Despite heartfelt pleas in victims impact statements and sharp words from lawyers on both sides, Bill Cosby will see the inside of a prison cell for the 2004 rape of Andrea Constand for less than three years, the judge in the Cosby criminal case told a Pennsylvania courtroom Monday.
“All I am asking for is justice as the court sees it,” a confident Constand said Monday in a short stint on the stand, looking directly at Judge Steven O’Neill. Referring the court and the nearby Cosby to her detailed testimony in both the original 2017 mistrial and the retrial this spring, the former Temple University employee was followed on the stand by her mother, also a witness in the two trials.
In April, Cosby was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault. With each count carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years, the 81-year-old actor could have been hit with a three-decade sentence behind bars. He is currently under house arrest and out on $1 million bail.
But no matter what the Constand family wants, with the lawyers’ arguments on both sides and Cosby’s inevitable appeal looming, that 30-year lockup just isn’t going to happen.
On Day 1 of the sentencing hearing for Cosby with a vital defense witness still to come tomorrow, O’Neill revealed that the often-clashing Montgomery County District Attorney’s office and the defendant’s lawyer had agreed to a deal of sorts.
“Counts two and three have been merged into count one,” O’Neill said this afternoon in suburban Norristown, PA. Looking at the state guidelines and their wiggle room, he declared that once A-lister Cosby was looking at a total jail time of 22 to 34 months in final sentencing.
The District Attorney’s office said that while it was part of the deal merging the counts, they sought to go to “the high end.” That would translate into 10 years in prison for Cosby, a $25,000 fine, court costs and a psychosexual evaluation – now unlikely from what O’Neill said earlier in the day.
Explaining his thinking in this #MeToo and Time’s Up era, a tempered O’Neill told the court he had examined the pre-sentence investigation, sentencing guidelines and victims’ impact statements, the commonwealth and defense sentencing memo, with letters from doctors and other notables in the latter.
SOURCE: Dominic Patten