Cosby was convicted on three charges of aggravated indecent assault against former Temple University employee Andrea Constand

April 26, 2018 03:28 PM

Bill Cosby was found guilty Thursday of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand 14 years ago — marking the first high-profile criminal conviction of the #MeToo era.

In footage obtained by ABC News, accuser Lili Bernard and two other women identified as Cosby accusers (more than 60 women have accused him of similar sexual misconduct) can be seen exiting the courtroom just minutes after the verdict. The powerful moment shows the women bursting into sobs, clutching one another and weeping before they are escorted away from the area by a police officer.

RELATED: Bill Cosby Calls Prosecutor an ‘A——’ After His Sexual Assault Conviction

Cosby, 80, was convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Constand, now 44, in his Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, mansion in January 2004. Montgomery County jurors deliberated for about 14 hours over two days before handing down the guilty verdict.

Cosby was convicted on three charges of aggravated indecent assault: penetration with lack of consent; penetration while unconscious; and penetration after administrating an intoxicant. Each carries a prison sentence of 10 years, though the sentences could be served concurrently.

Mark Makela/Getty

The defense claimed that the sexual contact was consensual. Both sides presented 12 days of testimony and evidence to the seven-man, five-woman jury.

Andrea Constand

It was the second time that a jury has deliberated Cosby’s fate. Last summer, another jury spent six days before they announced they were unable to come to a consensus. Judge Steven T. O’Neill ruled that they were hopelessly deadlocked and declared a mistrial.

RELATED: The Fall of Bill Cosby — From America’s TV Dad to Convicted of Sexual Assault

In July 2015, Cosby’s deposition in the civil suit he settled against Constand in 2006 became public. (He admitted to giving women he wanted to have sex with Quaaludes). Subsequently, Montgomery County prosecutors quietly went to Dolores Troiani, one of Constand’s attorneys, to see if she’d cooperate if they reopened her case. Troiani went on to testify at a hearing on the case in February 2016.

That year, Kevin Steele, the county’s First Assistant District Attorney at the time, was running for District Attorney of Montgomery County and released a television ad criticizing his opponent, Bruce L. Castor Jr., for deciding not to prosecute Cosby in 2005. Steele won the election — and on December 30, 2015, Cosby was arrested and charged with Constand’s sexual assault.

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