Bill Cosby sentenced to 3 to 10 years
In handing down his ruling to Bill Cosby today, Judge O’Neill said no one is above the law. He also referenced how brave Andrea Constand, who Cosby was convicted to sexually assaulting, was through this whole process.
"No one is above the law, and no one should be treated differently or disproportionally," Judge Steven O'Neill said.
Cosby would be sentenced regardless of "who he is or who he was," O'Neill said.
"I have given great weight to the victim impact testimony in this case, and it was powerful," he added.
Kathy McKee, a former actress who has accused Cosby of raping her, told CNN that listening to the news about Bill Cosby's sentencing stirs up some "very difficult and deep emotions."
Still, she said she is happy Judge Steven O'Neill sentenced Cosby accordingly and is grateful to Andrea Constand "for standing strong."
Judge Steven O'Neill handed down Bill Cosby's sentence in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania court Tuesday afternoon at 2:10 pm.
"This was a serious crime," he said. "Mr. Cosby this has all circled back to you. The day has come, the time has come."
Cosby, who is now 81, was convicted of assaulting Constand in his Pennsylvania home 14 years ago.
The defense earlier indicated it will appeal the conviction.
Bill Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years in state prison on Tuesday for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand.
Cosby, 81, faced a maximum of 10 years in prison after prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed to merge the three counts of his conviction into one for sentencing purposes.
The DA tweeted:
Prosecutors asked for a sentence of five to 10 years in prison. However, Cosby's defense attorney asked for a sentence of house arrest, citing Cosby's advanced age and blindness.
Once a groundbreaking actor known as "America's Dad," Cosby was accused by dozens of women of drugging and sexually assaulting them over his decades as a powerful media figure.
Cosby was convicted in April of three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and assaulting Constand at his home in 2004, in the first high-profile celebrity criminal trial of the #MeToo era.
Bill Cosby faces a maximum of 10 years after prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed to merge the three counts of his conviction into one for sentencing purposes. (Judge O'Neill announced that the charges had been merged into one because they all stem from the same event.)
The state sentencing guidelines indicate 22 to 36 months in prison, plus or minus 12 months because of aggravating or mitigating circumstances.
An important note: The judge does not have to stick to the guidelines — he can issue a smaller or larger sentence, depending on various factors, with the maximum set at 10 years.
Prosecutors have asked for a sentence of five to 10 years in prison. However, Cosby's defense attorney asked for a sentence of house arrest, citing Cosby's advanced age and blindness.
Bill Cosby will be sentenced at 1:30 when court resumes.
Cosby did not address the court in his sentencing hearing. His attorney Joseph Green told the court Cosby did not want to speak.
Judge Steven O'Neill questioned to make sure he understood that decision. Cosby answered in a loud, clear "Yes"
Later he said he didn't need to talk to his lawyer any more about that issue. "I do not need any more discussion on that," Cosby said.
Commonwealth attorney Stewart Ryan proceeded to ask a series of questions to Cosby to confirm he understood that he had been convicted of the crime, and some of the requirements like mandatory registration and reporting to the police.
"If I went from a city to another city, do I have to - even if it's just overnight - I have to get in touch with the state police," Cosby asked Ryan. Ryan directed him to talk to his lawyers, but after a brief explanation Cosby said he understood.
Later, Cosby asked for more clarification on another question, which Ryan provided. Cosby then said he understood.
On one question about victim notification, Cosby asked Ryan if he had to notify Constand. Ryan corrected him and said it would happen through the program. "Good. Good. Yes," Cosby responded.
If Cosby changes residences he will have to register.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania submitted the attached Sentencing Memorandum to the court regarding Bill Cosby’s sentence. They are asking for 5-10 years imprisonment, $25,000 fine, and funds to pay for the costs of prosecution.
“A sober view of this case and this defendant, without any regard to emotion or sympathy, can mean only one just sentence, and that is the maximum allowed by law. The Commonwealth respectfully requests that this Court impose a sentence of 5 to 10 years’ imprisonment, a $25,000 fine, and costs of prosecution,” the document states.
Here are some other key lines:
- “Defendant’s crime was more than just a physical sexual assault. He violated Ms. Constand’s trust, which, unbeknownst to her, he spent time and energy cultivating with the specific intent of having sexual contact with her. He also abused his power. Defendant used his age, his stature at Temple University, and, of course, his acting success and public persona to facilitate his drug-induced sexual assault. The totality of his crime was severe. His sentence should reflect that.”
- “These assaults spanned decades and demonstrate an ingrained pattern of criminality. There is no indication the defendant’s behavior will stop merely because he has been convicted.”
- “Moreover, the defendant has never accepted responsibility for his crime, nor has he shown any remorse. Quite the opposite, he tried to silence Ms. Constand with money because he was concerned about his own potential financial harm if news of the assault became public.”
Judge Steven O'Neill has ruled Bill Cosby will be classified as a "sexually violent predator."
The “Sexually violent predator” status -- sometimes written as SVP -- requires lifetime registration, lifetime mandatory sex offender counseling with a treatment provider and notification of the community that a “sexually violent predator” lives in the area.
It does not impact the length of the actual sentence. The sentencing hearing continues in Montgomery County Pennsylvania.
Andrea Constand submitted the attached victim impact statement to the court for Bill Cosby’s sentencing, which was not read aloud in court.
She took the stand Monday afternoon during the first day of Cosby’s sentencing proceedings, speaking briefly: "I have testified, I have given you my victim impact statement. You heard me, the jury heard me and Mr. Cosby heard me. All I'm asking for is justice as the court sees fit."
Here are a few powerful lines:
- On why she didn't report at the time: "The shame was overwhelming. Self-doubt and confusion kept me from turning to my family or friends as I normally did. I felt completely alone, unable to trust anyone, including myself."
- On interacting with Cosby after the assault: "I was in the basketball office at Temple and was required to interact with Mr. Cosby...The sound of his voice over the phone felt like a knife going through my guts. The sight of the man who drugged me and sexually assaulted me coming into the basketball office filled me with dread."
- On a "slander campaign" in the media: "...I was called a gold-digger, a con artist, and a pathological liar. My hard-working middle class parents were accused of trying to get money from a rich and famous man."
- On the deposition during the civil trial: "...I had to relive every moment of the sexual assault in horrifying detail in front of Mr. Cosby and his lawyers. I felt traumatized all over again and was often in tears. I had to watch Cosby make jokes and attempt to degrade and diminish me, while his lawyers belittled and sneered at me."
- On the long list of Cosby's accusers: "We may never know the full extent of his double life as a sexual predator but his decades-long reign of terror as a serial rapist is over."
- On the assault's lingering impact: "When the sexual assault happened, I was a young woman brimming with confidence and looking forward to a future bright with possibilities. Now, almost 15 years later, I'm a middle-aged woman who's been stuck in a holding pattern for most of her adult life, unable to heal fully or to move forward.