Bill Cosby isn’t one for tweeting often, but on Thursday, the 78-year-old comedian took to social media with a special message for his family and friends.
The message simply said “Thank You.”
Friends and fans, Thank You.
— Bill Cosby (@BillCosby) January 1, 2016
Cosby’s tweet comes after the former Cosby Show star was charged with aggravated indecent assault on Wednesday, a crime that, if convicted, could put Cosby behind bars for up to 10 years. The punishment also carries a $25,000 fine. The aggravated indecent assault charge is considered a second-degree felony.
After he was charged, Bill Cosby’s bail was set at $1 million. Cosby was released after he posted $100,000 (the requisite 10 percent) and surrendered his passport. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for January 14.
Allegations against Cosby include the 2004 drugging and sexual assault of former Temple University employee Andrea Constand. The alleged assault is said to have taken place at Cosby’s mansion in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, according to reports.
The charges are the first filed against Cosby, who has been embroiled in a multitude of allegations throughout the past year. In total, more than 50 women have come forward to accuse Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting them.
Throughout all of the allegations, Cosby has maintained his innocence, and on Thursday, his lawyer spoke to the Today show to publicly defend Cosby. Monique Pressley said she and Cosby will not even consider a plea bargain.
“My client is not guilty and there will be no consideration on our part of any sort of arrangement.”
Pressley went on to say that she could not speak to Cosby’s state of mind at the time, although she said that he’s understandable upset.
“I can’t testify really about his state of mind. Personally, he’s been accused unjustly of a crime, so certainly that’s upsetting. But he’s in good spirits and he knows that he has a legal team that is intent on defending him until he’s exonerated.”
Cosby has acknowledged having sexual relations with Constand more than a decade ago, but he contends that the sex was consensual. Charges against Cosby were filed just days before the 12-year statute of limitations would have expired. According to CBS News, Constand, 42, previously reported an incident involving Cosby in 2005, but at the time, the district attorney declined to file criminal charges against the comedian.
Later, prosecutors elected to reopen the case after testimony from a Constand’s civil lawsuit against Cosby was unsealed. The fact that other women also came forward with similar stories also influenced the decision to reopen the case.
That decision was made by District Attorney-elect Kevin Steele, who said that “reopening this case was not a question. Rather, reopening this case was our duty as law enforcement officers.”
According to reports, Constand eventually settled her lawsuit against Cosby in 2006 on confidential terms. Reports also indicate that Constand, who went to the police a year after the alleged assault, is gay and was in a relationship with a woman at the time of the incident.
The charges and allegations go against Cosby’s image as a morally-upstanding father figure, both on the Cosby Show and in public. On the Cosby Show, Bill played a doctor and a family man, and in real life, Cosby has been known to scold young men as a whole for what he believes to be irresponsible behavior.
The juxtaposition of his image and the stories told by women hasn’t gone unnoticed. After Cosby thanked friends and fans on Twitter on Thursday, the comedian faced a wave of criticism.
@BillCosby Make a New Year’s resolution, Bill: stop denying your horrendous crimes against women.
— STEVEN MOORE (@stemoo95) January 1, 2016
@BillCosby I get the friends and fans things, Bill, but what do you say to the victims?
— Steve Elzer (@Steveelzer) January 1, 2016
@BillCosby Wow. What about all of us ex-fans with an ounce of common sense and respect for women?
— Steve Spooner (@stevespooner73) January 1, 2016
— GonnaDoARealNameNext (@ThisNameSuitsMe) January 1, 2016
Find out more about some of the sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby in the video below.
[Photos by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images]