A decision has been made regarding the controversial case of Bill Cosby. On April 26th, the jury put an end to the buzz and anticipation, coming to a unanimous decision that would cap off the downfall of one of the world’s most famous comedians. After years of speculation and accusations, the Montgomery County Courthouse in Pennsylvania brought peace to the victims who long awaited this moment.
It was a day that prosecutors had dreamed of arriving, with the convictions against the 80-year-old comedian being won at last. Known as “America’s Dad” for years, he has now been found guilty of sexual assault charges against multiple women. Convicted on three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault, Mr. Cosby will now face the consequences of his actions behind bars. Once known as a man of wit and humour, he will now spend the coming years paying for the wrong he has done against so many victims.
According to CNN, “What was revealed through this investigation was a man who had spent decades preying on women that he drugged and sexually assaulted, and a man who evaded this moment right here far too long,” Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele told reporters. “He used his celebrity, he used his wealth, he used his network of supporters to help him conceal his crimes.” Though many didn’t want to believe the 60 different victims who identified Cosby as their assailant, with the assaults dating as far back as the mid-1960s, the unsettling truth has been revealed at last. Tom Mesereau, who is Cosby’s attorney, stated that he plans to appeal “very strongly”, and that they are very disappointed with the verdict. “We don’t think Mr. Cosby’s guilty of anything and the fight is not over,” he revealed.
A decision that had been years in the making all stemmed from an initial testimony from Andrea Constand, a former employee with Temple University’s women’s basketball team, who testified that Cosby had drugged her and sexually assaulted her 14 years ago when she had visited him at his home in hopes for career advice. With very little forensic evidence to show, five other women then spoke out and testified, justifying Andrea’s claims, revealing a pattern of actions. Still, Cosby’s defence team launched opposing attacks on the credibility, claiming Andrea was a “con artist” looking for a piece of Cosby’s fortune, and stating that the sexual interaction was consensual.
Following the aftermath of the #MeToo movement, this became the first high profile case to unfold in the public eye, and going forward, according to The New York Times: “the accounts of female accusers may be afforded greater weight and credibility by jurors.” The verdict was deemed a “notice to sexual predators everywhere,” as The National Organization for Women stated. A number of women have since spoken out on the grand decision, one of which is Rose McGowan, a woman involved in accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, who thanked the judge and jury, as well as “society for waking up.” Furthermore, the lawyer who represented many of the Cosby accusers said that the decision was an important breakthrough, adding: “After all is said and done, women were finally believed.”
Despite challenging these claims, and the doubts of Cosby’s critics, Bill himself has admitted to decades of philandering, and giving women quaaludes in an attempt to have sex with them. Cosby didn’t testify in his own defence.
It was a day for celebration, as the verdict was met with laughter and tears among the victims. “We just collapsed in each other’s arms. We were just crying,” Patricia Steuer told The New York Times. Another one of the women, Lili Bernard, told ABC News: “I feel like my faith in humanity has been restored,” adding: “Today, this jury has shown what the #MeTo movement is saying, that women are worthy of being believed.” After what’s been a long and challenging battle of a trial for the women who fell victim to Cosby’s actions, a sense of liberation was won as the verdict brought music to their ears. Despite the verdict, Cosby’s camp remains adamant on the fact that he is not guilty, and that “these jurors didn’t get it right.” With the accounts of the nearly 60 women who came forward, it’s safe to say that justice was, in fact, served at last.
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