After a previous sex assault trial ended in a mistrial, a new jury found actor Bill Cosby guilty on all three counts of aggravated indecent sexual assault.
While many women have come forward in the past few years to accuse Cosby of drugging them in order to sexually assault them, it was Andrea Constand, a former employee with Temple University women’s basketball team. She testified that Cosby, a powerful trustee at Temple, drugged her and sexually assaulted her when she visited his home to ask for career advice.
During this trial, five other women were allowed to testify to similar events which established a pattern of deviant and criminal behavior on the part of Cosby that had gone on for years. The testimony of other victims was a crucial, possibly determining factor in the jury verdict. Jurors heard from these women that Cosby had acted toward them in a similar fashion, drugging them and then assaulting them.
The case is the first celebrity sexual assault trial since the #MeToo movement began last fall, and as such, represents a test of how the cultural movement will translate into a courtroom arena. In closing arguments, defense attorney Kathleen Bliss positioned Cosby’s legal team as standing up against “witch hunts, lynchings (and) McCarthyism.” Cosby’s defense team also portrayed the victim as a schemer who sought to extort money from Cosby in return for keeping quiet about his behavior. While the lawyers didn’t dispute that there were physical relations, they argued that it was consensual. The jury didn’t find it credible and convicted the disgraced actor on all three felony counts.
Image from: By The World Affairs Council of Philadelphia [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Cropped to fit featured image field.
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