By now, you’ve heard the “King of Pudding” was convicted of three felony rape counts. His first trial ended in a hung jury. That means that jurors couldn’t agree to a unanimous verdict. So what changed from the first to the second trial that led to his conviction? It’s a simple formula: 5 is better than 2…as in 5 victims testifying for the prosecution is better than only two victims. For reasons the judge failed to articulate, he allowed five of Cosby’s prior rape victims to testify in the second trial while previously only allowing two. That certainly aided the prosecutions’ efforts of tipping the scales of evidence to “proof beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt.”
As persuasive as the five testifying victims were, what jurors found equally, if not more compelling, were Cosby’s own words. No, he didn’t take the witness stand. That was a good strategic decision as he would have been obliterated on cross examination. His words were those he spoke to civil lawyers in a prior civil suit. In that deposition, which was read to jurors, Cosby admitted under oath a number of disturbing things, which jurors found to be proof of guilt. The most compelling admission was his use of Quaaludes which he liked to provide to young women in order to induce them to have sex with him. He gave them out to women like non rapists give out drinks to their dates. He also admitted that he went to great lengths to conceal these affairs from his wife, who he calls, “Mrs. Cosby.”
As persuasive as his own words were, there was something that jurors found even more compelling. They found the lead victim, Andrea Constand, credible. In spite of the blistering and passionate attacks on her credibility, the defense couldn’t make her appear to be a liar. Truth carried the day. Apparently, all the possible ulterior motives raised by the defense were rejected by the jury.
Many are thinking, “Well, since the judge didn’t immediately take into custody convicted rapist Cosby right after the verdict, then that means he won’t be sending him to prison.” That’s not necessarily true. The judge’s decision to allow Cosby to remain out of custody pending a lengthy appeal process is an entirely separate issue than what the ultimate sentence will be. The judge recognizes that there are some potential appellate issues here, like whether all five victims should have been allowed to testify in his second trial. While unlikely, the convictions could possibly be reversed. With the potential of a reversal down the road, judges typically want to avoid someone serving time until the conviction is final. Also, the judge found that Cosby has been abiding by the conditions of his bond during the two and a half years this case has been pending and, also, he’s shown up to court every time he’s been requested to appear. The judge believes that Cosby’s chances of fleeing and/or endangering the community while remaining on bond during his appeal are low.
Assuming the likely scenario that Cosby’s convictions are upheld, the judge will probably sentence him to prison. It would be political suicide for him to give him something like probation for a case like this, where the offenses are so heinous and the public generally supports a prison term. Yes, there are mitigating factors weighing in Cosby’s favor. The judge should consider things like Cosby’s lack of prior criminal convictions, his age, his poor health, his community service etc. when imposing the sentence. However, those mitigators are significantly outweighed by the aggravating factors, which will likely result in a prison term.
In case you’re wondering, “Do I think that justice was served?” Um, yes!