Comedian Bill Cosby was convicted of sexual assault in April and is due to be sentenced in September. The Bill Cosby verdict was greeted as a landmark ruling for the so-called #MeToo movement in which women come forward to talk about their sexual victimization.
A jury in Pennsylvania found Cosby, 80, had sexually violated Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. It followed a mistrial the previous year against the comedian.
The #MeToo movement was mentioned during the trial. Defense attorneys for Cosby reportedly banked on a backlash against the growing #MeToo movement.
A report on ABC News noted it was described as a mob mentality “primarily based on emotion and anger” by the defense team that went as far as comparing the prosecution of Cosby to witch hunts, lynching, and McCarthyism.
That argument ultimately failed to sway the jury. Prosecutors painted the 80-year-old Cosby as a “con artist.”
The #MeToo movement gathered momentum after now-disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was reported to be a serial sexual abuser in 2017. However, the allegations against Cosby predated those of Weinstein.
Cosby was accused of rape and additional counts of sexual violence by over 50 women. Cosby was tried in June 2017 for three charges of felony aggravated indecent assault. The jury was unable to reach a decision last year.
Cosby is due to be sentenced in September after being convicted of drugging and molesting Constand at his home in 2004.
Cosby is expected to be imprisoned for at least 10 years. The comedian turns 81 in July. Cosby’s lawyers had asked to delay sentencing until December.
The #MeToo movement has led to positive changes in bringing charges against powerful figures. However, it can also lead to an automatic presumption a defendant charged with sexual assault is guilty and a prolific sex offender like Weinstein or Cosby.
In reality, many false allegations of sexual assault are brought. The defendant is innocent until proven guilty under the criminal law. If you have been charged with an offense of this nature, it’s important to hire an experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Call the Law Office of Michael West at (414) 913-1529.