American comedian and actor Bill Cosby will be appealing the verdict which ordered him to pay $500,00 a woman, he’d sexually assaulted when she was a teen.
On Tuesday, a California jury found the actor guilty of sexually assaulting then 16-year-old Judy Huth at the Playboy mansion in 1975.
Cosby was was 35 years old when the assault took place.
The jury ordered Cosby to pay Huth $500,000 in damages for the emotional distress caused by the assault which took place almost 5 decades ago.
“It’s been so many years, so many tears. It’s been a long time coming,” said Huth to reporters outside the California Superior Court in Santa Monica.
Cosby has however denied the allegations, and according to his spokesperson Andrew Wyatt, his defence team will appeal the court’s verdict which rules in favour of Huth.
“Mr Cosby continues to maintain his innocence and will vigorously fight these false accusations so that he can get back to bringing the pursuit of happiness, joy and laughter to the world,” said Wyatt in a statement.
When Huth detailed the incident to the jury, she said that Cosby had invited her and a friend to the Playboy Mansion a few days after they met the comedian at a park.
Huth and her friend showed up at the mansion, and when she excused herself to use the bathroom, Cosby sexually assaulted her.
The man, who was once known as “America’s Dad” has been accused of predatory behaviour by dozens of women in allegations that stretch back decades.
But after a sole criminal conviction was overturned on a technicality, Tuesday’s civil ruling by a jury in California was the only legal finding of culpability.
Despite the ruling, a spokesman for the veteran entertainer said the case was an “astonishing victory” for Cosby, and insisted the actor would appeal.
“Yesterday actor and comedian Bill Cosby was awarded an astonishing victory by jurors in a civil trial brought by Judy Huth,” spokesman Andrew Wyatt said, according to Variety.
“The jurors decided to grant Judy Huth with a $500,000 verdict but voted 9-3 in favour of not rewarding Ms Huth any punitive damages.”
A two-week civil trial heard how Cosby had met Huth and her then-17-year-old friend on a movie set in the mid-1970s.
He was said to have plied them with alcohol and taken them to Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion where he molested Huth, who was 16 at the time.
Huth reported the alleged assault to police in Los Angeles after the statute of limitations had expired.
She was permitted to bring a civil case under a California law that allows adults who have repressed memories of sex attacks to take legal action many years later.
“Within a few weeks, (Cosby’s) attorney Jennifer Bonjean will be in… court to appeal the $500,000 verdict, which means that Ms Huth will never receive a payday from Mr Cosby,” Wyatt’s statement said.
Gloria Allred, who represented Huth, now 64, said the award of $500,000 compensation by the jury “demonstrated that they believed her.”
Cosby, now 84, was a towering figure in late-20th century American popular culture and hit the big time as affable obstetrician and father Cliff Huxtable on “The Cosby Show,” which ran from 1984-92.
But around 60 women, many of them one-time aspiring actresses and models, have publicly branded Cosby a calculating, serial predator who plied victims with sedatives and alcohol before assaulting them over four decades.
*Additional reporting by AFP