Guilty: Bill Cosby convicted of drugging and molesting a woman in 2004

If you’re of a certain age, as I am, the realization that Dr. Huxtable is highly likely to die in prison is world-shaking. “America’s Dad” is now a convicted sexual predator.

The verdict is gratifying not just on the merits but in the example it sets for other prosecutors mulling charges against high-profile #MeToo suspects, including and especially the degenerate supremo, Harvey Weinstein. If they can get Cosby for something that happened 15 years ago, you can get the celebrity dirtbag in your own jurisdiction.

The jury in his first trial hung last summer, a few months before the Weinstein exposes were published in the Times and New Yorker and the lid came off Hollywood predation. Maybe the jury in the retrial was more credulous about the accusations than they would have been pre-Pervnado. Or maybe the court’s decision to allow multiple Cosby accusers to testify at this trial as evidence of an M.O. cinched it. Last year just two women took the stand. This time six did. He’s been accused by … more than 50.

The three counts — penetration with lack of consent, penetration while unconscious, and penetration after administering an intoxicant — are felonies, each punishable by up to 10 years in state prison, though the sentences could be served concurrently…

The defense’s star witness was a veteran academic adviser at Temple, Mr. Cosby’s alma mater, who said [accuser Andrea] Constand had confided in her in 2004 that she could make money by falsely claiming that she had been molested by a prominent person. Mr. Cosby paid Ms. Constand $3.38 million in 2006 as part of the confidential financial settlement of a lawsuit she had brought against him after prosecutors had originally declined to bring charges.

But Ms. Constand said she had never spoken with the adviser and prosecutors rebutted the characterization of Ms. Constand as a schemer. Perhaps most damaging to Mr. Cosby, they were able to introduce testimony from five other women who told jurors they believed they too had been drugged and sexually assaulted by Mr. Cosby in separate incidents in the 1980s…

When Ms. Constand’s mother called to confront Mr. Cosby about a year after the incident, the prosecution argued, the defendant’s apology, and his offer to pay for her schooling, therapy and a trip to Florida, were evidence he knew he had done something wrong.

Cosby reached a settlement with Constand for $3.38 million in 2006, a fact that the jury was allowed to hear. His deposition testimony in 2005 as part of her civil suit, in which he admitted to giving women Quaaludes before sex, was also part of the record. Presumably he thought that by paying Constand off, he had effectively short-circuited any possibility of criminal prosecution. In reality the payoff became evidence against him on the theory that an innocent man, however rich, wouldn’t hand over millions to an accuser if there was nothing to her claims. A lot of wealthy men, starting with Harvey Weinstein, are uneasily digesting that fact this afternoon.

Cosby didn’t take the verdict well:

Here, as in all of the prominent #MeToo cases, the cliche that predators crave power more so than sex proves true. Cosby, Weinstein, and the rest of the pervert A-list all had fame and money to burn. Getting laid was no problem. But it wasn’t what they were after.

Cosby will turn 81 in July and his appeals are apt to keep him free for awhile. He got a taste of justice today but may never see a cell due to his age. For all intents and purposes, he got away with it. But the verdict is gratifying anyway, not because he’s about to do many years of hard time but because this is now his legacy. He was a star for more than 50 years. And this is what he’ll be remembered for, rightly. His life’s work is up in smoke.

Who’ll be the last American to watch a “Fat Albert” rerun?