The jury that convicted Bill Cosby at his sexual assault retrial said that its decision was only influenced by what happened in court, and the youngest member of the panel said that the comedian’s own words sealed his fate.
Harrison Snyder said in an interview aired Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that Cosby’s deposition — in which he admitted giving women drugs to have sex with them — was the evidence that made him believe he was guilty.
“I think it was his deposition, really. Mr. Cosby admitted to giving these quaaludes to women, young women, in order to have sex with them,” Snyder said of a deposition that was part of a civil case brought by accuser Andrea Constand.
The 22-year-old said it “wasn’t an open and shut case,” but that he had no doubt the jury made the right decision in convicting Cosby Thursday on three counts of aggravated indecent assault.
The investigation into Cosby was reopened in July 2015 after a federal judge, acting on a request from The Associated Press, unsealed portions of Cosby’s deposition testimony from a civil lawsuit he settled with Constand in 2006 for $3.4 million. In the testimony, which was read to jurors at both trials, he described giving quaaludes to women before sex in the 1970s and his encounters with Constand, a Temple University women’s basketball administrator.
Snyder said he didn’t know much about the 80-year-old comedian before the trial and knew nothing of the allegations.
“I knew he was an actor, I knew he did the ‘Cosby Show.’ I never watched the ‘Cosby Show,’ I’m a little too young for that,” Snyder said
Cosby, 80, is now a prisoner in his own suburban Philadelphia home and faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life behind bars as he awaits sentencing within the next three months on three counts of aggravated indecent assault. He has maintained his innocence. His publicist has declared his conviction a “public lynching,” and his lawyers have vowed to appeal.
NBC’s “Today” show said Monday the Cosby jury issued a statement saying its decision was not influenced in any way by factors other than what was seen and heard in the courtroom. They said race and the #MeToo movement were never discussed.
“After thoughtful and meticulous consideration of the information and evidence provided to us, we came to our unanimous verdict,” the jury said in the statement. “Not once were race or the #metoo movement ever discussed, nor did either factor into our decision, as implied in various media outlets.”
Prosecutor Kristen Feden told The Associated Press in an interview Saturday that in the tense moments before the jury convicted Cosby, she started to worry about the global implications if the #MeToo era’s first big trial went the other way.
“I felt like this verdict could dictate something more,” Feden said. “If they found him not guilty, I felt like they were feeding into every character assassination on sex crime victims.”
Cosby’s lawyers have vowed to appeal, but prosecutors said they are confident Cosby’s conviction will stand.
Two days after Cosby’s conviction, law books and papers were still strewn on a long table in the war room where prosecutors plotted their strategy: leading off with an expert to educate the jury in victim behavior, successfully fighting to call five additional accusers and fending off the defense’s allegations that Constand was a scammer framing Cosby for a big payday.
The additional accusers allowed prosecutors to uncloak the man once revered as America’s Dad as a manipulative predator who used his built-in trust to trick women into taking powerful intoxicants so he could violate them. One woman pointedly called Cosby a “serial rapist,” and another asked him through her tears, “You remember, don’t you, Mr. Cosby?”
Feden, who worked out a deal to stay as a special prosecutor after leaving for private practice, said she felt “that needed to be exposed.”
“That was the most sickening part of this all,” she said. “When people in positions of power use that power to victimize people, I find that to be beyond disgusting.”
The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, as Constand has done.