By JESSICA SCHLADEBECK and NANCY DILLON
| NEW YORK DAILY NEWS | SEP 25, 2018
Bill Cosby was sentenced to three-to 10-years for sexual assault on Sept. 25, 2018. (Montgomery County Correctional Facility via AP)
Disgraced pudding pop pitchman Bill Cosby finally got his just desserts.
Judge Steven T. O’Neill on Tuesday sentenced the fallen funnyman to three to 10 years in state prison for drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University staffer Andrea Constand nearly 15 years ago.
Cosby, 81, removed his tie and cufflinks and was escorted from the Montgomery County District Courthouse in handcuffs after the judge denied him bail.
“It’s time for justice,” O’Neill said. “Mr. Cosby, this has all circled back to you. The time has come.”
Prosecutors had asked for a term of five to 10 years, arguing the man once revered as “America’s Dad” showed no remorse for his actions. Cosby’s legal team requested house arrest, arguing Cosby is now legally blind and poses no risk to the community.
P.J. Masten — who came forward in 2014 to accuse Cosby of drugging and raping her in 1979, when she worked as a Bunny manager at the Playboy Club in Chicago — said she was overcome with emotion when she heard the sentence.
“First I screamed, and then I just started to cry,” Masten told the Daily News in a phone interview.
“He’s done. He can’t hurt anybody else ever again. I’m just so relieved it’s finally over,” she said. “I just hope he suffers in prison. His survivors have suffered for more than 40 years. It’s now his turn to suffer and see what it feels like. We’ve had attempted suicides, hospital stays, ongoing therapy. We’ve been attacked and spit on. It’s been horrific.”
Fellow accuser Jennifer Kaya Thompson, 47, expressed shock Cosby got close to what prosecutors wanted and could spend a decade behind bars.
“I was just so surprised. It’s been so many years, I didn’t think it would actually happen. I expected him to get away with it,” Thompson told The News.
“I didn’t think people would be able to wake up, collectively. So it’s really rewarding on many levels. It’s a sign our society is healing. It really affirms we do care, and just because a person has money, status, fame and knows how to bully people, that doesn’t mean they will come out ahead,” she said.
Thompson was a 17-year-old model when she met Cosby in 1988 with the hope of landing a role on “The Cosby Show.”
She stepped forward as a Jane Doe witness for Constand during her 2005 civil lawsuit and later went public with claims the powerful comedian made unwanted sexual advances and manipulated her into performing a sex act at his New York residence that caused her lasting trauma.
“The damage he caused was to his victims as well as their families and loved ones. It robbed us of many of our hopes and dreams. It’s a complex sort of victimhood,” Thompson said.
O’Neill on Tuesday also declared Cosby to be a “sexually violent predator,” a designation that requires the former comedian to submit to counseling for the remainder of his life. The label had no impact on the length of Cosby’s sentence.
Cosby’s publicist, Andrew Wyatt, gave a withering statement after the sentencing, calling Cosby’s legal proceedings “the most racist and sexist trial in the history of the United States.”
He said Cosby was the victim of a “sex war,” and compared him to U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who’s now battling separate accusations of decades-old sexual misconduct.
Former Playboy bunny P.J. Masten stepped forward to say Bill Cosby drugged and raped her. Here, they are pictured together. (Courtesy PJ Masten /)
Constand, 45, offered a much different account during emotional and often excruciating testimony at Cosby's first trial in June 2017, which ended with a deadlocked jury, and again at his retrial five months ago.
The former head of women’s basketball operations at Cosby’s alma mater, said she considered the actor a mentor and father figure the night he offered her three unidentified blue pills he referred to as “your friends” during a meeting to discuss her career.
She thought the pills were herbal remedies for stress, she testified, and was stunned and confused when they caused her words to slur, her vision to blur and her legs to turn rubbery.
Constand told the jurors she felt powerless as Cosby groped her breasts, penetrated her with his fingers and masturbated himself with her hand.
