Bill Cosby was sentenced Tuesday to no less than three and no more than 10 years in state prison, capping 34 months of criminal litigation and a stunning fall from national acclaim to public disgrace.
Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge Steven T. O’Neill also said Cosby must pay a $25,000 fine and the costs of prosecution.
Cosby’s lawyer, Joseph Green, asked for Cosby to be released on bail after the sentence was imposed, indicating that he plans to file an appeal, but O’Neill rejected the request. Cosby was led from the courtroom in handcuffs.
O’Neill had ruled Tuesday morning that Cosby should be designated as a sexually violent predator. Cosby is subject to lifetime reporting requirements under Pennsylvania’s sex offender registry laws.
Cosby was found guilty in April of three counts of aggravated indecent assault based on Andrea Constand’s allegations that he drugged and sexually assaulted her in 2004.
During sentencing proceedings, Green argued that incarceration would impose excessive hardship on Cosby because of his age and blindness, and argued that Cosby is eligible for house arrest.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele argued that the defense was asking for a “get-out-of-jail-free card” and that Cosby had shown no remorse.
Green has already pledged to appeal Cosby’s case on multiple issues, including an allegation that an audio recording used by the prosecutors was doctored. Steele, in a press conference after sentencing, expressed confidence in all of the prosecution’s evidence, and said, “I will put this appellate team up against anybody,” with regard to his office.
“For decades, the defendant has been able to hide his true self and hide his crimes,” Steele said. “Now, finally, Bill Cosby has been unmasked and we have seen the real man as he is headed off to prison.”
Cosby was taken to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility on Tuesday, and will later be transported to SCI Phoenix in Montgomery County, where he will stay until a state facility is chosen.
In a written victim impact statement released to the public Tuesday, Constand detailed the effects of not only the assault, but the public scrutiny she received after reporting it.
“Instead of being praised as a straight-shooter, I was called a gold-digger, a con artist, and a pathological liar,” Constand wrote. “I have often asked myself why the burden of being the sole witness in two criminal trials had to fall to me. The pressure was enormous.”
Cosby chose not to take the stand during the sentencing hearing. He also stayed off the stand during the trial.
Cosby was charged with aggravated indecent assault in December 2015, based on Constand’s allegations from more than a decade before. Constand reported the incident to police in 2005, but Montgomery County prosecutors declined to prosecute at the time.
The District Attorney’s Office reopened the case in 2015, after a deposition transcript from the civil litigation between Cosby and Constand became public. In that deposition, Cosby had admitted to obtaining multiple prescriptions for Quaaludes and using drugs to have sex with a woman.
The April trial was Cosby’s second in the Montgomery County case. His first trial, in June 2017, ended in a mistrial when the jury was unable to reach a verdict.