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UPDATE: 'Finally, women are believed' — Cosby accusers' lawyer

Thursday, April 26, 2018

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NORRISTOWN, United States (AFP) — A lawyer for several woman who have accused Bill Cosby of sexual misconduct hailed the guilty verdict against him Thursday as a major victory for women and the #MeToo reckoning against sexual assault, as the entertainer's attorney vowed to appeal.

"We are so happy that finally we can say, women are believed," attorney Gloria Allred told reporters after the verdict was handed down.

"And not only on #Metoo, but in a court of law."

Cosby's attorney Tom Mesereau declared himself "very, very disappointed" by the verdict in the case and vowed to appeal.

"We don't think Mr Cosby's guilty of anything and the fight is not over," he said.

The district attorney who presided over Bill Cosby's conviction for sexual assault hailed the guilty verdict on Thursday as an act of justice and accused the disgraced icon of preying on women for decades.

"Today we're finally in a place to say that justice has been done," an emotional Kevin Steele told a news conference alongside a smiling Andrea Constand, whom the actor was convicted of assaulting.

The prosecutor said he hoped the verdict would send a "strong message" to other victims of sexual assault to come forward and report crimes.

"Money and power or who you are will not stop us from a criminal investigation or prosecuting a case," Steele said.

He said Cosby spent "decades preying on women that he drugged and sexually assaulted" and had evaded a conviction "far too long."

"He used his celebrities. He used his wealth, he used his network of supporters to help him conceal his crimes. Now we know today who was behind that act, who the real Bill Cosby was," he added.

The disgraced cultural icon faces years in prison and will be sentenced by Judge Steven O'Neill in Montgomery County court in Norristown, a Philadelphia suburb.

The date for a sentencing hearing is typically issued within 60 to 90 days, Steele said.

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