BREAKING NEWS : Jury reaches verdict at trial over George Floyd's death Full Story
SEVERE WX : Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Cosby accuser 'exhilarated' to hear guilty verdict

Kristina Ruehli says Bill Cosby drugged and assaulted her in 1965. She joins The Lead to react to the new guilty verdict against the comedian.

Posted: Apr 27, 2018 1:36 PM
Updated: Apr 27, 2018 1:39 PM

Based on his conviction this week on three assault charges, comedian and TV star Bill Cosby could be sentenced to 30 years in prison.

But legal experts said the 80-year-old certainly will spend less time than that behind bars, and there's a very real possibility that he may not ever be incarcerated.

Why? Well, it's mostly to do with his defense team's plan to appeal the guilty verdict -- likely on the grounds that the decision to allow five other accusers to testify in the trial unfairly prejudiced the jury.

Cosby's attorney, Tom Mesereau, will probably ask the court that his client be given home confinement during the appeal, which could take months or even years, CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson said.

"I think he'll ask the court and do whatever he needs to, to have his client remain out at liberty until these issues are decided, whether it was appropriate to allow all those accusers to testify, and how prejudicial and unfair would that be," Jackson said.

The decision on Cosby's bail is up to Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O'Neill, who oversaw the case. His prior rulings suggest he may allow Cosby to remain on home confinement.

On Thursday, O'Neill dismissed the prosecution's plea to revoke Cosby's $1 million bail and remand him to jail.

"I'm not simply going to lock him up right now," the judge said, citing his age and his track record of appearing at every hearing for two and a half years.

"You are making a very big deal of something where there is a very high bail and he has appeared at every appearance," O'Neill said.

For now, Cosby is not permitted to leave his Pennsylvania home. If he does leave the state for another home, it would have to be arranged ahead of time and he would have to wear a GPS monitoring device, the judge ruled.

If O'Neill does allow Cosby to remain free during appeals, and the legal action lasts for years, then there's a question of whether the comedian's age and health will make that sentence moot.

What his team is likely to appeal

Cosby's appeal is likely to focus on the five "prior bad acts" witnesses who testified that Cosby drugged and assaulted them in the 1980s. Prosecutors said these witnesses showed that Cosby had a common pattern or scheme in his assault of Andrea Constand.

Comments on "Good Morning America" Friday by Cosby representatives Ebonee Benson and Andrew Wyatt previewed some of the possible appeal arguments. Benson and Wyatt, who are not attorneys, said that the "prior bad acts" witnesses unfairly prejudiced the jury on issues that were not related to the actual charges.

"They also had a huge amount of prejudice and bias by having five women also testify to crimes which he was not on trial for," Benson said.

"These women have no evidence. They went to no authorities," Wyatt said. "(Prosecutors) parade these five distracters in to tell stories and talk about the drug habits they had."

But Michelle Madden Dempsey, a criminal law professor at Villanova University, said she thought Cosby's attorneys had a very weak case on these questions.

"Was it prejudicial to Cosby's case in the sense that it hurt his chances of getting an acquittal? Sure. But it needs to be unfairly prejudicial (for a successful appeal)," she said.

Dempsey said these witnesses had clear probative value, which means they were useful evidence to prove something important in the trial.

"So did it hurt (Cosby's) case? Of course it did. But that's what evidence of guilt does to guilty people. It hurts your case," she said. "I think he's got a very weak appeal with respect to the other acts witnesses."

Why he'll get a reduced sentence

Though Cosby faces a maximum of 30 years in prison, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele indicated he would not press for that sentence.

"He was convicted of three counts of (indecent assault), so technically that would be up to 30 years. However, we have to look at a merger of those counts to determine what the final maximum will be," Steele said.

Legal analyst Areva Martin said the judge's rulings so far suggest he will give Cosby a much reduced sentence.

"I think the fact that the judge yesterday allowed him to walk out of that courtroom, did not remand him immediately to jail, gives us a sense about what this judge is likely to do when he gets to the sentencing hearing," she said.

Judges can take any number of mitigating factors into consideration when issuing a sentence, she explained.

