Bill Cosby was sentenced on Tuesday to three to 10 years in state prison for the sexual assault of Andrea Constand.
Judge Steven T. O’Neill rendered the decision Tuesday, the second day of the sentencing hearing at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., saying, “I’m not permitted to treat him any differently based on who he is or who he was.” O’Neill also ruled that Cosby is a “sexually violent predator” and fined him $25,000.
The sentence means that Cosby, once known as “America’s Dad,” will spend at least three years behind bars and then will become eligible for supervised release, although that’s not guaranteed. According to journalist Bobby Allyn, who was in the courtroom, the judge will not grant bail.
The comedian was escorted out of the courtroom in handcuffs and was placed in a car, where he was headed off to state prison.
Cosby, 81, was convicted in April on three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault. While they had the potential to carry a 30-year sentence — 10 years per count — O’Neill said Monday, and the district attorney and defense attorney agreed, that the counts would be merged into just one. State guidelines recommend between one and four years for a single count. (The DA requested the maximum sentence, while Cosby’s legal team argued for leniency, given his age and frailty, including his blindness.)
The disgraced Cosby Show star arrived at court on Tuesday morning with a smile on his face as he walked in alongside his legal team and handlers. His wife since 1964, Camille Cosby, opted again not to attend. He chose not to make a statement when the judge asked if he had anything to say.
Following the verdict, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said at a news conference on Tuesday that “it’s been a long journey to get here and today justice was served. …
“For decades, the defendant has been able to hide his true self and hide his crimes using his fame and fortune,” Steele said. “He used his acting skills and his endearing personality to win over his victims and keep them silent. Finally, Bill Cosby has been unmasked, and we’ve seen the real man as he’s headed off to prison.”
Steele praised Andrea Constand, saying, “We are all better off because she’s in our lives.
“You’ve heard about how this assault changed her life. She has been through an ordeal through the past 14 years, and she has been solid and steadfast,” the district attorney said. “She’s been a rock. She’s done the right thing over and over and over again.”
Cosby’s publicist, Andrew Wyatt, said that Cosby is “doing great” following the sentencing.
“Mr. Cosby knows that God is watching over him. He knows that these are lies,” Wyatt said. “They persecuted Jesus and look what happened. Mr. Cosby’s doing fine, he’s holding up well, and if anyone wants to say anything negative, you’re a joke as well.”
Ebony Benson read a statement on behalf of Camille Cosby, where she accused the district attorney of using “falsified evidence” during the trial.
According to Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Laura McCrystal, more than a half dozen Cosby accusers — of which there are approximately 60 — were in the courtroom along with Constand, a former Temple University employee, for the sentencing.