After fewer than two days of deliberation, a Pennsylvania jury has declared the actor and comedian Bill Cosby guilty in connection with a 2004 sexual abuse incident at his suburban Philadelphia home.
Cosby, 80, faces a possible maximum prison sentence of 15 to 30 years.
The verdict came as vindication for dozens of women who have publicly accused Cosby of sexual abuse, harassment or attempted abuse and seemed destined to stand as a milestone in the #MeToo movement against sexual assault.
A trial on the same charges last summer ended in a mistrial with a hung jury.
Cosby was accused of drugging and sexually assaulting Constand, a former basketball player who was 30 years old at the time of the alleged incident. Cosby said the two had a consensual relationship.
Five women in addition to Constand testified for the prosecution at the trial that Cosby had assaulted them.
But the defense team called into question the motives and characters of Cosby’s accusers, branding Constand a “pathological liar” and declaring of one supporting witness: “It sounds as though she slept with every single man on the planet.”
The verdict completes a dramatic downfall for one of America’s most popular and beloved entertainers.
Cosby’s accusers have described alleged sexual assaults by him involving sedatives from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
Dozens of new accusers stepped forward after video circulated of an October 2014 stand-up routine in Philadelphia, Cosby’s hometown, in which the comedian Hannibal Buress riffed on rape accusations against Cosby.
Soon after, transcripts emerged of depositions that Cosby had given in 2005 and 2006, when he was the defendant in a civil lawsuit brought by Constand that he would ultimately settle for $3.4m.
In a September 2005 deposition, Cosby acknowledged that he had, in the past, obtained seven prescriptions in his name for Quaaludes – a powerful sedative – that he never intended to take himself.
The deposition transcripts contained this exchange between Cosby and the plaintiff’s attorney Dolores Troiani:
Troiani: When you got the Quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these Quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?
Asked by police whether he had ever had sexual intercourse with Constand, Cosby replied, according to court documents: “Never asleep nor awake.”
Cosby was a successful standup comedian and film actor and starred in hit television shows including Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids and The Cosby Show. He was also a Jell-O pitchman and later a public moralist. In 2006, he embarked on a 20-city “Call Out with Bill Cosby” tour in which he diagnosed moral failings among low-income African-Americans and largely dismissed the impacts of systemic discrimination.
Cosby’s career collapse began before his first trial in June 2017, in which a jury deliberated for five and a half-days before declaring themselves unable to reach a verdict.
Prior to that trial, a planned standup comedy tour featuring Cosby was cancelled, as were a planned NBC sitcom and a Netflix special, and more than 20 universities rescinded honorary degrees. The DC institution Ben’s Chili Bowl painted over a famous outdoor mural of African American leaders that had prominently featured him.
Amid a growing public reckoning with sexual assault and discrimination prompted by the #MeToo movement, the Cosby trial took on broad social overtones.
As Cosby arrived at the courthouse as the trial began, a topless protester with “Women’s Lives Matter” and other phrases written across her body jumped a barricade near him and was arrested.
In their closing arguments, Cosby’s lawyers encouraged jurors not to make Cosby a scapegoat. The lead defense lawyer, Thomas Mesereau Jr, who successfully represented Michael Jackson on molestation charges in 2005, said the case was based on “shallow nonsense. Because that’s what our country is full of at the moment.”
But the prosecution, in its summing up, had slammed Cosby as “nothing like the image he plays on TV”.
The assistant district attorney Kristen Feden said in an impassioned address to the jury of seven men and five women: “He utilized that image and cloaked it around himself, so he could gain the trust of young, unsuspecting women to sexually assault them and strip their ability to say no.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010
Teen Found Guilty Of Killing Shopkeeper Over Cigarette Papers
A teenager found guilty of the killing of a family man outside his Mill Hill shop after he refused to sell cigarette papers to him and his friends has been sentenced to four years’ imprisonment.
The 16-year-old from Brent was sentenced at the Old Bailey today [Friday 7 September] after being convicted of the manslaughter of Vijaykumar Patel on Monday, 9 July.
An investigation was launched after officers were initially called at about 23:45hrs on Saturday, 6 January by the London Ambulance Service to reports of a man who had been assaulted and injured on The Broadway, NW7.
Vijaykumar, 49, from the Colindale area was taken to a central London hospital for treatment but died during the evening of Monday, 8 January.
Detectives found that the victim had been at work in the shop on the evening of Saturday, 6 January. Three teenage boys came into the shop and tried to buy some items including cigarette papers. Due to concerns about their age and a potential breach of licensing laws they were refused service after they were unable to provide suitable identification.
The three were unhappy about the decision and became aggressive, threatening to vandalise the shop.
