Bill Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years in state prison by a Pennsylvania judge on Tuesday, five months after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a former Temple University employee in his mansion in 2004.
The Montgomery County District Attorney confirmed the prison term on Twitter. The sentence includes a $25,000 fine and requires Cosby to pay for the cost of his prosecution.
According to the terms of the sentence, Cosby will serve a minimum of three years in prison and then become eligible for supervised release, although nothing promises his release at that time, reports Philadelphia public radio station WHYY.
The judge denied Cosby’s bail request, so he will be incarcerated immediately.
“It is time for justice in a court of law,” Judge Steven T. O’Neill said at the end of the sentencing hearing, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. “The day has come. The time has come.”
Cosby’s conviction on three counts of aggravated indecent assault came after his victim, Andrea Constand, said a man she had considered a mentor drugged her and sexually assaulted her in his home. During the trial, Constand and five other women testified that Cosby had engaged in a similar pattern of behavior.
Constand has described the abuse as traumatizing. “Bill Cosby took my beautiful, healthy young spirit and crushed it,” she said in a statement for the court.
Cosby’s defense vigorously denied the accusations, as well as similar allegations made against him by more than 60 women. The sex that occurred between Cosby, now 81, and Constand, now 45, was consensual, he claimed through his attorneys, and a Montgomery County jury that first heard Constand’s allegation in 2017 failed to reach a verdict.
In comments after the hearing, Cosby’s publicist, Andrew Wyatt, spoke out in provocative terms about the sentence, which he claimed followed “the most racist and sexist trial in the history of the United States.”
“They persecuted Jesus and look what happened,” Wyatt said. “I’m not saying Mr. Cosby’s Jesus but we know what this country has done to black men for centuries.”
Cosby, who has vowed to appeal, is “doing great and … knows that God is watching over him,” Wyatt said. “He knows that these are lies.”
Wyatt claimed the defense team has found that prosecutors “used falsified evidence” against Cosby, such as a “manipulated” recording between Cosby and Constand’s mother.
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In a statement to PEOPLE, Cosby’s wife, Camille, said that the defense “will be filing a motion seeking immediate relief for the prosecution’s use of this falsified evidence,” which “represents just one of the many issues that resulted in the denial of Mr. Cosby’s right to a fair trial.”
Constand’s assault was the only one to result in criminal charges against Cosby. Other women were prevented from seeking charges against him because the statute of limitations on their claims had expired. But Cosby still is facing several civil actions, including charges from at least eight women who allege that Cosby defamed them through his comments and dismissals of their assault accusations.
Last April’s retrial and conviction gave Constand and Cosby’s other alleged victims the validation they’d sought after years of doubting whether their accounts would ever be heard or believed.
Once one of America’s highest-profile entertainers, Cosby also was a celebrated philanthropist and groundbreaking black entertainer in comedy, films and TV — peaking with his top-rated, eight-season run on NBC’s The Cosby Show from 1984 to 1992 — whose career and wholesome reputation collapsed under the weight of allegations against him.
He had faced a maximum 30 years in prison — 10 years apiece for each of his three convictions — but as the two-day sentencing hearing began Monday, the judge combined the counts into one, as allowed under Pennsylvania law when the offenses arise from a single incident.
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Cosby had been allowed by the judge to remain out of jail and on house arrest following his conviction and before his sentencing while his defense team pursued its appeal.
He had been confined to his Pennsylvania residence with an electronic monitoring device, allowed to leave with the court’s permission only for doctor visits and to meet with his attorneys.
Constand: ‘Bill Cosby Took My Beautiful, Healthy Young Spirit’
Constand addressed her long wait for justice in a lengthy victim impact statement.
“When the sexual assault happened, I was a young woman brimming with confidence, and looking forward to a future bright with possibilities,” she wrote. “Now, almost 15 years later, I’m a middle-aged woman who’s been stuck in a holding pattern most of her adult life, unable to heal fully or to move forward.”
“Bill Cosby took my beautiful, healthy young spirit and crushed it. He robbed me of my health and vitality, my open nature, and my trust in myself and others,” she wrote.
In court on Monday, Constand told the judge, “The jury heard me, Mr. Cosby heard me and now all I am asking for is justice as the court sees fit,” according to The New York Times.
Cosby did not testify in his own defense at either of his trials, and he again declined to speak during his sentencing.
Cosby Deemed a ‘Sexually Violent Predator’
As the judge weighed Cosby’s fate, he heard conflicting arguments about whether Cosby’s behavior made him a “sexually violent predator,” as defined by state law — a designation that would affect whether he would be ordered into mandatory lifetime counseling and be required to report his whereabouts for the remainder of his days, reports Philly.com.
His defense urged leniency and said that Cosby, whose infirmities now include legal blindness, posed no current threat.
“How’s he going to meet these people?” his lawyer, Joseph P. Green, said in court Monday, adding that the last allegation made against Cosby dated to 2004, the Times reports. “There is no reasonable prospect that an 81-year-old blind man is likely to re-offend.”
A forensic psychologist for the defense, Timothy Foley, shared that assessment on Tuesday, saying the odds were “extraordinarily low” that Cosby would re-offend.
The statements were an attempt to counter psychologist Kristen F. Dudley, who represented the state’s Sexual Offenders Assessment Board. Dudley testified on Monday that Cosby’s alleged patterns displayed a longtime interest in sex with non-consenting females, suggesting a personality disorder that did not fade with his age. “It is possible that he has already met someone who could be a future victim,” she said, according to the Times.
In the end, the judge ruled that Cosby should be designated as a “sexually violent predator.”
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Camille Cosby has steadfastly stood by her husband’s claims of innocence. After the verdict she issued a statement through a spokesman calling for criminal investigation of the prosecutors and saying she believed Constand had “perjured” herself with false testimony.
She followed up on Sept. 17 by showing up at the Harrisburg office of the state’s Judicial Conduct Board to demand further review of what she termed “an unethical judge who seeks to compound his unethical behavior by sentencing Bill Cosby,” USA Today reports.
Camille was not present for either day of the sentencing hearing.
This is a developing story. Check back for further updates.