Bill Cosby has been found guilty on three counts of aggravated indecent assault of Andrea Constand. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Constand, 45, a former college and Canadian national team basketball player, accused Cosby of assaulting her in 2004. Constand said Cosby gave her quaaludes, rendering her semi-unconscious and unable to move. He then proceeded to touch Constand’s breasts and put her hand on his penis, Constand said. At the time, Constand reported the incident to local police, who decided not to file charges against Cosby. She then joined 13 other women in filing a civil lawsuit against the comedian, which was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
In 2015, shortly before statue of limitations were set to expire, Cosby was arrested and charged with sexual assault based on Constant’s allegations. Comedian Hannibal Buress was responsible for bringing Cosby’s misconduct back to the forefront when, during a comedy routine, he encouraged his audience to “Google ‘Bill Cosby rape.'”
Cosby’s original trial ended in a mistrial last spring after the jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision. Earlier this month, Cosby arrived at Norristown, Pennsylvania’s Montgomery County Courthouse for his retrial, where he was met by a topless protestor. Today, the jury — which was comprised of five women and seven men, two of whom were black— reached its guilty verdict.
Cosby’s defense team maintained that Cosby and Constand’s relationship was romantic and “consensual,” and framed the prosecution’s case as being based on “flimsy, silly, ridiculous evidence.”
The prosecution, meanwhile, relied on words from Cosby’s own mouth. In a deposition for a 2006 civil suit, Cosby spoke of using quaaludes to manipulate women into sex, and admitted to giving Constand in particular three Benadryl pills and digitally penetrating her. He argued, however, that it was consensual.
The prosecution also drew upon the more than 50 women that have accused Cosby of sexual assault in recent years. At this trial, five of those women testified against Cosby, demonstrating a pattern in regards to Cosby’s sexual manipulation of women. “That was the execution of his signature plan,” said assistant district attorney Kristen Feden in her closing argument. “That previously practiced plan that had worked so perfectly on women in the past.”
During the trial, Cosby was reprimanded by Feden for laughing and smiling during that closing argument. “He’s laughing like it’s funny! But there’s absolutely nothing funny about stripping a woman of her capacity to consent,” she said before jurors. The jury agreed and Cosby will now likely spend his remaining days in prison as he faces up to 30 years behind bars.