• Bill Cosby is in court in Norristown, Pa., where he is to be sentenced for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home near Philadelphia 14 years ago.
• A psychologist representing Pennsylvania’s Sexual Offenders Assessment Board testified Monday that Mr. Cosby had a personality disorder evident in his lifetime of interest in non-consenting women.
• He is likely to be incarcerated, though it is unclear for what length of time. An open question is whether he will be allowed to remain free during the expected appeal of his conviction.
• At least six women who have accused Mr. Cosby of similar acts of sexual abuse were in the courtroom to watch the sentencing, but Mr. Cosby’s wife, Camille, was not.
• Ms. Constand was also there and may speak in court, though it is unclear if other women who testified against Mr. Cosby will have the chance. Mr. Cosby is permitted to speak, but his legal team has not said whether he will.
How long a sentence can Mr. Cosby expect?
NORRISTOWN, Pa. — Once one of the world’s best-known entertainers, Mr. Cosby, 81, may become one of the most famous Americans ever to enter a prison cell. At a time when the country is coming to terms with a culture of predatory sexual abuse by powerful men, his sentencing will also underscore what is the first major conviction of the #MeToo era.
Mr. Cosby faces a maximum 30-year prison term, 10 years for each of three counts of aggravated indecent assault he was convicted of.
The counts are likely to be merged, however, or be served concurrently, in which case Mr. Cosby could be facing, at most, 10 years. Counts can be merged when they stem from the same event. In this case, they originated with the encounter in January 2004 when, Ms. Constand said, Mr. Cosby sexually assaulted her after giving her pills that made her drift in and out of consciousness.
Judge Steven T. O’Neill of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas will have to consider state guidelines that recommend, but do not mandate, appropriate sentence ranges. Those guidelines, which account for any previous criminal record (Mr. Cosby has none), the seriousness of his offense, and mitigating and aggravating factors, suggest a range of about 10 months to four years, according to Barbara Ashcroft, a former sex crimes prosecutor in Pennsylvania.
A New York Times analysis of Pennsylvania court data for the past five years showed that offenders convicted of crimes similar to Mr. Cosby’s were often given sentences of two to five years.
(Sentences in Pennsylvania are given as a range of a minimum and a maximum. Inmates with good behavior may be eligible for parole when they have reached the minimum.)
But Judge O’Neill has wide discretion in determining the sentence.
Mrs. Cosby is not in attendance
Camille Cosby had been vocal in recent days in attacking the fairness of the trial and, in particular, the behavior of Judge O’Neill, who she has said should be investigated by a state judicial conduct panel.
But she was not with Mr. Cosby when he entered the courthouse at 9:08 a.m., wearing a dark suit and sporting a blue handkerchief in his breast pocket. He sat quietly at the front of the court with his lawyers, Joseph P. Green, who is handling the sentencing, and Peter Goldberger, his appeals lawyer.
Three of the five women who testified at the trial, and gave their own accounts of sexual abuse by Mr. Cosby — Chelan Lasha, Janice Dickinson and Lise-Lotte Lublin — were in court, sitting close to the front. Several other Cosby accusers were also present including Tamara Green, Therese Serignese and Lili Bernard.
Ms. Constand was also in the room, accompanied by her mother, father and sister.
For many of these Cosby accusers, and others, the jury verdict in April had seemed a watershed moment, one that reflected how the accounts of female accusers were being afforded greater credibility. But the issue is far from settled, as is evident in the debate over how to view the accusations of sexual impropriety now being brought forward by women about Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee.
A psychologist finds that Mr. Cosby has a personality disorder
Before the sentencing itself, prosecutors pushed forward with an effort to have Mr. Cosby categorized as a “sexually violent predator.”
A Pennsylvania state board had recommended such a classification, which can be a factor in sentencing and in the conditions imposed on a person found to be a predator, both in prison and afterward. But the final decision rests with Judge O’Neill who heard testimony in the morning from the psychologist, Kristen F. Dudley, who had prepared the board report.
She said Mr. Cosby had a personality disorder that displayed itself in a lifetime of interest in nonconsenting women, one that she did not believe had dissipated with age. “It is possible that he has already met someone who could be a future victim,” she said.
