Thursday afternoon, after 14 hours of deliberation, the jury returned with a verdict in Bill Cosby’s retrial for the sexual assault of Canadian basketball player and university administrator Andrea Constand. They found the comedian guilty on three counts of sexual assault against Ms. Constand, with each count holding a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. At 80 years-old, Cosby could be sentenced to up to 30 years behind bars. Sentencing will be determined by a judge based on three types of psychological evaluation.
Other alleged victims of the comedian were in the courtroom as the verdict was read, and there were tears and cheering before security warned the women to quiet down or leave. Five of those women had been permitted to testify during the trial and have said they see the guilty ruling as a win for themselves as well.
Cosby did not go silently, however. After the verdict was read out, a discussion followed about whether Cosby is a flight risk and whether he should be kept in custody or allowed to return home to await sentencing. Bail was set at $1 million but the prosecutor on the case argued that Cosby is a flight risk and said that he could potentially flee on his private plane.
Cosby hit back quickly, yelling, “He doesn’t have a plane, you asshole.”
In a press conference following the verdict, Andrea Constand’s lawyer Dolores Troiani spoke on her client’s behalf while Constand looked on.
“I am so happy today that I can say — although justice was delayed, it was not denied,” Troiani said, “It took a lot of courage for [Constand] to come back and to do this. There are so many people who have expressed their admiration for her. Millions, and I do mean millions, of people have admired her courage, admired her calm and admired her demeanor.”
Cosby accuser Andrea Constand “needs to be heralded for what she has done,” says her attorney, Dolores Troiani, after Bill Cosby is found guilty in indecent assault trial https://t.co/HZenHiJRav https://t.co/M4rfP2bfql
— CNN (@CNN) April 26, 2018
Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents 33 of Cosby’s other accusers, also addressed the press. She called the verdict – which is the first of the Me Too era – “herstoric.”
“In the beginning, many were not believed,” she said, “We are so happy that finally we can say: women are believed and not only on #MeToo but in a court of law where they were under oath, where they testified truthfully . . . where there were attempts to discredit them. And after all is said and done, women were finally believed.”
— Watch CTV News (@WatchCTVNews) April 26, 2018
“I stood right in the front and listened to my mother in my head and I said, ‘Shoulders back. Chin up. And stare him down.’ And I did”: Bill Cosby accuser Victoria Valentino recalls the moment after the comedian was found guilty of aggravated indecent assault pic.twitter.com/gzHhn9mI4r
— New Day (@NewDay) April 27, 2018
The gratefulness and joy of the accusers was reflected and amplified by scores of women (and men) on social media who also hoped that the verdict might bring some peace to the other accusers who won’t get a court date.
Our thoughts today are with the women who spent so many years speaking out about Bill Cosby only to be dismissed, disbelieved and blamed. And with the thousands of others worldwide who are in the same position still.
— EverydaySexism (@EverydaySexism) April 27, 2018
Guess who goin to jail??? pic.twitter.com/yBQCwMRnpG
— Dollarbillmonger 🤴🏾🥃🤬 (@god_faced) April 26, 2018
This Bill Cosby verdict is a big deal.
A really big deal.
Women were sexually assaulted by this man and then dragged through the mud by his lawyers and a lot of the press.
I hope they are able to find some sliver of peace and healing today.❤
— andy lassner (@andylassner) April 26, 2018
Other people pointed out that while the guilty verdict is a win for the Me Too movement, it is nowhere near the end of the fight. There are millions of women who have spoken out in the months since Harvey Weinstein’s misconducts broke this whole thing open. Yes, women are being believed more than ever before, but only one high-profile case has gone to trial. And it took TWO trials just to see a guilty verdict.
Next time someone says #MeToo went too far please remind them that Bill Cosby is the first and ONLY conviction since the beginning of the movement.
— Liz Plank (@feministabulous) April 27, 2018
It took 60 accusers, 50 years and two trials to bring one sexual abuser to justice. Has #MeToo gone too far?
— Rebecca Cohen (@GynoStar) April 26, 2018
— Jia Tolentino (@jiatolentino) April 27, 2018
Realists pointed out further that there is a racial component to this case as well. While it is incredible that a powerful man who used his position of fame to intimidate women into silence has been found guilty, it is unlikely that Weinstein, Kevin Spacey or Matt Lauer will see the inside of a court room. Others offered even more of a reality check by pointing out that there are still gross injustices in the American (and all) legal systems and that the law doesn’t function in the way it was intended to for marginalized groups of people. This is a historic day for women, but so many others will never see the same triumph of justice.
We can acknowledge that Bill Cosby should’ve been held accountable for his evil actions against women
AND ALSO acknowledge that the legal system is stacked against POC so Weinstein, Spacey, Lauer, and all the rest may get a pass for similar crimes.
Both things can be true.
— April will be at #WICOMICON (@ReignOfApril) April 27, 2018
“They were able to convict Bill Cosby using 30 year old evidence but they can’t get a conviction of a cop caught on VIDEO murdering an innocent Black man?” 😨
— Mistress🍑 (@AndreaGw123) April 27, 2018
Sandra Bland’s KILLER didn’t get any time. Alton Sterling’s KILLER didn’t get any time. But Bill Cosby is found guilty of some shit that MIGHT have happened 30yrs ago to 50 women who were drugged up but still had good memory. Not saying he’s innocent BUT THAT is how America Works
— MONTANAof300 (@MONTANAof300) April 27, 2018
Then there was the opposition, who still believe Cosby to be innocent and accused the women of lying to smear the star and get paid. Cosby’s public relations team was in top gear, calling the trial a “public lynching,” comparing the case to that of Emmett Till and again reiterating that all 60 women who have made accusations against Cosby must be lying.
Q: “You’re saying all these women … are all 60 women lying?”
Bill Cosby’s publicist: “Since when are all people honest? Since when are all women honest? We can take a look at Emmett Till for example.” pic.twitter.com/DJNSEjocAO
— Philip Lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) April 27, 2018
The criticism continued online with people suggesting that the women just wanted fame. Farther along the spectrum, there were also people who theorized that the Me Too movement is a “gender war against men.”
What I don’t like is these ladies were there looking for fame and fortune.. and waited 30 years to say something right..
— Will (@Starzilla123) April 27, 2018
— John Roe (@_johnroe) April 27, 2018
100% It’s a demonize technique to create a gender war against men and dispit it all women and men is no better.. the only difference between both genders is men rape by force and the women used deceive snake Style against men. Then report rape.. And the media the problem TOO
— Paul Challenger (@PaulChallenger1) April 27, 2018
She is nothing but a Gold Digger, that’s mad because she couldn’t get whatever she wanted from Cosby. Take responsibility for your own actions because trust me she had an hidden agenda when she hooked up with him…….#Opportunist
— Marie Davis (@angelabyrdburns) April 27, 2018
And here, here are the women who just learned that a jury found their abuser guilty.
— CNN (@CNN) April 26, 2018