After decades of whispers, lawsuits, investigations and close calls, US TV superstar Bill Cosby could at the age of 80 be headed for prison for the rest of his life after being found guilty of sexual assault.
The comedian was convicted on Thursday of drugging and molesting 45-year-old Temple University basketball administrator Andrea Constand at his suburban Philiadelphia mansion in January 2004.
The finding vindicates a multitude of women who doubted anyone would ever believe their word against that of "America's Dad".
Women's advocates say the verdict marks a turning point in the #MeToo movement, proving that what Cosby's accusers have been saying all along: his nice-guy image was a sham.
Lili Bernard, who said Cosby sexually assaulted her before giving her a one-time role on "The Cosby Show" in 1992, became so emotional in the courtroom gallery that she accidentally banged her forehead on the bench in front of her.
"I'm overcome with gratitude," an emotional Bernard, said outside court.
"I feel like I have to pinch myself. Am I awake? It's a miracle."
The verdict, in the first big celebrity trial of the (hash)MeToo era, sealed the spectacular late-in-life downfall of an entertainer who broke racial barriers in Hollywood on his way to TV superstardom as sweater-wearing, wisdom-dispensing Dr Cliff Huxtable.
It was the only criminal case to arise from the allegations of more than 60 women who said Cosby drugged and molested them over five decades but whose stories were often disbelieved or ignored.
Cosby stared straight ahead as the verdict was read but moments later lashed out at District Attorney Kevin Steele after the prosecutor demanded Cosby be sent immediately to jail.
Steele told the judge they'd learned through the trial that Cosby has an airplane, and feared he could flee, which Cosby angrily denied.
Judge Steven O'Neill decided Cosby could remain free on $US1 million ($A1.3 million) bail while he awaits sentencing but restricted him to Montgomery County and the mansion where the encounter with Constand occurred.
Cosby was convicted of three counts of aggravated indecent assault, each carrying a standard sentence of five to 10 years in prison. The counts are likely to be merged for sentencing purposes, but given Cosby's age even a modest term could mean he will die behind bars.
Sentencing will likely be held within three months.
The seven men and five women jury spent 14 hours over two days to convict Cosby.
Constand said Cosby knocked her out with three blue pills he called "your friends" and then penetrated her with his fingers as she lay immobilised, unable to resist or say no. Cosby claimed the encounter was consensual, saying he gave her the cold and allergy medicine Benadryl to relax.
Cosby's lawyer Tom Mesereau said the "the fight is not over" and that the conviction will be appealed.