Bill Cosby’s sentencing hearing for the drugging and sexual assault of Andrea Constand began in a Pennsylvania courtroom Monday. Cosby was facing a maximum of 30 years in prison, but the judge in his case said he will likely be imprisoned for less than three years.
Despite a psychologist from Pennsylvania’s Sexual Offenders Assessment Board testifying that Cosby has a personality disorder that makes him a “sexually violent predator” who has an interest in having sex with nonconsenting partners, Judge Steven T. O’Neill chose to merge two of the counts in his case, reducing his potential sentence from 30 years in prison to just ten years. O’Neill said that based on state guidelines for sentencing, Cosby could serve 22 to 34 months in prison.
Cosby was convicted in April on three counts of aggravated indecent assault on charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted Constand—a former Temple University administrator—in 2004.
Cosby’s sentencing hearing could wrap up as early as Tuesday. A delay in the hearing was caused after Cosby’s defense attorneys demanded to hear from the state psychologist who originally put in his report that Cosby should be designated a sexually violent predator—Dr. Timothy Foley.
Cosby’s attorneys have argued that his advanced age, 81, as well as the fact that he is legally blind make him less of a risk to anyone—especially since there have been no new allegations against him since 2004.
The sexually violent predator notation is a sticking point because if the judge agrees with it, Cosby would not only be required to have routine counseling for the rest of his life but even if he does not go to prison, he would still be required to check in with police once a month.
There is still no word as to whether or not Cosby will speak on his own behalf during the proceedings, but Judge O’Neill thinks he should.
“I hope that if he so chooses, he will get the last word,” O’Neill said.