UPDATE: Bill Cosby must undergo a sexually violent predator assessment, conducted by the Sexual Offenders Assessment Board, as directed by the district attorney.
ORIGINAL STORY: Andrea Constand’s legal team praised her courage after Bill Cosby was found guilty of sexually assaulting her 14 years ago.
District Attorney Kevin Steele remarked after the verdict was read that he “could not have been more proud” of how Constand handled herself throughout the trial process. “We wouldn’t be here if not for her,” Steele continued.
Constand’s lawyer Dolores Troiani spoke on behalf of her client following the verdict, saying that “although justice was delayed, it was not denied.”
“When something like this happens to someone, they have to work every day to be happy. Something that we all who have been fortunate in our lives and not been victimized, do not have to do. And when you see Andrea, and you all comment about how calm she is, how graceful she is, that’s something that she’s had to work at every day, since January 2004, when this happened to her,” continued Troiani.
She did not make any final statements after the verdict was announced, though her lawyers lauded her for her demeanour throughout the trial process, and many onlookers took to social media to call her the “hero” of the #MeToo movement.
Cosby stood trial last year for allegedly violating Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004, though the jury remained deadlocked and the case ended in a mistrial.
The Cosby Show star was found guilty Thursday in a retrial on three counts of aggravated sexual assault, each of which is punishable by up to 10 years in a federal prison. Constand first shared her story over 10 years ago, and hers was the only criminal case to emerge from the allegations of over 60 accusers who said the American television star drugged and sexually assaulted them.
Cosby’s defence attempted to prove that Constand fabricated allegations of sexual assault against him in order to extort a large civil settlement, and called Temple University academic adviser Marguerite Jackson to the stand to testify to this.
Jackson testified that Constand told her she could fabricate sexual assault allegations and “get that money” from a lawsuit.
However, on Thursday afternoon, the guilty verdict was handed down. The 80-year-old entertainer stared straight ahead as the verdict was read, while his chief accuser, Andrea Constand, remained stoic. Shrieks erupted in the courtroom and some of his other accusers whimpered and cried.
Constand is a 45-year-old Toronto native who worked as a women’s basketball administrator at Temple University, Cosby’s alma mater. She says that Cosby offered her pills and a sip of wine after expressing her fears at telling her supervisors she’d be leaving the university to study massage therapy in Canada.
According to her statement, however, the pills made her black out and she woke up to find “America’s Dad” penetrating her with his fingers, groping her breasts and putting her hand on his genitals. Cosby told police that he gave Constand Benedryl to relax her before they engaged in what he insists was consensual sex.
Cosby is expected to be sentenced within 60 to 90 days.
— With files from the Associated Press