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Bill Cosby found guilty of sexual assault after years of accusations

By GRAHAM BOWLEY and JON HURDLE

NORRISTOWN, Pa. – A jury found Bill Cosby guilty Thursday of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his home near here 14 years ago, capping the downfall of one of the world’s best-known entertainers, and offering a measure of satisfaction to the dozens of women who for years have accused him of similar assaults against them.

On the second day of its deliberations at the Montgomery County Courthouse in this town northwest of Philadelphia, the jury returned to convict Cosby of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand, at the time a Temple University employee he had mentored.

The three counts – penetration with lack of consent, penetration while unconscious, and penetration after administering an intoxicant – are felonies, each punishable by up to 10 years in state prison, though the sentences could be served concurrently.

It was the second time a jury had considered Cosby’s fate. His first trial last summer ended with a deadlocked jury after six days of deliberations.

Cosby sat back in his chair after the verdict was announced and quietly stared down. Several women who have accused Cosby of abusing them, and attended the trial each day, briefly cheered, then fell silent.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele asked that Cosby’s $1 million bail be revoked, suggesting he could flee, prompting an angry outburst from Cosby.

Judge Steven T. O’Neill said he did not view Cosby as a flight risk and that he could be released on bail, but would have to surrender his passport and remain in his nearby home.

Cosby, 80, did not testify in his own defense, but he and his lawyers have insisted that his encounter with Constand was part of a consensual affair, not an assault.

At his retrial in the same courthouse and before the same judge as last summer, a new defense team argued unsuccessfully that Constand, now 45, was a desperate “con artist” with financial problems who steadily worked her famous but lonely mark for a lucrative payday.

Prosecutors rebutted the characterization of Constand as a schemer. Perhaps most damaging to Cosby, they were able to introduce testimony from five other women who told jurors they believed they too had been drugged and sexually assaulted by Cosby in separate incidents in the 1980s.

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