Bill Cosby arrives in court for sentencing on sexual assault charges
The crucial question of his possible imprisonment whether he has been looming ever since he was convicted in April of sexual assault charges.
Bill Cosby, the 81-year-old comedian, arrived at the Montgomery County courthouse in Pennsylvania on Monday walking with a cane along with his spokesperson, ahead of a 9am sentencing hearing on three counts of sexual assault charges.
The crucial question of his possible imprisonment has been looming ever since he was convicted in April of sexual assault. The iconic entertainer could get up to 10 years in prison for each conviction. Prosecutors, however, have suggested that they are likely to ask for a lesser sentence. If he is sentenced to prison, then he could be taken into custody immediately at the court, according to CNN.
Cosby's attorneys, however, will likely highlight Cosby's age, his declining health and his history of philanthropy during the hearing requesting a shorter prison sentence.
Cosby, who was charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault in December 2015, was convicted earlier this year for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a former administrator at his alma mater Temple University, in 2004, marking the first high-profile case for the #MeToo era in a courtroom. The trial in April was centered on Constand's testimony and also featured testimony from five "prior bad acts" witnesses who also accused Cosby of drugging and assaulting them in a similar manner. At least 60 victims in total have claimed of being sexually harassed by Cosby till date.
Cosby, once known as "America's Dad", remained silent for most of the trial and did not testify, however, he erupted in a stunning outburst after prosecutors asked the judge to revoke his bail because he owned a private plane. Cosby, to this claim, roared in the courtroom and stood up, yelling: "He doesn't have a plane, you asshole." The comedian has remained out of prison for the past five months on $1 million bail and his legal team has said that they will appeal his convictions.
Reports state that several of Cosby's victims also arrived at the court on Monday for the sentencing. The victims included Janice Dickinson, who had testified at Cosby's conviction trial in April.
The decision on Cosby's prison sentence lies on Judge Steven O’Neill, who oversaw The Cosby Show actor's 2018 retrial and also his mistrial, which ended in a hung jury in 2017. According to court records, O'Neill, last week, denied the prosecutors' request to present "numerous" witnesses who could testify that Cosby had sexually assaulted them in incidents which did not result in criminal charges.
Reports state that Judge O'Neill will also consider at the hearing whether 'America's Dad' should be classified as a sexually violent predator.