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'Justice has been done': Victims and prosecutors react to Bill Cosby sex assault conviction

Cosby was convicted of drugging and molesting a university employee 14 years ago.

Bill Cosby looks around before he leaves the Montgomery County Courthouse.
Bill Cosby looks around before he leaves the Montgomery County Courthouse.
Image: Corey Perrine/AP

THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY who presided over Bill Cosby’s conviction for sexual assault hailed the guilty verdict as an act of justice and accused the disgraced icon of preying on women for decades.

“Today we’re finally in a place to say that justice has been done,” an emotional Kevin Steele told a news conference alongside a smiling Andrea Constand, whom the actor was convicted of assaulting.

The prosecutor said he hoped the verdict would send a “strong message” to other victims of sexual assault to come forward and report crimes.

“Money and power or who you are will not stop us from a criminal investigation or prosecuting a case,” Steele said.

He said Cosby spent “decades preying on women that he drugged and sexually assaulted” and had evaded a conviction “far too long”.

Cosby was found guilty of drugging and molesting Andrea Constand at his Philadelphia mansion in January 2004.

Shrieks erupted in the courtroom when the verdict was announced, and some of Cosby’s accusers whimpered and cried. Constand remained stoic, then hugged her lawyer and members of the prosecution team.

“He used his celebrities. He used his wealth, he used his network of supporters to help him conceal his crimes. Now we know today who was behind that act, who the real Bill Cosby was,” Kevin Steele said today.

The disgraced cultural icon faces years in prison and will be sentenced by Judge Steven O’Neill in Montgomery County court in Norristown, a Philadelphia suburb.

Steele said that following the conviction, Cosby had called him an “a–hole” in court after Steele asked the judge to revoke the 80-year-old comedian’s bail and send him to jail. Cosby remains free.

Steele told reporters the outburst showed that Cosby’s good-guy persona was just an act, and “we got to see who he really was”.

The date for a sentencing hearing is typically issued within 60 to 90 days, Steele said.

Meanwhile, Gloria Allred – a lawyer for some of Cosby’s accusers – said “justice has been done”.

Following the conviction, Cosby’s lawyer says the “fight is not over”, signalling an appeal.

Tom Mesereau says Cosby will appeal his conviction on three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

Cosby said nothing to reporters but acknowledged the crowd on the courthouse steps, then gave a thumbs-up as his car pulled away.

Meanwhile, Cosby’s alma mater said it will reconsider an honorary degree awarded to the comedian more than two decades ago.

Reaction 

Many celebrities took to social media to react to the guilty verdict.

“Cosby is guilty. I’m sorry if you loved a lie. His victims can now exhale. Thank you judge and jury. Thank you society for waking up,” actor and author Rose McGowan said.

Many prominent accusers of disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein tweeted their support of the verdict, underscoring the trial’s importance to the #MeToo movement.

“With Bill Cosby’s guilty verdict I hope these women find some peace and that all those who have not been able to find justice in other instances with other men have hope that they too will be heard. Zero tolerance of sexual harassment. #TimesUp,” tweeted actor Susan Sarandon.

Other prominent celebrities like Seth McFarlane, Patricia Arquette and Tarana Burke of the #MeToo movement all tweeted their support for the verdict.

Cosby could get up to 10 years in prison on each of the three counts of aggravated indecent assault. He is likely to get less than that under state sentencing guidelines, but given his age, even a modest term could mean he will die behind bars.

With reporting from Associated Press and Cormac Fitzgerald

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