New Zimbabwe.com

Sentencing options for Bill Cosby include prison, probation; Decision next week

By Associated Press


PHILADELPHIA: Bill Cosby could be sent to prison next week for drugging and molesting a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004 in what became the first celebrity trial of the #MeToo era.

Cosby is due in court Monday for a two-day sentencing hearing that follows his conviction in the spring on three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault.

The judge’s options are broad, because the state guideline range of about one to four years spans the gamut from a prison term to a jail stint to house arrest or probation. The maximum term is 10 years per count.

Lawyers for the 81-year-old, legally blind Cosby will no doubt stress his age, health problems, legacy and philanthropy as they plead to keep him at home, while prosecutors hope to call other accusers to paint Cosby as a sexual predator deserving of prison.

Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O’Neill may aim straight for the heart of the guidelines to blunt public criticism from both sides and avoid being overturned on appeal, legal experts said.

“If you give a sentence in the middle, almost no one can complain,” said Daniel Filler, dean of Drexel University’s Kline School of Law, who studies sex assault issues. “And because the case has mitigating factors and aggravating factors, that’s the most likely outcome.”

Cosby should learn his fate by Tuesday.