On Thursday, a jury of five women and seven men found Bill Cosby was guilty on all three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand. For the dozens of women who have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct, it was a significant win. And the photos from Cosby's sexual assault trial show just how much was at stake in this case.
The guilty verdict comes after hours of deliberation and following testimony from several women who accuse Cosby of sexual abuse. It was the second time a jury had come together to decide on a verdict; the first trial in 2017 ended with a hung jury.
In the first trial, only two women, including Constand, were allowed to testify in court about Cosby. This time, the disgraced comedian faced six accusers: Constand, whom Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted in his home in 2004; former model Janice Dickinson, who claims he similarly drugged and assaulted her in a hotel room in Lake Tahoe in the '80s; Janice Baker-Kinney, who says Cosby gave her pills at a house party then sexually assaulted her; Heidi Thomas, who claims he gave her a glass of wine and then woke up with Cosby "forcing himself in [her] mouth"; Chelan Lasha, who accuses Cosby of giving her a blue pill ostensibly for her cold but that knocked her out; and Lise-Lotte Lublin, who says Cosby gave her a glass of wine that left her practically unconscious for two days. (Cosby has denied all allegations.)
Other women who accused Cosby of sexual misconduct did not get to testify, but they were present each day the retrial was in session. On Thursday, after the jury announced its verdict, many of them broke down, hugging each other in relief.
Cosby was found guilty of three counts: penetration with lack of consent, penetration while unconscious, and penetration after administering an intoxicant. He could potentially face a 30-year prison sentence; Cosby will turn 81 in July.
When the verdict was announced, Cosby reportedly sat down in his chair and fell silent. According to The New York Times, after Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele asked Judge Steven O'Neill to revoke Cosby's $1 million bail and suggested that he could escape on a personal plane, Cosby lashed out, reportedly shouting in third person: "He doesn’t have a plane, you *sshole."
Cosby's attorney called the verdict "disappointing" and said they plan to appeal it. "The fight is not over," his lawyer Thomas Mesereau said. Judge O'Neill is expected to hand down a sentence within 60 to 90 days of the jury's verdict; the state of Pennsylvania does not allow a conviction to be appealed after the sentencing.
Sexual abuse accusations have ircled Cosby for a long time, though they only seriously surfaced in recent years after comedian Hannibal Buress included it in his standup material that went viral. Since then, dozens of women have come out with allegations against Cosby, and it led to a remarkable 2015 New York Magazine cover feature of 35 women and their stories about allegedly being assaulted by him. Many more women came forward with allegations against Cosby after that.
Though the charges in both criminal trials against Cosby were based on the incident in which he drugged and sexually assaulted Constand in his Pennsylvania home in 2004, the shadow of dozens of other women's stories hung heavily on both cases.
"This is a victory not just for Andrea Constand... It is a victory for the 62 of us publicly known Cosby survivors," Lili Bernard, one of the Cosby accusers, said outside court after the verdict was announced. "It is also a victory for womanhood, and it is a victory for all sexual assault survivors, female and male."