“I wanted it to stop,” she said on the witness stand in April. “I was weak. I was limp, and I could not fight him off.”
While Cosby’s first jury failed to reach a verdict after marathon deliberations, his second jury of five women and seven men returned a unanimous verdict after a 12-day trial that included new testimony from five additional accusers, including former supermodel Janice Dickinson.
“The harrowing memory of the rape continues to this day. I have reoccurring nightmares, I wake up in fear, I fear the dark. I struggle to discuss this even with my beloved husband of 6 years,” Dickinson said in a statement Tuesday, adding that she “will never be the same.”
During a press conference after the sentencing, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said Cosby not only used his on-screen personality to manipulate women, but that he also used it as a shield to hide behind.
“It was a seminal character on TV, and so was the family, but it was fiction,” he said.
“Before Bill Cosby became a convicted felon taken away in handcuffs to begin paying for his crimes, a lot of people believed that’s who he was,” Steele said. “He used his acting skills and endearing TV personality to win over his victims and then keep them silent about what he did to them.”
Cosby was held under house with an electronic monitor between his conviction and sentencing. On Tuesday, he returned to court for the second and final day of his sentencing sporting a small grin as he shuffled past both fans and protesters gathering outside.
“We’re right here with you, Bill! Hold your head up,” a man nearby shouted as dozens more called out to the convicted felon.
Cosby was granted an opportunity to speak on his own behalf Tuesday but declined.
“I don’t need any more discussion on that,” he said.
Pennsylvania’s Sexual Offenders Assessment Board had already recommended Cosby be designated a “sexually violent predator.” Psychologist and board member Kristen Dudley on Monday testified that she believes Cosby experiences uncontrollable urges to violate young women.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele echoed the sentiment, saying he believed Cosby would commit more crimes given the chance.
“To say that he is too old to do that — to say that he should get a pass because it’s taken this long to catch up to what he’s done?” Steele said. “What they’re asking for is a ‘get out of jail free’ card.”
Cosby’s defense team balked at the label.
“The suggestion that Mr. Cosby is dangerous is not supported by anything other than the frenzy,” defense lawyer Joseph Green Jr. said.
Under Pennsylvania law, Cosby will have to serve the minimum three years before he can be eligible for parole.
Andrea Constand at Cosby's sentencing hearing on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. He was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison on Tuesday. (David Maialetti/AP / AP)
“They persecuted Jesus and look what happened,” Wyatt said, reading his statement outside the courthouse. “Mr. Cosby is fine. He’s holding up well. Anyone who wants to say anything negative, you’re a joke as well."
Cosby in April was convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and molesting Constand in 2004 at his home just outside Philadelphia. She reported the incident to police in 2005 but the district attorney at the time did not press charges — so she brought a civil suit against the actor.
In the years since, Cosby has been accused of sexual assault by more than 60 women, prompting officials to reexamine the case. His once family-friendly reputation, sparked by his portrayal of the lovable Dr. Cliff Huxtable in the 1980s sitcom,”The Cosby Show,” eclipsed by the slew of allegations.
“We may never know the full extent of his double life as a sexual predator but his decades-long reign of terror as a serial rapist is over,” Constand said in a victim impact statement released Tuesday.
“I have often asked myself why the burden of being the sole witness in two criminal trials had to fall to me. The pressure was enormous. I knew that how my testimony was perceived — that how I was perceived — would have an impact on every member of the jury and on the future mental and emotional well-being of every sexual assault victim who came before me. But I had to testify.”
Cosby was first charged back in December 2015, just days before the 12-year statute of limitations on the crime ran out. He pleaded not guilty, claiming that Constand was a willing sexual partner. His lawyers were quick to brand her as a “con artist” who framed the comedian for the money, pointing to the $3.4 million settlement she received a decade back.
Therese Serignese was another one of the Jane Doe witnesses for Constand during her civil case and attended the sentencing hearing Tuesday.
