UPDATED: 2:55 p.m. EDT — Bill Cosby has been taken away in handcuffs and was headed straight to prison after he was sentenced on Tuesday. Judge Steven T. O’Neill denied Cosby bail and ordered him behind bars immediately. Live footage was played on TV showing what amounted to a perp walk following the sentencing.
It was unclear which prison Cosby would be sent to, but in the meantime, he was taken to local legal facilities for processing, according to a report on CNN.
Gloria Allred, an attorney who represented many of the 60 women accusing Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting them, announced the disgraced comedian would be able to seek parole after he served three years in prison.
Cosby’s spokesperson Andrew Wyatt read a statement following the sentence charging that the entire legal process was “racist and sexist.” Another spokesperson, Ebonee Benson, read a statement from Camille Cosby, the comedian’s wife, claiming that her husband “was denied his right to a fair trial,” citing a tape recording played during the trial that she said was “doctored.”
Bill Cosby was sentenced on Tuesday to three to 10 years in prison for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in 2004. Judge Steven T. O’Neill sentenced the 81-year-old following the conclusion of the hearing to determine how long he would be behind bars for being convicted of sexual assault.
“It is time for justice. Mr. Cosby, this has all circled back to you. The time has come,” O’Neill said.
It was unclear if Cosby would be immediately remanded to prison or if he would remain free on bail during an appeal, which was expected to be filed by defense attorneys. Either way, Cosby will serve at least three years and at most a decade behind bars.
“Nobody is above the law because of where they live, who they are, wealth, fame, celebrity, or even philanthropy,” O’Neill reportedly added.
The sentencing took place in Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia.
Cosby was found guilty in April during a re-trial that centered on claims from Andrea Constand stemming from an incident in 2004.
“Bill Cosby took my beautiful, healthy, young spirit & crushed it,” Constand told the court Tuesday morning during her victim impact statement before Cosby was sentenced. “He robbed me of my health & vitality, my open nature, and my trust in myself & others.”
The court also determined that Cosby would be labeled as a sexually violent predator, a point of contention that defense attorneys were arguing against.
The prosecutor in the case was pushing for Cosby to serve 10 years in prison, but the judge hinted on Monday that the sentence may be closer to three years. Cosby’s legal team was asking for the comedian to be remanded to his home instead of a correctional facility.
Prior to the sentencing, Cosby had the opportunity to take the stand and ask the judge for leniency and express remorse, but he chose not to.
Cosby’s fall from grace has been especially notable because he built his career on a clean, family-friendly image that was shredded when he was indicted and ultimately arrested on Constand’s accusation that had gone all but ignored until Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele won his election in 2015 and vowed to finish the job he said his predecessor should have started.
Allegations of the TV star having spent decades drugging and sexually assaulting women were initially suppressed before the claims grew louder and more abundant, ultimately reaching as many as 60 women accusing him.
Cosby’s first trial resulted in a mistrial, but a retrial was granted based on the court’s admission of a previously sealed civil deposition during which Cosby admitted giving quaaludes to women, likening the action to how someone would offer a guest “a drink.”
This week’s sentencing hearing began with the expectations that Cosby would indeed be sentenced, but defense attorneys tried a last-ditch effort to stall the proceedings on Monday. According to Deadline, Cosby’s “lawyers today made a last-ditch sleight-of-hand that could knock the two-day sentencing hearing off the rails right after it started and keep him from potentially going behind bars this week.”
Accusers had an opportunity to speak directly to Cosby and the court during the two-day sentencing hearing, including former supermodel Janice Dickinson.
The comedian’s wife filed an ethics complaint with the state judicial board last week claiming Judge Steven O’Neill was biased, but the accusation was never really expected to affect the sentencing.