Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Judge bars parade of Bill Cosby accusers at sentencing hearing

Sentencing options for Bill Cosby convicted of sexual assault include prison jail and probation Bill Cosby leaves the the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown Pa. earlier this year
Jeannette Daniel | 24 September, 2018, 21:13

Bill Cosby's chief accuser has arrived at a courthouse outside Philadelphia for a sentencing hearing for the 81-year-old entertainer convicted of sexually assaulting her.

The judge can add up to a year for aggravating factors - such as the 60-some other accusers, Cosby's denials and lack of remorse, and even his defense team's repeated attacks on the judge and prosecutor.

Cosby faces up to 10 years in prison for each of the three counts against him - but the judge could impose a longer or shorter sentence. Other than agreeing to a sentencing for Cosby, lawyers will also battle over whether he will be designated a sexually violent predator.

The judge allowed five other women to testify in the trial under a "prior bad acts" rule in the state of Pennsylvania, which allows testimony if it reveals a defendant's pattern of behaviour.

Cosby, the first celebrity to go to trial in the #MeToo era, was convicted of drugging and molesting a Temple University women's basketball administrator at his home in 2004.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they come forward publicly, which Lublin, Lasha, Dickinson and Constand have done.

During Bill Cosby's sentencing hearing this morning at the Montgomery County Courthouse outside of Philadelphia, Dudley testified about the 81-year-old comedian's mental health.

State prison, county jail or house arrest?

District Attorney Kevin Steele wants some of them to speak at the sentencing.


Prosecutors had asked O'Neill for permission to call an unspecified number of accusers as witnesses during the sentencing hearing but the judge denied that request last week.

Prosecutors said they would "present numerous witnesses who will testify that defendant sexually abused them" and argued those "uncharged crimes" were relevant to establishing Cosby's character and as a danger to the community.

O'Neill, who is married and has three adult sons, took the bench in 2002.

Outside the court in Norristown, a protester carrying a sign saying "perseverance to all survivors" and a Cosby effigy placed in a shopping cart shouted for an end to the statute of limitations on rape as he arrived.

The jury of seven men and five women deliberated a little over 12 hours before reaching a unanimous verdict in the case.

The former "Cosby Show" star was convicted in April following a retrial.

His wife Camille Cosby recently claimed that that O'Neill is biased against her husband in a state ethics complaint.

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