Entertainment Celebrity ‘Judgment day has come’: America reacts to Bill Cosby’s sentencing
Updated:

‘Judgment day has come’: America reacts to Bill Cosby’s sentencing

cosby sentencing sexual assault
Cosby accusers Andrea Constand (centre) and Janice Dickinson (right) embrace after the sentencing. Photo: AAP
Share
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

“Judgment day has come” for Bill Cosby, according to the lawyer for the woman he has been convicted of sexually assaulting.

Cosby, once known as “America’s dad”, is now considered a sexually violent predator after being sentenced to up to a decade in jail on Thursday for the 2004 sexual assault of a woman friend at his home.

“This has been a long journey to justice for all of the accusers – particularly for Andrea Constand and her family,” lawyer Gloria Allred said outside the courtroom, referring to the woman Cosby sexually assaulted. “This is a very important day; judgment day has come.”

Variety reported that Cosby showed no visible reaction to the sentence of three to 10 years in jail – close to the maximum that could be imposed. Judge Steven O’Neill denied Cosby’s request for bail pending his appeal.

The fallen star remained seated in the courtroom, chatting quietly with his lawyers and two friends during a recess.

Before being led from the courtroom in handcuffs, the fallen comedian, 81, took off his suit jacket, watch, and tie. He will serve at least three years in prison before he can petition for some form of supervised release.

Outside the courtroom, Cosby’s publicist, Andrew Wyatt, denounced the sentence.

“This has been the most racist and sexist trial in the history of the United States,” he said, laying the blame at the feet of “white women who make money off of accusing black men of being sexual predators”.

“They persecuted Jesus and look what happened,” Mr Wyatt said. “Mr Cosby is fine. He’s holding up well. Anyone who wants to say anything negative, you’re a joke as well.”

Through a spokeswoman, Cosby’s wife Camille issued a statement blasting prosecutors for using “falsified evidence”.

At a later media conference, District Attorney Kevin Steele said Cosby was no Cliff Huxtable (his Cosby Show character), but rather someone who used his acting skills to prey on women. Justice, he said, has finally been served with the prison term.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Mr Steele said.

He credited Ms Constand for reporting the attack to police and for testifying.

“This assault changed her life,” he said, with Ms Constand standing nearby. “She’s been a rock. She’s done the right thing.”

More than 60 women have come forward in recent years with accounts of Cosby drugging and assaulting them. But the 2004 action is the only criminal case because Pennsylvania has a longer statute of limitations for sex crimes than most other US states.

Variety reported that among the women who had accused Cosby of assault, the sentence was accepted with a mix of emotions – although mostly relief.

“We’re just thrilled to death,” Victoria Valentino, a former Playboy bunny who attended both trials, told the publication. “It’s just a matter of having that final curtain call so we can have some real serious feelings of closure.”

-with agencies