Thursday 22 February 2018

Charges against comedian Bill Cosby

Prosecutors have vowed to try Bill Cosby again, declaring the woman who accuses the comedian of drugging and molesting her at his home in Philadelphia in 2004 is "entitled to a verdict."

Here are the charges against him, which remain active despite the mis-trial that was declared after the jury reached a deadlock:

:: What is Cosby accused of?

Drugging and sexually violating a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. Andrea Constand says Cosby gave her pills that made her paralysed and unable to fight him off as he groped her breast and genitals. His lawyers said they were in a romantic relationship and what happened was consensual.

:: What is he charged with?

Three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault, each covering a different aspect of the alleged crime. Count 1 alleges that Cosby did not have consent when he penetrated Constand's genitals with his fingers. Count 2 alleges she was unconscious or semi-conscious at the time and could not give consent. Count 3 alleges all this happened after he gave her an intoxicant that substantially impaired her and stopped her from resisting.

:: How much time could he have faced?

Each of the three counts carries a standard sentence range of five to 10 years in prison. But experts say that if he had been convicted, it is likely Cosby's attorneys would have been able to successfully argue the charges be combined for sentencing purposes, since they cover the same encounter and conduct. Under state sentencing guidelines, a conviction would have put Cosby, 79, in prison at least until he was 84.

:: What was the worst-cast scenario for Cosby?

Pennsylvania law allows sentencing judges to consider uncharged conduct. In Cosby's case, that could have involved the more than 60 other women who have accused him of assaults dating to the 1960s. Duquesne University law professor Wes Oliver said if Cosby had been convicted, those allegations could have compelled Judge Steven O'Neill to sentence him closer to 10 years.

:: Would he have had to register as a sex offender?

Yes. If he had been convicted, prosecutors say Cosby would have had to register as a sex offender and face an assessment to determine whether he was a sexually violent predator.


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