“It’s been a long road,” she told The News by phone as she shared the victim impact statement she addressed directly to Cosby.
“I was full of young life, hope, optimism and trust. I was impressionable. I was naïve, and I had my whole life ahead of me. You showed callous disregard for my wellbeing and safety. With your damaging and criminal actions that day, you stole my trust, my body and my belief that good things happen,” she said in the emotional statement.
Serignese was a recent high school graduate when she met Cosby in Las Vegas in 1976. He admitted in a 2005 deposition that he gave her the now-banned sedative Quaaludes then had sexual relations with her.
“You, with premeditation, incapacitated me and then violated me and took away my dignity,” she said. “Your actions of drug-facilitated sexual assault/rape have caused me lifelong harm.”
President Trump. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images
Bob Woodward’s version of tales from the court of the mad king is an especially harrowing portrait of Trump’s delusional state.
Woodward confirms that Trump’s former secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, described him as a “fucking moron,” a fact that has been reported previously. He adds several more officials to the list of people who have blurted out this obvious conclusion.
After security officials tried fruitlessly to explain to Trump the importance of American defenses in South Korea, including a system that reduces the warning time of a North Korean missile attack from 15 minutes to seven seconds, Secretary of Defense James Mattis told associates that Trump “acted like — and had the understanding of — ‘a fifth- or sixth-grader.’ ”
Former National Economic Council director Gary Cohn seemed to believe that Trump actually lacks object permanence. To prevent the president from signing a letter canceling a free-trade agreement with South Korea, he stole the letter from Trump’s desk. Trump “did not notice it was missing,” the Post reports.
Chief of Staff John Kelly has called Trump an idiot and also crazy:
“He’s an idiot. It’s pointless to try to convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We’re in crazytown,” Kelly is quoted as saying at a staff meeting in his office. “I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had.”
Trump’s lawyer John Dowd has likewise called his client an idiot. Somewhat more audaciously, he has argued that Trump should not have to testify to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, because the transcript would leak, and foreign leaders would see that Trump is an idiot:
Dowd then explained to Mueller and Quarles why he was trying to keep the president from testifying: “I’m not going to sit there and let him look like an idiot. And you publish that transcript, because everything leaks in Washington, and the guys overseas are going to say, ‘I told you he was an idiot. I told you he was a goddamn dumbbell. What are we dealing with this idiot for?’”
Another Trump lawyer, Jay Sekulow, tried to argue to Robert Mueller that Trump could not be asked to give an interview because he is a compulsive liar. They literally explained to Mueller how they conducted a mock interview with Trump, and he was so unable to tell the truth that they considered him mentally disqualified from testifying:
Jay Sekulow went to Mueller’s office and re-enacted the mock interview. Their goal: to argue that Trump couldn’t possibly testify because he was incapable of telling the truth.
“He just made something up. That’s his nature,” Dowd said to Mueller.
It seems somehow unfair to let somebody remain on the job as president because he’s such a compulsive liar he can”t be allowed to testify under oath.
Trump's paranoid reaction to the scathing op-ed written to the NYT and obsession to find the writer by subjecting staff to polygraph tests, seems to support Woodward's portrait of the mad king, drunk on his own power.
Obsessed with finding out who wrote the op-ed
Woodward has repeatedly scolded the media for its unfairness to Trump, and expressed skepticism about the Russia investigation. Another reporter who did the same thing, before proceeding to publish a book stuffed with harrowing inside tidbits about Trump’s dysfunction, is Michael Wolff. Perhaps both of them were shrewdly planting favorable commentary in order to warm up potential sources. Wolff’s book, and its too-amazing-to-be-real anecdotes, was met with a fair amount of skepticism from the mainstream media. The additional support from Woodward seems to confirm its essential thrust, if not every detail. However dumb and crazy you might think Trump is, the reality always turns out to be worse.