Published: Mon, September 24, 2018
Culture | By Henry Herrera

Judge to decide if Cosby goes to prison for '04 sex assault

Judge to decide if Cosby goes to prison for '04 sex assault

The 81-year-old star of The Cosby Show was found guilty in April of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. She said he gave her a pill he described as an antihistamine.

"I think for a lot of survivors, they can see themselves in this story", she said.

The two-day sentencing hearing will begin with testimony about Cosby's sex offender evaluation and whether he should be deemed a sexually violent predator.

He could receive a prison term of up to 10 years for each count - which legal commentators have said is unlikely to happen.

There is no mandatory minimum for the convictions.

Some are now calling Cosby's conviction a "milestone" for #MeToo because men have long walked away from sexual abuse allegations with impunity, though allegations against the comedian predated the movement. He can only leave his home with prior permission, to meet his lawyers or get medical treatment. He remained a Hollywood A-lister for much of the next half-century, hitting his peak in the 1980s with the top-rated "Cosby Show" as the warm, wisecracking dad, Dr. Cliff Huxtable. Since then, more than 60 women have come forward with allegations against him.

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Cosby's first trial ended in June 2017 with a hung jury, hopelessly deadlocked after 52 hours of deliberations. Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O'Neill will have the final say.

Law professor Aviva Orenstein told Reuters that #MeToo "may have influenced the judge's willingness to allow more witnesses".

The site further reports that Judge O'Neill ruled on Thursday morning that main witness, Andrea Constand, will be joined by the "prior bad act witnesses" Janice Dickinson, Heidi Thomas, Chelan Lasha, Janice Baker-Kinney and Lise-Lotte Lublin who may be allowed to provide their respective victim impact statements.

Some women who initially wanted to speak at the trial will not as it will slow down the process.

Nassar has now been given at least 300 years in jail for his crimes. Monday's sentencing is expected to begin with a debate over this classification.

His arrest in late 2015 predated the #MeToo movement, which gained steam following multiple allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, by almost two years.

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