Bill Cosby has been convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand in January 2004.
The 80-year-old comedian and television star, who has been accused by more than 60 women of sexual misconduct, was found guilty on three charges: aggravated indecent assault: penetration with lack of consent; penetration while unconscious; and penetration after administrating an intoxicant. Each charge carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years. Cosby is currently free on bail until a judge decides on the actual length of his sentences and if they will be served consecutively or concurrently.
Montgomery County jurors deliberated for about 14 hours, beginning Wednesday, before handing down the verdict, according to PEOPLE.
In the trial, which began March 29, prosecutors alleged that he assaulted Constand, now 44, in his Elkins Park, Pennsylvania mansion in January 2004. The defense countered that the sexual contact was consensual. Both sides presented 12 days of testimony and evidence to the 7-man, 5-woman jury.
Some of his accusers were seen breaking down in tears outside the courtroom following the announcement of the verdict.
This was the second time the comedian stood trial for these charges. In June 2017, a Pennsylvania judge declared a mistrial after the jury announced that they were “hopelessly deadlocked” after deliberating for days.
“I am overwhelmed with joy, relief and gratitude,” Janice Baker-Kinney, one of Cosby’s accussers, posted on Twitter Thursday. “My this verdict open the floodgates to those who have been hiding their shame for far too long and give them the courage to come forward.”
“Bill Cosby GUILTY on all 3 counts. THANK YOU Montgomery County prosecutors and police,” Hollywood lawyer Lisa Bloom — whose mother Gloria Allred represents 33 of Cosby’s accusers — tweeted following the verdict announcement. “Andrea Constand. Janice Dickinson. All the women who testified. All 60 who have spoken out about Cosby. All who have supported them. The day has come. Justice delayed, but justice delivered.”
Bloom represents Janice Dickinson, who is pursuing a defamation case against Cosby after the comedian called her a liar for alleging he raped her.
“What’s next? My defamation case on behalf of Janice Dickinson against Bill Cosby, which we’ve been fighting and WINNING for 3+ years, goes on,” Bloom tweeted Thursday. “Mr. Cosby, I’m looking forward to taking your deposition.”
Cosby has vehemently denied any wrongdoing but kept a low profile since facing the flurry of sexual assault claims, though he made a public appearance on Jan. 10 at a Philadelphia restaurant and answered a few questions from reporters. Later that month, he posted photos on Facebook of a visit to a Philadelphia bakery in support the now Super Bowl-bound Philadelphia Eagles with the headline “Bill Cosby comes home to Philly to support the Eagles Chase For A Championship and stops by Velvet Sky Bakery & Cafe for Hot Chocolate and Cupcakes.” On Jan. 22, Cosby performed a comedy routine for the first time since 2015.
After the show, which was in honor of Tony Williams at LaRosa Jazz Club in Philadelphia, Cosby was asked by a reporter from NBC 10 in Philadelphia if he had any comments about his upcoming retrial. His publicist tried to wave off the question, but Cosby addressed it by saying, “No ma’am. I came here tonight to enjoy being with my friends and the musicians and the people who came… That was a lot of fun.” The reporter then asked if it was tough for him to go out in public, not knowing how he’d be received. “No… This is life, and life changes. It’s not to be feared to go out. I go out.”