A D.C. Superior court judge Tuesday convicted GW basketball player Attila Cosby of seven misdemeanor charges for sexually assaulting an alleged prostitute with a broomstick at gunpoint in May 2000.
Cosby was led from the court in handcuffs by U.S. marshals and will be held without bond until his sentencing hearing Sept. 10. He faces as many as three and a half years in prison.
In denying bond, D.C. Superior Court judge Neal E. Kravitz said he could not “see past the presumption of danger…that Mr. Cosby committed a violent sexual assault with a pistol and broomstick.”
U.S. attorney Ben Friedman said following the decision he would seek that Cosby “spend the better part of the maximum jail sentence” in jail.
Kravitz convicted Cosby of all charges but two – one charge of sexual abuse for allegedly forcing oral sex and one charge of theft for allegedly stealing $20 from the complainant.
Kravitz, who said the decision was one of his “most difficult challenges as a judge,” chided Metropolitan Police officers who testified that Cosby’s godmother had access to information during the investigation. He noted an “astounding disregard for ethical propriety on the part of law enforcement” and “strenuous efforts from MPD to damage the government’s ability to successfully prosecute.”
The credibility of Cosby and the victim carried weight in his decision, the judge said, adding that defense attorneys failed to present any reasonable incentive the complainant had to fabricate her story. Kravitz said he did not believe the defense’s account that the woman contrived her story because she was upset Cosby did not pay her.
Kravitz said the woman’s testimony was consistent with what other victims of assault would say.
“I found her memory to be impressively detailed, given the amount of stress,” Kravitz said.
Kravitz also said he found Cosby’s account “far less credible” because of inconsistent statements made during his testimony. The judge said Cosby’s testimony seemed contrived.
Last week, Cosby testified that he lied in testimony during his first hearing last July when he said he had never used a gun. He said in testimony last week that he accidentally shot himself when he was 16 years old. Cosby also testified last week that he may have misled police to believe he did not own a gun. Cosby owns two guns, which he testified to giving away before the May 2000 incident.
Kravitz said he was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Cosby had a gun in his possession the night of the incident.
Cosby, who had felony charges in his first hearing dismissed last summer, was found guilty of one charge of misdemeanor sexual abuse for sexually assaulting the woman with a broomstick, two charges of attempted threats, one charge of simple assault and two charges of attempted possession of a prohibited weapon for possessing a gun and using a broomstick as a weapon. Cosby was also convicted of theft for stealing a $10 roll of quarters from the woman.
Cosby was not eligible for a jury trial because prosecutors opted to charge him with only misdemeanors.
Following the verdict, defense attorney Billy Martin said he was “very disappointed” by the verdict.
Martin said Cosby was “devastated” by the judge’s ruling.
“Reasonable minds can disagree,” Martin said shortly after the judge read his decision.
Prosecutors also expressed some sympathy for Cosby.
“It’s obviously sad,” Friedman said. “Here is a kid who did come out of the inner city. He had all the opportunities in the world and now all that is in question.”
Friedman said Cosby’s testimony that he owned two guns came as a surprise to him.
Cosby had testified that he owned two guns but did not have one in his possession when he picked up a 46-year-old crack-cocaine user at New Jersey Avenue and P Street Northwest, and took her back to his Guthridge Hall room on campus.
Police did not find a gun in Cosby’s room, but a search of his room did yield a gun padlock and trigger-style lock manufactured by Sturm, Ruger and Co.
GW head coach Karl Hobbs, who suspended Cosby from the team July 5 citing academic obligations, declined comment on the verdict.
Before leaving the court, Martin declined to disclose who paid Cosby’s legal fees. Martin said it was “inappropriate” to divulge the source of the money, adding that GW was not involved and that his firm did expect receive payment for his legal services. Cosby’s godmother said during testimony she was not involved with paying the fees.
GW Athletic Director Jack Kvancz could not immediately be reached for comment.