NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS/AP) — Bill Cosby must undergo a sexually violent predator assessment and ordered house arrest after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a former Temple University employee.
The 80-year-old actor was convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault in the drugging and sexual assault of Andrea Constand at his home in 2004.
Cosby is under house arrest while he awaits his sentencing within the next 60 to 90 days after Judge Steven O’Neill decided the actor can remain free on $1 million bail. O’Neill says Cosby must be fitted with a GPS monitor. Cosby also needs to be granted permission to travel in the area.
This comes on the same day that Constand broke her silence on social media.
“A very profound and heartfelt thank you to the Commonwealth of PA, Montgomery County, for their service and sacrifices. Congratulations. Truth prevails,” Constand tweeted on Friday.
Cosby was convicted of three counts of aggravated indecent assault, each carrying a standard sentence of five to 10 years in prison. The counts are likely to be merged for sentencing purposes, but given Cosby’s age even a modest term could mean he will die behind bars.
“The path to this guilty verdict was a long one, and we couldn’t have gotten here to this just verdict without the courageous support of Andrea and the other victims who testified in this trial,” Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said in a statement. “Fewer than five percent of all victims of sex crimes report the crime to law enforcement. We are hopeful that this case and this just verdict help pave the road for future victims to come forward to law enforcement and have their allegation investigated. We are equally hopeful that these same victims will not be subjection to the victim assassination that has been so prevalent in sex crimes trials to date.”
Cosby’s team blasted his trial as a “public lynching” and began looking ahead to an appeal.
Cosby’s appeal seems certain to focus on the judge’s decision to let a parade of women testify that they, too, were abused by the former TV star.
Defense allegations of a biased juror and the admission of Cosby’s explosive testimony about drugs and sex are among other possible avenues of appeal as he tries to avoid a sentence that could keep him in prison for the rest of his days.
“I would like Mr. Cosby’s supporters to know after being harassed, stalked and attacked for almost (5) years, he’s doing great and he will be found exonerated on appeal,” Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt told CBS3 in a statement.
The defense is likely to focus its appeal on the judge’s decision to allow five additional accusers to testify. That ruling was a victory for prosecutors eager to move the case beyond a he-said, she-said.
One of those women called Cosby a “serial rapist.” Another choked back tears as she asked, “You remember, don’t you, Mr. Cosby?” A third declared: “I was raped.”
The women’s testimony introduced a “huge amount of prejudice and bias,” Cosby spokeswoman Ebonee Benson said.
Lawyers not connected with the case said the defense has a strong argument.
“I think that his lawyers have a very real chance at overturning the verdict,” said Christopher Adams, a defense attorney whose clients have included former NBA star Jayson Williams.
He said the judge’s decision to allow the “prior bad acts” testimony could have tainted the jury.
“It’s one thing if they looked at one or two, but five? He wasn’t charged with being a serial assaulter,” Adams said.
Former federal prosecutor David Axelrod, now in private practice in Philadelphia, also said Cosby’s team has a shot at convincing an appeals court that the judge went too far.
Generally, testimony about a defendant’s past misconduct is admissible only under certain circumstances — for example, if it shows motive or intent.
Only one other accuser was permitted to testify at Cosby’s first trial, which ended in a hung jury last year.
The Cosby camp also complained about a juror who allegedly said before the trial that he thought the comedian was guilty. Cosby’s lawyers tried unsuccessfully to have the man removed.
The defense is also expected to raise on appeal O’Neill’s ruling that allowed jurors to hear portions of a deposition Cosby gave over a decade ago as part of Constand’s lawsuit against him. In the deposition, the TV star acknowledged obtaining quaaludes in the 1970s to give to women he wanted to have sex with.
How the jury arrived at its verdict remained a mystery. The judge did not immediately make public the names of the seven men and five women, prompting The Associated Press and other news organizations to go to court Friday in a bid to get them released.
The three counts of aggravated indecent assault carry up to 10 years in prison each, but the charges are likely to be merged into one for sentencing purposes.
Constand, a former Temple University women’s basketball administrator, said Cosby knocked her out with three blue pills he called “your friends” and then penetrated her with his fingers as she lay immobilized, unable to resist or say no. Cosby claimed the encounter was consensual, saying he gave her the cold and allergy medicine Benadryl to relax.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)