27 Apr 2018

Bill Cosby found guilty in sexual assault trial

6:24 am on 27 April 2018

Comedian Bill Cosby has been found guilty on three charges of sexual assault after a trial in a Pennsylvania court.

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Photo: AFP

Cosby, 80, was accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a then-friend, Andrea Constand, at his Philadelphia-area home in 2004.

Cosby looked down with a sad expression when the Pennsylvania jury's verdict was read. Lily Bernard, one of his many accusers, began sobbing, while Ms Constand sat stone-faced.

Cosby, best known as the lovable father from the 1980s TV hit The Cosby Show, faces up to 10 years in prison for each of the three counts of aggravated indecent assault of Ms Constand, who is now 45.

"It's a victory not just for the 62 of us who have come forward but for all survivors of sexual assault, female and male," Ms Bernard told reporters, using a high estimate of the number of Cosby's accusers.

Outside the courtroom, two other Cosby accusers were seen hugging, crying and clapping.

Judge Steven O'Neill ruled that Cosby could remain out of jail on $US1 million bail pending sentencing at a later date, and he left the courthouse.

District Attorney Kevin Steele had asked the judge to have Cosby taken into custody immediately, saying he was a flight risk in part because he owned a plane.

"He doesn't have a plane, you asshole!" Cosby responded.

A former adminstrator for the women's basketball team at Temple University, Cosby's alma mater, Ms Constand is one of about 50 women who have accused him of sexual assault.

All of the other allegations are believed to be too old to be prosecuted. Cosby has said any sexual encounters were consensual.

The unanimous decision by the seven-man, five-woman jury came less than a year after a different jury deadlocked in his first trial on the same charges, prompting the judge to declare a mistrial. Prosecutors decided to retry him.

The first trial ended just before a flood of sexual assault and harassment accusations against rich and powerful men in media, entertainment and politics gave rise to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. Those high-profile revelations have encouraged women in all walks of life to go public with personal stories of abuse, in some cases after years of silence.

- Reuters

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