Bill Cosby Could Spend the Rest of His Life in Prison as Sentencing for Sex Assault Begins
Bill Cosby faces up to 30 years in prison, and his sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 24
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on July 12, 2018.
Bill Cosby, who turned 81 in July, faces the possibility that his next birthday will be spent behind bars.
On Monday, a judge in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, will convene a scheduled two-day sentencing hearing that follows the entertainer’s conviction in April on three counts of aggravated indecent assault.
Cosby faces up to 30 years in prison — 10 years for each charge — for drugging and assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, now 45, in 2004. However, his possible sentence can vary widely under state law, which affords judges latitude in setting prison or jail time.
After Cosby’s conviction, the judge ordered him to be confined to his Pennsylvania mansion with an electronic monitoring device. He can leave the residence with the court’s permission only for doctor visits and to meet with his attorneys, Kate Delano, a spokesman for the Montgomery County prosecutor’s office, tells PEOPLE.
Regardless of his sentence, Cosby could remain free pending an already announced appeal instead of being incarcerated.
The interim between the guilty verdict and the sentencing has not dimmed Cosby’s outlook, says his spokesman, Andrew Wyatt.
Throughout this year’s trial and the long walk-up to it — including a 2017 trial on Constand’s claims in which a jury failed to reach a verdict — Cosby’s defense has maintained the sex was consensual. Cosby denied any attack on her as well as similar allegations against him made by more than 60 other women, although only Constand’s claim resulted in a criminal charge.
“He’s living his life, enjoying his life, being blessed to see every day that God has given him,” says Wyatt. “He’s doing fantastic.”
Victim Now Working as Massage Therapist in Canada
Constand has also kept a low public profile heading into the sentencing. She has granted only one post-verdict interview, to NBC’s Dateline.
The former staffer for the woman’s basketball team at Temple, where Cosby was a high-profile alum and her mentor, said on Dateline in June that she didn’t tell anyone what happened for a year after the assault.
She broke her silence — first telling her mom — after she awoke in tears from a dream “that Mr. Cosby would do this to somebody else if I did not say or tell someone.”
“She had been so maligned during the trial, and she just wanted to make people aware that she was not the person that they tried to portray in court,” her attorney, Dolores Troiani, tells PEOPLE, explaining Constand’s decision to grant the interview with Dateline. “She feels she has accomplished her goal of people getting to know her better, and just is not commenting any further.”
Now living back home in her native Canada, Constand is following in her father’s footsteps and works as a massage therapist, says Troiani.
Last week Judge Steven O’Neill ruled that only the women who testified at Cosby’s trial — instead of his dozens of other accusers — could speak at his sentencing, according to the Associated Press.
While the New York Times reports that it is unclear whether Constand will speak at the hearing, a representative with the district attorney’s office said she would make a statement but not the five other alleged victims who spoke at trial, according to Page Six.
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Cosby, too, is allowed character witnesses at his sentencing. They could speak to his record of philanthropy, his donations to support the arts and his educational scholarships.
His wife, Camille, has steadfastly stood by her husband. After the verdict she issued a statement through Wyatt calling for criminal investigation of the prosecutors and saying she believed Constand had “perjured” herself with false testimony.
At the time, Troiani, Constand’s lawyer, responded: “Twelve honorable people — a jury of Cosby’s peers — have spoken. There is nothing else that needs to be said.”
Cosby himself did not testify at his trial.
Cosby Has New Lawyers
Behind the scenes, Cosby replaced his entire legal team this summer, dropping defense attorney Tom Mesereau, who successfully defended Michael Jackson against claims of child molestation in 2005. In Mesereau’s place Cosby hired Joseph P. Green, a defense attorney based in Montgomery County.
“I am looking forward to representing Mr. Cosby in post verdict proceedings and at sentencing,” Green said in a statement release June 14 through Wyatt. “There are complicated legislative and constitutional issues unique to Pennsylvania law that have to be addressed prior to sentencing.”
Green declined further comment.
The prosecutors office has not announced whether it will push for the full 30-year prison term against Cosby, nor has the office publicly recommended any other penalty.
“We do not reveal what we’re going to do at a sentencing hearing prior to the sentencing hearing itself,” says Delano.