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Bill Cosby guilty of sexual assault, first verdict #MeToo

Ⓒ AFP – Dominick Reuter – | Bill Cosby (c) convicted of sexual assault leaves court in Norriston on April 26, 2018 in Pennsylvania

US actor Bill Cosby was convicted on Thursday of sexual assault by a popular Pennsylvania jury, following a second trial that may appear as the first judicial victory of the #MeToo era.

After almost three weeks of trial, the 80-year-old actor has been convicted on three charges and is theoretically 30 years in prison.

Judge Steve O’Neill will determine his sentence in the next two to three months.

The victim, Andrea Constand, a 45-year-old former basketball player, was present in the courtroom at the verdict, after 14 hours of deliberation over two days.

In January 2004, at her home in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, Bill Cosby invited her to have a glass of wine and three pills before she abused her when she was no longer able to resist.

Ⓒ AFP – DOMINICK REUTER – | Bill Cosby (c) convicted of sexual assault leaves court in Norriston on April 26, 2018 in Pennsylvania

“Finally, the women are believed,” Gloria Allred, a lawyer for several women posing as victims of Bill Cosby and other alleged victims of sexual assault, who did not represent Andrea, said after the court Constand.

“We are very disappointed by this verdict,” said Bill Cosby’s Tom Mesereau. “The fight is not over,” he added, hinting at the possibility of a call.

As soon as the verdict was pronounced, Montgomery County Attorney Kevin Steele demanded that the octogenarian be immediately detained, arguing that he was at risk of fleeing by plane.

“He has no plane, asshole!” then belted Bill Cosby, annoyed. It was the first time that the comedian showed his emotions since the beginning of the trial, he who had not reacted to the verdict.

Ⓒ AFP – Dominick Reuter – | Andrea Constand, former basketball player, leaves court in Norriston after verdict against Bill Cosby convicted of sexual assault on April 26, 2018 in Pennsylvania

The judge finally decided to leave the free actor on bail.

“Justice is done,” Attorney Kevin Steele said at a press conference after the verdict. “A moment when he escaped for too long,” he said, judging that Bill Cosby had “behaved like a predator with women for decades.”

“The money, the power or your status will not prevent us from opening a criminal investigation and prosecuting,” he warned.

Even though it has been several years since the creator of the “Cosby Show” is no longer considered the moral figure he has long embodied, especially for the African-American community, this verdict seals his disgrace.

– “#MeToo movement works” –

In total, he was charged with sexual assault by more than 60 women, all of which were prescribed except for Andrea Constand.

Ⓒ AFP – Gal ROMA – | Bill Cosby

In June 2017, after 52 hours of deliberations, the jury of the first trial of Bill Cosby had not been able to decide unanimously, resulting in its cancellation.

Between the two trials, the background of the Weinstein affair and the #MeToo movement crossed the United States and increased the context, which had become very unfavorable for Bill Cosby.

Especially since Judge Steven O’Neill has authorized the prosecution to have five other women testify as former victims of Bill Cosby.

Since the break-up of the Weinstein case, none of the famous men accused of alleged harassment or sexual assault have been formally charged by US justice.

The subject of three police investigations in Los Angeles, New York and London, Harvey Weinstein himself is not currently subject to criminal prosecution.

“The #MeToo movement is working and doing well,” Gloria Allred said Thursday.

Facing the headwind of #MeToo and the five testimonies against him, Bill Cosby’s new lawyer, Tom Mesereau, and his team tried, in vain, to portray Andrea Constand as a “pathological liar,” who allegedly invented an assault on blackmail the famous comedian.

The defense relied on the testimony of a former colleague of Constand, Marguerite Jackson, who claimed that the victim had boasted of being able to invent a sexual assault allowing him to extort money from Bill Cosby.

In a friendly settlement, Bill Cosby paid Andrea Constand $ 3.38 million in 2006.

It was prosecutor Kevin Steele and not the former basketball player who decided to reopen the criminal case in 2015 and to prosecute.

The verdict “means that the justice system is now attentive,” said Victoria Valentino, one of Bill Cosby’s alleged victims. “They listen and they act,” she added. “We are no longer invisible.”

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