Disgraced entertainer Bill Cosby’s fall from grace was complete on Thursday when, after a Montgomery County jury convicted him on three counts of indecent sexual assault, he broke the stony silence in which he spent most of the trial to call the prosecutor who convicted him an “a–hole.”
“He doesn’t have a plane, you a–hole!” 80-year-old Cosby shouted out in the courtroom, shocking attendees, after Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said Cosby had a private jet and posed a flight risk when he argued for him to be detained immediately post-verdict. Judge Steven O’Neill allowed Cosby free on bail pending his sentencing hearing, which has not been yet scheduled.
“I guess you got to see a brief view of who he was. That’s just him acting out,” Steele said during a post-verdict press conference with Constand in the room. “I think everybody got to see who he really is when each of those prior bad act witnesses [other accusers of sexual assault] got to testify. The guy was an actor for a long time, and it was an act. It was an act. We got to see who he really was.”
Beyond the vindication of accuser Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee who said Cosby drugged and molested her in 2004, the case was also a monumental win for Steele, who resurrected the case against Cosby in 2015, days before the statute of limitations expired.
Steele repeatedly praised the jurors for serving on the high-profile case, weathering international media scrutiny and seeing past claims by Cosby’s attorneys that his multiple accusers, eight of whom testified at trial, were financially motivated.
“I have never seen the type of attacks that were levied on people that were coming forward to describe how they were sexually assaulted,” Steele said. “It was very difficult to sit through, to watch. But you also saw what the jury did in the end. I hope people realize, you’ve got to show courage like this lady did,” indicating Constand.
But others remain skeptical of the process, like South Jersey civil rights activist Walter Hudson, who has criticized the case as racially biased.
“I’m disappointed in the jury’s decision,” Hudson said. “I still support Bill, and I hope that he file an appeal. We have people like Trump who is getting away? What about his accusers?”
Hudson said he believed the defense witness Margo Jackson, who was barred from testifying for the defense that she heard Constand discuss a plot to blackmail a wealthy American for personal profit.
“I don’t believe Bill to be as malicious as they are making him seem,” Hudson said.
Timeline of a crime
Feb. 2004 – Temple employee Andrea Constand visits Bill Cosby, who she met as a university trustee, at his Cheltenham mansion. She says he gave her Benadryl and wine, then molests her while she is unconscious.
2005 – Constand reports the assault to authorities. Former Montco DA Bruce Castor decides not to prosecute after determining Constand is not credible enough to win a criminal trial, but later testifies he hopes she succeeds in her civil lawsuit against Cosby. (It is revealed at Cosby’s 2018 trial that Cosby paid her $3.5 million.)
Oct. 2014 – Stand-up comic Hannibal Buress’ says that “Bill Cosby is a rapist” during a comedy show in Philadelphia. As video of the joke starts to go viral, dozens of women come forward to accuse Cosby.
Dec. 2015 – Newly elected Montco DA Kevin Steele indicts Cosby on the Constand case days before the statute of limitations expires.
June 2017 – Cosby’s first trial ends in a mistrial due to a hung jury.
April 26, 2018 – Cosby is convicted of indecent sexual assault, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.