She said that, while Mr. Cosby had declined to meet with her, she was able to draw that conclusion by going through “boxes of documents,” including transcripts from Mr. Cosby’s two trials.
She said an interview had not been necessary. “A review of records is sufficient,” she said.
One important factor in her conclusion, she said, was what she described as Mr. Cosby’s use of friendship to create trust that gave him access to Ms. Constand. “He used that friendship, that relationship, that trust to take advantage of her,” the psychologist said.
She said she had drawn this conclusion because of the behavior he had demonstrated over 30 years, during which time he had engaged in grooming behavior.
But the defense said that Mr. Cosby’s age and legal blindness meant he was no risk, especially since there have been no new allegations since 2004.
“How’s he going to meet these people?” said Mr. Green. “There is no reasonable prospect that an 81-year-old blind man is likely to reoffend.”
Mr. Cosby’s legal team had objected to the whole discussion, asserting that the legality of the state’s predator determination process is questionable because, among other things, it does use the “beyond reasonable” doubt formula for findings in criminal cases.
“The statute is unconstitutional,” said Mr. Green, but the judge found otherwise.
Prosecutors said the law was not punitive and was meant to protect the community.
Tracy Piatkowski, an assistant district attorney, argued that the determination process was “rooted in legitimate governmental interest in protecting vulnerable members of the community against predation.”
If the judge agrees with the board’s psychological assessment, Mr. Cosby would be required to have routine counseling for the rest of his life, and even if not sentenced to prison, he would be required to report monthly to the police. The law is the state’s version of Megan’s Law, a federal statute that requires the monitoring of convicted sex offenders.
Will he say ‘I’m sorry’?
Prosecutors will argue for tough sentencing and emphasize aggravating factors such as the nature of Mr. Cosby’s crime and his practice of giving drugs to women.
Ms. Constand, who now works as a massage therapist in Canada, is likely to speak about the impact on her life. One or more of her family members may also testify about how she was affected.
Dozens of other women have accused Mr. Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting them and some of those accusers, whose cases did not end in criminal charges, are likely to be in the courtroom. Judge O’Neill rejected a prosecution request to allow other women to tell their accounts at the hearing, though it is unclear whether that ruling will apply to the five women he allowed to testify at Mr. Cosby’s trial.
Mr. Cosby’s defense team will point to mitigating factors, including his advanced age and the fact that he is legally blind. Mr. Cosby is far older than others convicted of the same crime in Pennsylvania in the past five years, according to sentencing data.
To bolster its arguments, the defense team may present witnesses to discuss, for example, his good character or any good works.
But the most important and powerful moment of the hearing may come if Mr. Cosby, who has denied sexually abusing any of the women, decides to speak and express remorse.
“There has not been any sense of contrition or regret, and it would be the news story of the day if he stood up and said, ‘Judge, I am sorry,’” said Daniel M. Filler, dean of the Kline School of Law at Drexel University in Philadelphia. “But it’s not likely to happen.”
Will he remain free on appeal?
Mr. Cosby’s lawyers have filed several motions suggesting that they will file an appeal that challenges the judge’s trial and pretrial rulings and even the judge’s personal integrity.
A key question at the sentencing hearing is whether Mr. Cosby will be allowed to remain out on bail while he pursues those appeals, a process that could take years.
His lawyers will argue that he is not a flight risk, and that he is not likely to commit another crime.
But if Judge O’Neill were to permit him to stay at home, the judge would surely face bitter criticism from the many female accusers eager for closure this week. “I don’t think the judge will let him out on appeal; he has had his freedom for a long time,” said Ms. Ashcroft, the former prosecutor.
If he is not allowed to stay free during appeals, and he is sentenced to less than two years, he will serve his time in a county facility. If he is sentenced to two years or more, he will go to state prison, initially State Correctional Institution Phoenix, a new facility in the Philadelphia suburbs where he will be evaluated, according to Amy Worden, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.
Pennsylvania has several places equipped to care for older or frail inmates, and Mr. Cosby would share a two-person cell or could be kept alone in solitary confinement if his safety is at risk or he is judged to be a threat to others.
Bryon MacWilliams contributed reporting.