On September 25th, 2018 the once idolized father figure, Bill Cosby, was sentenced three to ten years in prison for the sexual assault of Andrea Constand after being convicted back in April. Although over 60 women had accused Cosby of sexual assault or harassment, Constand was the only case taken to court, marking the case as the first celebrity trial of the #MeToo movement. Throughout the trial, Cosby’s defense argued that the sexual relations between Cosby and Constand were consensual, and the drug given to her, described by the defense as Benadryl, was to relax her. However, The Washington Post stated that “in his ruling, Judge Steven O’Neill said the evidence that Cosby planned the drugging and sexual assault of his victim was ‘overwhelming.’” During her testimony, Constand stated that “Bill Cosby took my beautiful, healthy young spirit and crushed it.” This quote was also repeated by the Judge himself at the sentencing hearing. At first, Bill Cosby faced a maximum of 30 years in prison (ten for each of the three counts of sexual assault he was convicted of), but on September 24th the Judge chose to merge each count into one. Even though he now only faces up to 10 years in prison, Cosby will be registered as a sex offender for life. Revealed on October 7th, 2018, Cosby’s lawyers, who initially argued that Cosby should be sentenced to house arrest, are now attempting to overturn the conviction and sentence due to “a string of errors” (USAToday). The defense argues that Judge O’Neill improperly allowed testimony from five other accusers instead of limiting it solely to Constand. They also allege that there are grounds for appeal on the basis of the tape of a conversation between Cosby and the accusers mother played for the jury was “not authentic” ; however USAToday stated that, “It’s been widely known that Gianna Constand [the accusers mother] started her recorder after the call began”, and therefore it is not a legitimate appeal issue. Regarding the defense’s case for appeal, District Attorney Kevin Steele responded, “If that’s what they’ve got, it’s beyond a Hail Mary.
By: Eden Osiason, Assistant Editor
Featured Photo: Cosby after the sexual assault trial (Photo courtesy of NJ.com).