Vijaykumar and a colleague went outside after them to ensure no damage was done to the shop. The youth continued to be aggressive challenging the pair to a fight and being abusive.
Vijaykumar did not move towards or gesture at any of the group; he only went outside to ensure his shop would not be damaged. While he was waiting for them to move on he was struck by the 16-year-old boy with force across his neck causing him to fall to the floor and suffer catastrophic head injuries.
The colleague was also punched by the teenagers. He suffered minor injuries, but did not require hospital treatment.
A post-mortem examination held at Northwick Park Hospital Mortuary on Thursday, 11 January gave the provisional cause of Mr Patel’s death as head injuries.
An investigation was immediately launched by officers from the Homicide and Major Crime Command. Forensic analysis was completed at the extensive crime scene and local CCTV footage from inside and outside the shop captured those involved.
They were circulated to local CID officers and detectives, and arrested two days later on Monday, 8 January. The youth refused to cooperate with police and answered “no comment” to even the most basic questions put to him.
Two boys – [B] aged 16 and [C] aged 15 – were arrested after they attended a central London police station on the evening of Wednesday, 10 January. They were subsequently bailed.
The 16-year-old [B] was given a youth caution on Thursday, 22 March for a Section 4 Public Order Act offence in relation to his actions towards the shop owner and witness. The 15-year-old [C] was released with no further action on all matters on Friday, 19 January.
Detective Chief Inspector Luke Marks, from the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “It beggars belief that a family man with two kids has lost his life over an argument about cigarette papers that got out of hand. This was an unprovoked spontaneous incident sparked entirely by the refusal to let the suspects buy what they wanted.
“A man has lost his life for no reason other than trying to uphold the law, which is there to protect everyone – including young people.
“I would like to praise the work of the team who built a strong case, and the victim’s family and friends who have conducted themselves with the utmost dignity.
“Vijaykumar was a loving son, brother, father and husband, and his family are left mourning his death, wondering how someone could use such abhorrent and casual violence. I hope this conviction will bring some sense of justice to the family who have been devastated by Vijaykumar’s murder. He truly was a decent, hard-working family man who in no way contributed to his own demise.
“I would like to add that the local policing team in the Mill Hill area are in regular contact with business owners and other members of the community. Since this attack, officers have been meeting local retailers to provide reassurance and crime prevention advice. Officers will continue to engage with the business community to gauge any concerns they have.”
Man jailed for Grenfell fire fraud and drugs offences
A man who fraudulently obtained over £80,000 of funding that had been made available to those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire has been jailed at Isleworth Crown Court.
Yonatan Eyob, 26 (05.07.92) of no fixed address was sentenced today, (Friday, 7 September), to three years and four months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty on 30 July to one count of fraud by false representation in relation to the Grenfell Tower fire.
Eyob was also jailed for a further three years and four months – making a total of six years and eight months’ imprisonment – after pleading guilty on 6 July to the further offences of:
– possession with intent to supply class A drugs (MDMA);
– possession with intent to supply class A drugs (cocaine);
– possession with intent to supply class B drugs (ketamine);
– possession with intent to supply class B drugs (cannabis);
– possession of criminal property.
The court heard how at the time of the fire, Eyob lived next to Grenfell Tower at an address in Hurstway Walk. However, he claimed he lived within Grenfell Tower in order to claim hotel accommodation and money – in total he fraudulently claimed £86,831.55.
Officers investigating matters of fraud linked to Grenfell Tower identified Eyob as a suspect and officers attended the hotel where he was being accommodated to arrest him. On entering the room, they found a large quantity of class A and class B drugs; over 120 wraps of MDMA, 89 wraps of cocaine, 30 wraps of Ketamine and 17 wraps of cannabis.
Eyob was further arrested for drug offences.
The drugs carried a street value of over £6,500. £3,000 cash was also seized as criminal property when officers discovered the drugs.
Detective Superintendent, Matt Bonner, the senior investigating officer for Operation Northleigh, said: “It is ironic that Eyob would have legitimately qualified to financial support if he had just told the truth as at the time of the fire he was living in a residence that fell within the Grenfell Tower footprint.
“However, he chose to concoct a story which he knew was false in a bid to obtain money and accommodation.
“His fraudulent acts were further compounded when officers found quantities of drugs within the hotel room he had been given to stay in.
“Eyob now must face the consequences of his actions with considerable time in jail.”
2 dead, 4 critically injured after active shooter incident in downtown Cincinnati
Police in the US city of Cincinnati say they’ve responded to an active shooter situation at a building downtown.
The Cincinatti Police Department said in a tweet on Thursday they were investigating an “active shooter/officer involved shooting” at the Fifth Third Bank, which is located in the city’s Fountain Square, a busy meeting place.
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