors to argue that Cosby was "a menace to women" long before he met Constand.
Michael Jackson's lawyer, Tom Mesereau, who is Cosby's new defense team, launched a highly aggressive attack on Constand and the other women saying that their star witness – a longtime employee of Temple, had testified that Constand mentioned she was setting up a 'prominent person' to sue. After prosecutors initially declined to file charges, Cosby settled with Constand for nearly $3.4 million over a decade ago after prosecutors initially declined to file charges.
"You're dealing with a pathological liar," Mesereau told the jury.
But Cosby himself had long ago confirmed sordid revelations about drugs and extramarital sex.
Before the U.S. banned it more than 30 years ago, Cosby acknowledged he had obtained quaaludes to give to women he wanted to have sex with, stating in a deposition he gave over a decade ago as part of Constand's lawsuit, "the same as a person would say, 'Have a drink.'"
Cosby also acknowledged giving pills to Constand before their sexual encounter although he identified them as the "over-the-counter cold and allergy medicine" Benadryl and insisted they were meant to "help her relax".
Cosby's reputation as a public moralist is what prompted a federal judge to respond to a request from The Associated Press to unseal portions of the deposition.
Its release helped destroy the "Cosby Show" star's career and good-guy image. It also prompted authorities to reopen the criminal investigation, and he was charged in late 2015.
The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission. Constand has done so.