After years of accusations, investigations, and a mistrial, Bill Cosby has been found guilty of three counts of sexual assault. The three counts — penetration with lack of consent, penetration while unconscious, and penetration after administering an intoxicant — are felonies, each punishable by up to 10 years in state prison, though the sentences could be served concurrently.
In recent years, Mr. Cosby, 80, had admitted to decades of philandering, and to giving quaaludes to women as part of an effort to have sex, smashing the image he had built as a moralizing public figure and the upstanding paterfamilias in the wildly popular 1980s and ’90s sitcom “The Cosby Show.” He did not testify in his own defense, avoiding a grilling about those admissions, but he and his lawyers have insisted that his encounter with Ms. Constand was part of a consensual affair, not an assault.
The guilty verdict vindicates the many women who had come forward accusing the actor of unwanted sexual abuse.
None of the other accusations had resulted in prosecution. In many of the cases, too much time had passed for criminal charges to be considered, so Ms. Constand’s case emerged as the only criminal test of Mr. Cosby’s guilt.
But Mr. Cosby is facing civil actions from several accusers, many of whom are suing him for defamation because, they say, he or his staff branded them as liars by dismissing their allegations as fabrications.
Cosby’s defense team had argued during the trial that Andrea Constand was looking to cash in by accusing Cosby of sexual assault. The jury didn’t buy the argument and Cosby is now facing serious prison time as a result of the verdict.