Bill Cosby's mugshot has hit the internet, showing the comedian in a familiar sweater and an unfamiliar circumstance --- facing charges of sexual assault after escaping prosecution for years while allegations surfaced about his sexual misbehavior.
Cosby was arrested this week on a charge of criminal sexual assault in suburban Philadelphia, the first time the comedian has faced charges for the many sexual assault allegations that have surfaced dating back to his early days in comedy in the 1960s.
The 78-year-old Cosby was arraigned in a Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, court, CNN reported. Andrea Constand accused Cosby in 2005, saying he drugged and sexually assaulted her at his suburban Philadelphia home the previous year. The statute of limitations on the case was set to expire in January, and this week, prosecutors decided to move forward on the charges.
As USA Today noted, Bill Cosby had on the same sweater when he made his first court appearance.
"Wearing one of his trademark sweaters, Cosby was helped into and out of the courthouse by two people on either side. His lawyers have said recently he has severe eye problems and is nearly blind. He seemed to have trouble seeing the paperwork and his lawyers helped him hold a pen. But he laughed and chatted with his attorneys.Cosby's charge is second-degree aggravated indecent assault, which Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Kevin R. Steele described as being penetration without the victim's consent. A previous prosecutor had ruled there was not enough evidence to warrant an arrest of Cosby, but Steele said the evidence is "strong and sufficient enough to proceed with these charges."
"When the judge said, 'Mr. Cosby, good luck to you, sir,' he shouted: 'Thank you!' "
Many of Cosby's other accusers have also spoken out, praising prosecutors for following through with charges.
"I just want him to stand up and tell the truth and take it like a man," said Victoria Valentino (via CNN). "I want the truth to come out. I want justice to be served, and I want justice to prevail for all of the women, all of these victims, who have suffered watching him receive accolades all these years while they were suffering the consequences of PTSD from their encounters with him."
Bil Cosby's camp has dismissed the charges as something of a political ploy, noting that it comes just before "a hotly contested election for this county's DA during which this case was made the focal point."
"Make no mistake, we intend to mount a vigorous defense against this unjustified charge and we expect that Mr. Cosby will be exonerated by a court of law," said Cosby's legal spokeswoman, Monique Pressley.
Bill Cosby could face up to 10 years if convicted, but legal experts say he is more likely to face two to three years if convicted.
While there is no trial date set and the comedian has yet to complete the next steps of the legal process, the case is already generating waves of publicity. Bill Cosby's mugshot has been shared across news sites and Twitter, legal experts are weighing in and media commentators say this could end up being the most publicized trial of all time, eclipsing even O.J. Simpson's murder trial and Michael Jackson's child molestation trial.
[Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images]