In a retrial of Bill Cosby’s case, a Norristown, PA jury of seven men and five women found him guilty of all three counts of sexual assault without consent and by drugging a victim who was incapable of consenting to sex. Cosby faces a maximum of 30 years in prison. There are many factors that can cause a retrial to end with a conviction. The main factor in the Cosby case was the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement which exposed other alleged sexual predators such as Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Harvey Weinstein, Russell Simmons, former Senator Al Franken, Kevin Spacey and a host of others.
For the first time, women alleging sexual assault and or harassment were viewed with less suspicion. The change in the nation’s attitudes towards sexual harassment swayed against Mr. Cosby in his retrial. Despite the inconsistencies in the victim, Andrea Constant’s accounts and a more aggressive defense by Mr. Cosby’s new lawyers, a more aggressive prosecutorial case brought in the long sought after verdict. Five other women testified in the prosecution’s case with one woman crying on the stand—despite the length of time since her encounter.
The defense changed counsel to Tom Messereau for the second trial. Messereau is known for the not guilty verdict in the Michael Jackson molestation trial. He used a more aggressive style. A more aggressive style apparently didn’t help the defense. Calling the victim a “pathological liar” and a “con artist” backfired. When I try cases, I never flat out call someone a liar, even if the evidence supports it. Often times, juries like to reach that decision on their own. The defense also likened the victim’s testimony to a “lynching”. As an African American, if I were sitting on the jury, I would have been completely offended by that characterization. Mr. Cosby’s case or the victim’s accusations do not amount to a lynching comparison. He is not facing a capitol crime for which he could receive the death penalty.
Cosby was seen laughing at times. While that may be his personality, I always tell my clients that any facial expression should be flat without smirks, laughing or any other emotions showing. I guess Mr. Cosby’s lawyer failed to give him that advice. Jurors are watching a defendant’s every move. The defense should know every little thing adds up.
The testimony took twice as long in the retrial. The deliberations were swift—suggesting that the prosecution’s case was believed by most of the jurors going into deliberations. When the victim was asked why did she agree to take the stand again, she replied two words—“for justice.” This time, justice was won for Andrea Constand and all the other victims sharing in her story. #TimesUp for Bill Cosby.
Washington, DC based Debbie Hines is an attorney, legal analyst and former Baltimore prosecutor.