Prosecutors have asked the judge to send comedian Bill Cosby to prison for up to 10 years for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in 2004.
On day one of the two-day sentencing hearing, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, District Attorney Kevin Steele said not jailing Cosby would give him the opportunity to carry out the same crime on other women.
“To say that he’s too old to do that. To say that he should get a pass because it’s taken this long to catch up to what he’s done. What they’re asking for is a ‘get out of jail free card,'” Steele said.
Cosby is legally blind, and his attorney, Joseph Green, argued the superstar comic is too frail to get through a long prison sentence.
“What does an 81-year-old man do in prison? How does he fight off the people who are trying to extort him, or walk to the mess hall?”
Green is asking the judge to sentence Cosby to house arrest.
Former Temple University basketball administrator Andrea Constand, Cosby’s victim of the 2004 assault, spoke briefly, telling the judge, “The jury heard me. Mr. Cosby heard me. Now, all I’m asking for is justice as the court sees fit.”
She had given the court a much longer victim impact statement. Steele read some of it out loud, quoting Constand as saying Cosby took “my beautiful, healthy young spirit and crushed it.”
Along with deciding if and how long Cosby should be imprisoned, Judge Steven O’Neill must also decide whether to declare Cosby a “sexually violent predator” under Pennsylvania state law. Cosby would have to undergo counseling for the rest of his life, and any community in which he lives would have to be notified that a sex predator resides there.
After a 2017 mistrial, Cosby was convicted in April on three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Constand — drugging and sexually assaulting her at his Philadelphia home.
Constand said she went to Cosby’s house seeking career advice because he was a Temple alumnus.
Cosby denied the charge and said any sexual contact he had with Constand was consensual.
About 60 women have accused Cosby of sexually assaulting them, dating back to the 1960s when Cosby became famous.
Constand’s case is the only one that reached trial.
Cosby is best known for his 1980s television series The Cosby Show, which solidified his now-destroyed image as “America’s favorite dad.”