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Bill Cosby found guilty in sexual assault trial

A jury in Pennsylvania on Thursday found comedian Bill Cosby guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

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A seven-man, five-woman jury found him guilty of drugging and molesting onetime friend Andrea Constand in 2004, Reuters reported. The 80-year-old star of "The Cosby Show" faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for each charge of aggravated indecent assault.

The conviction is the first of a celebrity accused of sexual assault in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

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"Cosby's conviction will reverberate for women across the country and give survivors hope that justice can prevail," Sonia Ossorio, president of the National Organization for Women of New York, said in a statement after the verdict was read. 

“To all those who helped to cover Cosby’s tracks, and to anyone who has been complicit in a similar scenario, this verdict is a monumental moment in the transformation of our culture that is underway, creating a new awareness that predators – no matter who they are, from the Catholic Church to Wall Street to Hollywood – can no longer be protected at the expense of victims.”

Cosby stared straight ahead as the verdict was read. Shrieks erupted in the courtroom and some of his other accusers whimpered and cried.

The Associated Press reported that Cosby lashed out at prosecutors after jurors left the courtroom Thursday, using an expletive to refer to District Attorney Kevin Steele -- who was arguing to revoke Cosby’s bail -- and shouting "I'm sick of him!"

A judge granted Cosby a $1 million bond as he awaits sentencing.

Steele thanked the victims who were willing to come forward and praised his team in a sometimes emotional news conference after the verdict was read.

"We have shown from our record that money or power or who you are will not stop us ... from prosecuting a case," Steele said. "(Cosby) used his celebrity, he used his wealth, he used his network of supporters to cover up his crime."

Constand's attorney, Dolores Troiani, thanked prosecutors and investigators and praised her client for coming forward.

"I'd ask you to bear in mind that when something like this happens to someone -- male, female, whoever -- they have to work every day to be happy," she said. "That's something that she's had to work at everyday since January of 2004, when this happened to her. This is a life-altering experience for anyone, any victim. And the person who I think needs to be heralded for what she's done is Andrea."

Tom Mesereau, Cosby's lead attorney, called the verdict disappointing while speaking briefly outside the courthouse Thursday.

"We don't think Mr. Cosby is guilty of anything and the fight will continue," Mesereau said.

Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents 32 women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault, hailed the verdict as a victory for women.

"We are so happy that finally we can say women are believed and not only on #MeToo but in a court of law," Allred said. "After all is said and done, women were finally believed, and we thank the jury so much for that."

Lili Bernard, who guest starred on "The Cosby Show" and accused Cosby of drugging and raping her in the late 1980s, broke into tears after the verdict was read.

"I feel like my faith in humanity is restored," she said.

The guilty verdict came less than a year after another jury deadlocked on the same charges. 

Jurors deliberated for more than 52 hours over six days in June 2017, but they couldn’t reach a unanimous decision on whether Cosby drugged and molested Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home, The Associated Press reported. 

Cosby maintained that he and Constand shared a consensual sexual encounter. Cosby's attorney said Constand was a "con artist" who leveled false accusations against Cosby so that she could sue him.

Dozens of women have made high-profile accusations that Cosby had drugged and assaulted them, but Constand’s case is the only case to result in criminal charges against Cosby. 

Celebrities took to social media to share reactions to Thursday's verdict:

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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