Eleven months after a jury was deadlocked, Bill Cosby, the comedic icon, was convicted last Thursday in the second trial on three counts of aggravated indecent assault at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa.
The jury, made up of seven men and five women, spent only 12 hours deliberating before reaching a guilty verdict. Cosby, 80, often called “America’s dad” from his popular role on “The Cosby Show,” expressed very little reaction at first upon hearing the verdict but later erupted when the prosecutor asked the judge to revoke Cosby’s bail and charged that Cosby is a flight risk because he owns a plane.
“He doesn’t have a plane, you asshole,” Cosby screamed, talking about himself in the third person. These words were his first in the courtroom because he didn’t testify.
Cosby faces up to 10 years on each count, but will probably serve them concurrently, if in fact he ever goes to prison given the often lengthy appeal process, which his lawyers have promised to pursue.
There has been much speculation of why Cosby was convicted this second time around. Some believe that Andrea Constand, the main accuser who said that he doped her and assaulted her in his home in 2004, had her testimony aided and abetted by five other women who testified at the trial.
Others contend that the jury might have been influenced by the #MeToo movement or the prosecution was able to build a stronger case in view of a number of other men, including Harvey Weinstein, facing similar charges.
One of the jurors, Harrison Snyder, told reporters that it was Cosby’s own deposition that helped him make a decision. “Mr. Cosby admitted to giving these Quaaludes to women, young women, in order to have sex with them,” he said.
Snyder said the doubts he had arose from Constand’s inconsistencies, but at last he said it was Cosby’s own words that were the deciding factor for him, and possibly for other jurors as well.
Judge Steven O’Neill has yet to schedule a sentencing date, but Cosby has been confined to his home and fitted with a GPS tracking device.
During a long news conference after the verdict, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele recounted the prosecution’s investigation and tactics in disclosing the extent of Cosby’s crimes. “What was revealed through this investigation was a man who had spent decades preying on women that he drugged and sexually assaulted, and a man who evaded this moment right here far too long. He used his celebrity, he used his wealth; he used his network of supporters to help him conceal his crimes.”
Steele also took time to single out and praise the work of Kristen Gibbons Feden, 35, who drafted and litigated pretrial motions and questioned key witnesses. During her closing argument, and that too might have been a critical moment for jurors, she stared down Cosby and asked him if he was smiling during her deliberation.
Her attack was particularly assertive when she sought to counter the defense’s conclusion that Constand was a “con artist,” citing that Cosby was the real con artist.
Smiling or not, Cosby apparently was in good spirits later on, according to his representative Andrew Wyatt. “He knows he’s not guilty,” Wyatt said. Even so, he said Cosby and Camille, Cosby’s wife, were shocked by the verdict. “These jurors didn’t get it right. All of the evidence that was presented—they ignored it.”