Comedian Bill Cosby has been placed on house arrest until his sentencing this summer following his conviction on three counts of aggravated indecent sexual assault.
Judge Steven T. O’Neill ordered Cosby to get written permission from adult probation officials if he wants to leave his Philadelphia-area home to visit his doctor or to meet with lawyers. Those are the only movements he’s allowed, and they must be within a five-county radius of Montgomery County.
Cosby, who was convicted April 26 of assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his home in 2004, has also been fitted with a tracking device so that court officials can monitor him.
“This was a man who had evaded this moment for far too long,” Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said after the verdicts were read.
Steele said Cosby had “shown his true colors” when the legendary entertainer called him an “a—hole” after the prosecutor argued that he should be immediately locked up following the verdict.
O’Neill ruled that Cosby could remain free on the same $1 million bail he posted when he was arraigned in December 2015.
“We still believe that Mr. Cosby is innocent of these charges,” said lead defense attorney Tom Mesereau. “The fight isn’t over.”
About an hour after the verdict and before Cosby left the courthouse, several of his defense team members huddled, including attorneys Jaya Gupta and Rachael Robinson, both sobbing.
While they didn’t offer comment, when told they had done a remarkable job, both Gupta and Robinson nodded and said, “Thank you,” barely able to compose themselves.
Chief Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt was also emotional afterward, comparing the trial to the case of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old Mississippi African-American boy whose lynching after he was accused of whistling at a white woman ignited the civil rights movement.
“This became a public lynching,” Wyatt said. “What Gloria Allred was able to do, she took a salt and pepper shaker. She shook out a lot of salt and sprinkled in a little black pepper and the South came East.”
Cosby publicist Ebonee Benson, who would join Wyatt on morning television shows in the days following the verdict, said the comparison to Till is real.
“We can take a look at Emmett Till,” she said. “Since when are all women honest?”
Several television analysts questioned the verdict.
Lawyer and CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson, who before the verdicts said the case should have been declared a mistrial, said after the decision that Cosby’s team has “many grounds for appeal.”
He said he was stunned by the verdict as well as the swiftness in which the jury delivered it.
“Certainly, the prosecution put up vigorous case … but I thought the defense did a significant job of discrediting Andrea Constand, giving the jury an indication that there was a number of lies she told over a period of time,” Jackson said.
“The first trial took them 52 hours and they were hung,” he said. “This time it took 15 hours and they convict, so here we go. I think the most significant grounds was the five accusers. In the first trial there was one and when you have five they just have such prejudicial value and I think it just overwhelmed the jury. That’s probably the biggest point in attempting to get Bill Cosby a new trial.”
Jackson called the issue “significant” and one that might allow Cosby, whose facing 30 years in prison, to remain free through the appeal process.
Several other observers said Cosby got a raw deal.
“This isn’t the way the justice system is supposed to work,” said Tamela Wright of Norristown. “The way this trial was staged, you knew that something nefarious was in the works, that the judge, the prosecutor and other forces were working against Bill Cosby and it shows again that, no matter your means, Black men in America are at the mercy of a racist, tainted justice system.”