After 14 years and a #MeToo campaign, veteran comedian Bill Cosby convicted of sexual assault

Comedian Bill Cosby was convicted on Thursday of drugging and molesting a onetime friend in 2004, marking the first such conviction of a celebrity since the #MeToo movement that has brought down rich and powerful men for their treatment of women in the entertainment industry in Hollywood.

Cosby, 80, best known as the lovable father from the 1980s TV hit “The Cosby Show,” faces up to 10 years in prison for each of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand, 45, following a three-week trial at the Montgomery County courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

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

Judge Steven O’Neill ruled that Cosby could remain out of jail on $1 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.

Attorney Gloria Allred said, “Finally we can say women are believed and not only on hash tag me too (#MeToo) but in a court of law, where they were under oath where they testify truthfully, where they were attacked, where they were smeared, where they were denigrated, where they were attempts to discredit them. And after all is said and done, women were finally believed and we thank the jury so much for that.”

Tom Mesereau, lawyer for the actor, said, “We are we are very disappointed by the verdict. We don’t think Mr. Cosby is guilty of anything and the fight is not over, thank you. (We will appeal) very strongly.”

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

Lili Bernard, an accuser said, “I feel like my faith in humanity is restored. This is a victory not just for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, not just for the victim in the case Andre Constand, not just for the 62 of us publicly known survivors of Bill Cosby’s drug facilitated sexual crimes against women, but it’s also a victory for all sexual assault survivors, female and male, it’s a victory for womanhood.”

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

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