Bill Cosby, who fell from grace as “America’s Dad” to a convicted sex offender, was sentenced Tuesday to three to 10 years in state prison.
The 81-year-old comedian was seen being walked down a courthouse hallway in handcuffs after he was denied bail less than an hour after his sentencing. He was also fined $25,000 and will be required to cover the costs of prosecution, which amounts to at least $43,000, the district attorney said.
He was convicted in April of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, who testified that Cosby violated her at his Pennsylvania home in 2004 after she came to him for career advice. At the time, she was Temple University women’s basketball administrator.
“Nobody is above the law because of where they live, who they are, wealth, fame, celebrity or even philanthropy,” said Judge Steven O’Neill, who presided over both of Cosby’s trials, the first of which ended in a mistrial.
“The court must consider the protection of the public and the gravity of the offense and the rehabilitation of the defendant,” O’Neill said. “Thirty-four months this has gone on. Your time has come,” he told Cosby.
Cosby, renowned for his role as Dr. Cliff Huxtable on “The Cosby Show,” had been accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of women, but was only criminally charged in Constand’s case. Cosby is the first star of his caliber to be convicted of sexual assault in the age of #MeToo.
Neither Constand nor Cosby reacted visibly while the judge handed down the sentence. Later, Cosby removed his jacket and tie, while laughing with his spokesman and attorney. Former model Janice Dickinson, who has accused Cosby of rape, began laughing uncontrollably until a sheriff told her to stop.
“I am victorious,” Dickinson said after the sentencing.
Chelan Lashaan, who testified during the trial that the actor sexually assaulted her when she was 17 in 1986: “I wanted 30 years, but I am very happy to know that Mr. Cosby will do time in prison. He is touchable as he touched us.”
Cosby has repeatedly denied all allegations of sexual misconduct.
His longtime spokesman told reporters after the sentencing that the decision was “racist and sexist.” He said accusations brought upon Judge Brett Kavanaugh in Washington were part of the same “sex war.”
He added that Cosby’s attorneys were preparing a motion to address “falsified evidence” used during the trial.
District Attorney Kevin Steele said he is confident in the prosecution’s case, and called the potential motion by the defense “beyond a Hail Mary.”
“For decades, the defendant has been able to hide his true self and hide his crimes,” Steele said. “Finally, Bill Cosby has been unmasked, and we’ve seen the real man as he’s headed off to prison.”
He said Cosby would first be taken to Montgomery County Correctional Facility, then temporarily housed in one state prison before the department of corrections determines which state prison to house him in more permanently.