"He will be able to take into consideration Cosby's age, the status of his health, the philanthropic work that he's done over the last several decades, the fact that this is his first criminal conviction -- all of those will be factors that the judge can take into consideration when sentencing him."

A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.

'Essential he spend time in jail'

Some women who say they were also assaulted by Cosby believe he should spend time in prison.

"I believe that it's essential he spend time in jail and it wouldn't break my heart to see him spend the rest of his life in jail," Janice Baker-Kinney said Friday.

But ultimately, the length of his sentence would not change his guilty conviction.

"Whether he ends up serving time in jail or if he dies during the appeals process, that doesn't remove the fact that he has been convicted," Dempsey said. "That's definitely an important moment in history."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 708779

Reported Deaths: 13226
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion966191721
Lake51761946
Allen39224672
Hamilton34549405
St. Joseph34157541
Elkhart27356432
Vanderburgh22081394
Tippecanoe21853212
Porter17935299
Johnson17544374
Hendricks16822310
Clark12697190
Madison12353337
Vigo12219244
Monroe11469166
LaPorte11162204
Delaware10366184
Howard9664211
Kosciusko9134114
Hancock7990139
Bartholomew7893155
Warrick7691155
Floyd7563176
Wayne6906198
Grant6844171
Boone6556100
Morgan6405138
Dubois6085117
Marshall5786108
Dearborn570376
Cass5685102
Henry5579101
Noble542683
Jackson493569
Shelby479495
Lawrence4342118
Gibson429089
Harrison428570
Clinton419753
Montgomery418086
DeKalb411184
Whitley380239
Huntington379880
Miami372865
Knox366689
Steuben365757
Putnam353160
Jasper350946
Wabash347878
Adams338052
Ripley334668
Jefferson313180
White308454
Daviess289499
Wells286481
Decatur279092
Fayette277262
Greene270785
Posey268833
Scott261153
LaGrange253670
Clay253544
Randolph235680
Washington231031
Spencer228031
Jennings225047
Fountain208845
Sullivan207942
Starke204752
Owen192356
Fulton192039
Jay186429
Carroll185920
Perry180736
Orange177853
Rush170724
Vermillion166043
Franklin165635
Tipton161043
Parke144616
Blackford133831
Pike130334
Pulaski113845
Newton104234
Brown100140
Crawford97614
Benton97113
Martin82915
Warren79715
Switzerland7698
Union69910
Ohio55811
Unassigned0408

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1054807

Reported Deaths: 18991
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1225191356
Cuyahoga1074592069
Hamilton783261168
Montgomery50176996
Summit45557909
Lucas40298765
Butler37768570
Stark31513895
Lorain24246473
Warren23910293
Mahoning20946583
Lake20067362
Clermont19459229
Delaware18085130
Licking16149207
Fairfield15757197
Trumbull15627460
Medina14922259
Greene14706236
Clark13660293
Wood12806185
Portage12431196
Allen11352229
Richland11067198
Miami10548214
Muskingum8717127
Wayne8594209
Columbiana8569226
Pickaway8439121
Marion8390135
Tuscarawas8387240
Erie7600154
Hancock6730123
Ross6707146
Geauga6553146
Ashtabula6530165
Scioto6295101
Belmont5634158
Union558447
Lawrence5470102
Jefferson5343147
Huron5314114
Darke5273121
Sandusky5189120
Seneca5139120
Washington5087107
Athens503856
Auglaize476284
Mercer471984
Shelby456590
Knox4397108
Madison423959
Putnam421799
Ashland413488
Fulton410567
Defiance404296
Crawford3883101
Brown386955
Logan374476
Preble371098
Clinton362160
Ottawa357978
Highland347459
Williams328674
Champaign321557
Jackson308551
Guernsey307549
Perry290549
Fayette278048
Morrow275939
Hardin264764
Henry264366
Coshocton259857
Holmes253499
Van Wert239262
Pike233831
Gallia233446
Adams229152
Wyandot227553
Hocking209759
Carroll189447
Paulding168838
Meigs141738
Noble132937
Monroe128941
Morgan106823
Harrison105636
Vinton81614
Unassigned02
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 26°
Angola
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 25°
Huntington
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 27°
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 26°
Lima
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 34°
Significantly cold air settles in across northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio Tuesday night.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events