Bill Cosby has been found guilty of three counts of sexual assault. The 80-year-old actor has been on trial in Pennsylvania for drugging and assaulting former basketball player Andrea Constand in 2004. He faces a possible maximum prison sentence of 15 to 30 years, but will remain out of jail until he is sentenced, the judge ruled. The jury announced its verdict after less than two days of deliberation. It came as vindication for the dozens of women who have publicly accused Mr Cosby of sexual harassment or attempted abuse. In addition to Andrea Constand, five women testified for the prosecution at the trial. Mr Cosby did not testify in his own defence.
Andrea Constand (centre) celebrates after the jury delivered its verdict
Afterwards, the women joined a news conference outside the courthouse with lawyer Gloria Allred. "I feel like my faith in humanity is restored," accuser Lili Bernard said. The attorney added: "We are so happy that finally we can say, women are believed, and not only on #MeToo, but in a court of law. After all is said and done, women were finally believed, and we thank the jury for that."
Bill Cosby pictured outside the courthouse after being found guilty of sexual assault
It was the second time that the actor had stood trial for the allegations. An earlier jury failed to reach a verdict in June 2017. At the start of the retrial in Pennsylvania it was revealed that Mr Cosby had paid Ms Constand almost $3.4m (£2.4m) in a civil settlement in 2006. Mr Cosby's lead defence lawyer, Thomas Mesereau Jr, vowed to appeal the verdict in remarks outside the courthouse. “We are very disappointed by the verdict. We don’t think Mr Cosby is guilty of anything, and the fight is not over,” he said.
Ms Constand's testimony was seen as crucial to prosecutors seeking to charge Mr Crosby. The Associated Press reports that while more than 60 women have accused the entertainer of molesting or assaulting them over five decades, her claim remained within the statute of limitations enabling prosecutors to go ahead with the charge.