Thursday, 24 May, 2018

American comedian Bill Cosby found guilty of drugging, molesting woman

Mark Makela  Getty Images Mark Makela Getty Images
Michele Schwartz | 27 April, 2018, 00:58

- A jury has found longtime comedian and Philadelphia native Bill Cosby guilty on three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

Cosby faces a maximum sentence of 10 years and a fine of up to $75,000. Steele told the judge Cosby has a plane and might flee. "You're exhausted", said Judge Steven O'Neill, sending them back to their hotel.

At that time, Gordon reports Cosby said aloud in the courtroom, "He doesn't have a plane you (expletive)". He is not allowed to leave the state of Pennsylvania.

The verdict was considered the first big celebrity trial of the #MeToo era, completing the spectacular late-life downfall of a comedian who broke racial barriers in Hollywood on his way to TV superstardom as America's dad.

"He used his celebrity, he used his wealth, he used his network of supporters to help him hide his crimes", Steele said.

Cosby's attorneys said they were disappointed by the verdict and planned to appeal.

The conviction follows years of allegations against Cosby from multiple women.

The trial bore all the bearings of a classic "he said, she said" so common to sexual assault trials.

The judge said he did not believe Cosby was a flight risk and said the $US1 million bail should be sufficient.

Cosby's new defense team, led by Mesereau, the celebrity attorney who won an acquittal for Michael Jackson on child-molestation charges, launched a highly aggressive attack on Constand, calling her a "con artist" and "pathological liar" who framed Cosby to get rich.

In closing arguments, defense attorney Kathleen Bliss positioned Cosby's legal team as standing up against "witch hunts, lynchings (and) McCarthyism".

A couple of months later, she told the court, she attempted to confront Cosby about it. He says the woman consented. Cosby shouted, "I'm sick of him!"

Another prosecutor, Kristen Feden, 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".

"I feel like I'm dreaming", Lili Bernard, who has accused Cosby of assault, said afterward.

The reckoning comes following the disgraced comic's second trial, and just over 14 hours of deliberations by a panel of five women and seven men.

Jurors in Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial are kicking off a second day of deliberations by revisiting the testimony of a star defence witness who cast doubt on accuser Andrea Constand's credibility.

The Associated Press doesn't typically identify people who say they're victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done. Constand was also pressed about the almost $3.4 million Cosby paid her in a 2006 civil settlement, which was previously confidential. His attorneys also had pursued more than a dozen court hearings and numerous attempts to get the charges dropped since he was first charged on December 30, 2015. "The guy was an actor for a long time", Steele said.

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