He made a living making us laugh, he was called America’s Dad by fans of his hit show in the 80s, and his famous Jello Pudding commercials made for a softer image pedaled to the American consumer which made us all want to eat the desert food sold by the manufacturer and distributor, world wide, of both gelatin and pudding products. After today’s verdict in the re-trial of Bill Cosby, Mr. Cosby’s lasting legacy may be one of disgraced sexual predator and serial rapist. Bill Cosby has been unanimously found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault today with each count carrying a possible 10 year sentence according to the Associated Press. The jury’s verdict even occasioned outrage from the veteran entertainer as it is being reported Mr. Cosby lashed out at prosecutors after being convicted. The veteran comedian/actor and well-known public figure, upon the jury leaving the courtroom, used an expletive to refer to DA Kevin Steele and shouted, I’m sick of him!
The judge has ruled Mr. Cosby can remain at liberty pending his being sentenced which is unusual considering the amount of incarceration the now convicted sex offender is facing. Usually people who have been convicted of offenses which carry large periods of confinement, particularly defendants with the resources of Bill Cosby, are taken into custody pending sentencing for fear of them taking flight. Mr. Steele, on the government’s behalf, argued for Cosby being immediately taken into custody, and his bail being revoked, upon the jury’s announcing verdict. The commonwealth sited as the basis for this request its belief that Cosby owns a private plane and is one of the wealthiest individuals in the world, thereby making him a flight risk. Cosby denied, in open court, owning a plane and then called District Attorney, Kevin Steele, an asshole. It appeared the request from the prosecutor to take the 80 year old defendant into custody pending sentencing, coupled with the DA’s misrepresentation to the court about Cosby owning a plane, occasioned the expletive’s utterance and the emotional outbreak from the formerly popular American icon.
The veteran actor/comedian stared straight ahead as the verdict was being announced while shrieks erupted in the courtroom and some of his accusers whimpered and cried according to numerous sources. Both advocates for rape victims and lawyers representing many of the five-dozen women who have accused Cosby of being a serial rapist immediately started celebrating outside the courthouse upon the jury’s verdict being announced. Judge Steven O’Neil thanked the panel of seven men and five women for its service over the course of what amounted to a very difficult case and noted the sacrifice each of them underwent in the service of justice. Cosby will be able to appeal the conviction, arguing that the jury was biased, but as one expert, California trial attorney Lara Yeretsian, put it, it’s not easy to show the jury was tainted. You have to get inside their minds to determine bias or hope they make statements to others to that effect. Asked whether the MeToo movement likely biased the jury against Cosby, Yeretsian answered…Jurors don’t live in a vacuum, and they could be responding sympathetically to the movement, even on a subconscious level.
The charges which were put to trial this second time, after the mistrial was before declared when the first jury hung, were filed in December of 2015, just weeks before the commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s unusually long statute of limitations period on sex crimes expired. Some 60 women, total, have come forward claiming Cosby drugged and assaulted them in episodes dating back to the mid-1960s. The only complaint which wasn’t too old to prosecute was the account of Andrea Constand whose claim of being preyed on by Cosby occurred in 2004 but wasn’t reported to the authorities until 2005. When initially reported to the then, district attorney, the commonwealth declined to prosecute siting insufficient evidence. Kevin Steele who succeeded the district attorney who elected not to prosecute Cosby in 2005, ran for office in a contested race against the incumbent on a platform promising voters that, when elected, he would initiate the prosecution the incumbent was unwilling to initiate in 2005. Steele won and, ultimately, Cosby lost.
The first trial occurred in June of 2017 and was mis-tried after six days of testimony and five days of deliberations failed to net an unanimous jury verdict. Pennsylvania decided to re-try Mr. Cosby and, this time, the trial elicited some 13 days of testimony and argument, resulting in a day and a half of deliberations. This time a verdict…Guilty as to all three counts, was reached.
A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled according to CNN, and Cosby remains out on bail. Sentencing concerning today’s convictions will be set off for a future date.