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Vox Sentences: Bill Cosby gets his comeuppance

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Bill Cosby is found guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand; relations get worse between Kuwait and the Philippines.


#MeToo wins one of its first criminal convictions

Mark Makela/Getty Images
  • Ten months after a pre-#MeToo trial ended with a hung jury, Bill Cosby was found guilty Thursday on three counts of aggravated indecent assault. [Vox / Jen Kirby]
  • At this point, more than 50 women have come forward with sexual assault allegations against Cosby. But today’s ruling was only about charges brought by Andrea Constand, 45, who said that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her at his home in January 2004. [NBC News / Meredith Mandell, Adam Reiss, and Daniella Silva]
  • Constand is the only accuser for whom the statute of limitations on a sexual assault case had not yet run out. But her story of visiting Cosby’s home under the guise of mentorship, only to be given pills for “relaxation” and be “jolted awake” by the feeling of his fingers penetrating her as she lay on a couch, was remarkably similar to the allegations leveled by the other women. [NYT / Graham Bowley and Jon Hurdle]
  • Five of the other accusers testified during Constand’s trial in order to establish whether Cosby exhibited a pattern of behavior. This tactic succeeded in painting a damning portrait of the man once known as “America’s dad,” and put the five women under the microscope as attorneys for Cosby asked pointed questions about their history of drug abuse, criminal backgrounds, personal relationships, and sex lives. [USA Today / Maria Puente, Gene Sloan, and Jayme Deerwester]
  • Prosecutors never brought up #MeToo to the jury during the trial. But one of Cosby’s lawyers, Kathleen Bliss, made a clear attack on the movement when she told the panel, “When you join a movement based mostly on emotion and anger, you don’t change a damn thing.” She went on to compare the dozens of accusations against Cosby to a “witch hunt,” echoing rhetoric used by President Trump. [NPR / Laura Benshoff and Bobby Allyn]
  • In a particularly dramatic moment, one prosecutor sought (unsuccessfully) to revoke Cosby’s bail, pointing to Cosby’s private plane as evidence that he could be a flight risk. At that point, Cosby, who didn’t testify in his own defense, stood up and yelled: “He doesn’t have a private plane, you asshole.” [CNN / Darran Simon]
  • A sentencing date for Cosby hasn’t been set yet, but 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. Although the sentences could be served concurrently, it’s also possible that Cosby will be let off with as little as five years behind bars. [Washington Post / Manuel Roig-Franzia]
  • After the trial, Gloria Allred, who represented 33 of the accusers, spoke to reporters about what the Cosby conviction means for the future of the movement to hold perpetrators of sexual violence accountable, saying, “We are so happy that finally we can say women are believed, and not only on #MeToo, but in a court of law where they were under oath, where they testified truthfully, where they were attacked, where they were smeared.” [Atlantic / Megan Garber]

Tension between the Philippines and Kuwait

  • The relationship between the Philippines and Kuwait has been rocky since February, when the body of a Filipina maid was discovered in her employer’s freezer in Kuwait. The gruesome discovery prompted Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to bar his citizens from taking new jobs in the country, and has led to an ongoing dispute over how the roughly 175,000 Filipinos who are still employed as domestic workers in Kuwait are treated. [NYT / Felipe Villamor]
  • On Wednesday, tensions between the two countries went from bad to worse when Philippine Ambassador Renato Villa was declared persona non grata and given one week to leave the oil-rich Arab state. In the meantime, Kuwait recalled its own envoy in Manila. [Philippine Star / Pia Lee-Brago]
  • The orders followed a dramatic “rescue operation” of domestic workers who said they had been abused by their Kuwaiti employers. The effort, which critics say was merely a stunt, was carried out by staff of the Philippine Embassy and later posted on social media in the hope of embarrassing Kuwait. [BBC]
  • Despite all this, the Philippines has apparently expressed a desire to reconcile. “We hope that this is Kuwait’s way of just expressing its anger ... and we believe and hope that the passage of time will heal all wounds and will lead to the normalization of ties,” said Duterte’s spokesperson, Harry Roque. [Arab News]
  • The desire for improved relations between the countries goes both ways: Kuwait depends on Filipino workers, especially during the upcoming observation of Ramadan, and the Philippine economy depends on the earnings sent home by the 10 million Filipinos working abroad. [Time via the AP / Hussain al-Qatari]

Miscellaneous

  • Yes, the romaine lettuce fiasco really is that bad. It’s now officially the largest multi-state E. coli outbreak since 2006. [NYT / Niraj Chokshi]
  • Japan’s rent-a-family industry blurs lines between the personal and the professional. [New Yorker / Elif Batuman]
  • The closing of an indie beauty brand and its subsequent lawsuit against Sephora shows how complicated (and expensive) it is to sell beauty products. [Racked / Cheryl Wischhover]
  • In strange and concerning historical facts: The US once accidentally dropped two nuclear bombs on North Carolina. (Thankfully, neither of them detonated.) [Atlas Obscura / Sarah Laskow]

Verbatim

“Women are so used to carrying that burden, and are socialized to think it’s our responsibility. ... But I think women would be willing to have more protection.” [Adrienne Ton, whose boyfriend has been part of clinical trials for three different male contraceptive methods, to Time / Alexandra Sifferlin]


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