By Stacy M. Brown,NNPA Newswire Correspondent
Bill Cosby arrived at the Montgomery County, Pa., Courthouse for his sentencing on assault charges Monday with his head held high, even pointing to an adoring fan and offering a smile.
Lending further weight to those who believe that Cosby was railroaded, is the designation by a state-employed psychologist that the star is a sexually violent predator.
Without examining Cosby and apparently using just trial testimony, the “expert” witness said she determined that the star “is a sexually violent predator who, even at his advanced age and handicap, would likely re-offend.”
Cosby’s team fought the designation using its own expert, who contended that the state’s designation was unconstitutional and noted that the only crime for which Cosby has ever been charged, is the 2003 or 2004 incident with Andrea Constand which led to his conviction this year.
As has been his pattern throughout the more than three-year legal process, Judge Steven T. O’Neill ruled against Cosby by declaring that the sexually violent predator designation is not unconstitutional.
After a contentious Monday that saw Cosby’s attorneys and the prosecution team reach an agreement to allow sentencing for only one instead of all three of the counts he was convicted of, Judge Steven T. O’Neill said he’ll hand down his decision on Tuesday.
Prosecutors have asked for a five- to 10-year sentence while Cosby’s team seeks house arrest while he appeals the verdict, noting that he’s been confined to his home without incident since the conviction in April.
Prison time would be viewed as a victory for the #MeToo movement and the final phase of the deterioration of the reputation of the man once known as “America’s Dad.” However, regardless of what happens on Tuesday, the proceedings are far from over. Cosby’s attorney, Joe Green, has said that he will immediately seek an appeal of the verdicts and subsequent sentencing.
Andrew Wyatt, Cosby’s spokesman, declined to comment on the day’s proceedings but has previously stated that Cosby would arrive at court undaunted. Wyatt said Cosby has “remained himself” throughout the ordeal and he’s maintained his innocence in spite of the “unfair process” that has seen:
- jurors discussing plans to write a tell-all book— before reaching a verdict
- racially-charged and offensive remarks made by both assistant district attorneys
- a juror proclaiming that Cosby is guilty, long before testimony had even begun in earnest, and
“Fear of retaliation by Steele could be a motive in [the juror] agreeing to return a guilty verdict,” Black Press reader Jay Raskin said of the case’s lone female Black juror, who has a relative serving a prison sentence in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. “The juror currently has still another relative facing prosecution by Steele,” he said.
Also, noteworthy is “the virtually all-white owned mass media has turned a blind eye to the incredible corruption in this case and the systematic stripping of Bill Cosby’s basic constitutional, legal and human rights since the day he was first publicly accused of sexual misconduct,” Raskin said.
“The case is highlighting the close relationship between racism and sexism — and Cosby has been caught in the deadly crosshairs… It’s precisely because he has fought so effectively against racism and sexism all of his life that he’s been targeted,” said Raskin.
Among the many issues Cosby’s defense team now will use to have the verdicts, which the defense team feels is unjust, is the argument that prosecutors violated his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Prosecutor Kevin Steele used Cosby’s 2005 and 2006 civil deposition as a basis for charging him with aggravated indecent assault.
Under oath during the deposition, Cosby admitted to previously providing Quaaludes to women prior to having sex with them. The deposition, which was given under assurance that it would be sealed and never used against him in any current or future prosecution, effectively results in Cosby’s unwitting testimony against himself.
It should be noted that Cosby, and some of the accusers who testified against him, including Constand (who was given a Benadryl tablet and not Quaaludes) maintained that he offered, and they accepted, a substance.
During his press conference following the guilty verdicts, Steele pointed to the deposition as the “decisive point” that allowed him to reopen the case in the summer of 2015. Juror #11, who sat for an interview with ABC News after the verdicts, also pointed to the deposition as the reason Cosby was convicted.
“The fact that a federal court unsealed it doesn’t answer the question of whether it was proper to admit it in this case,” Matthew Stiegler, an appellate lawyer, told Philadelphia radio station WHYY after Cosby’s conviction. “I think this is likely an appealable issue,” Stiegler said.
On Tuesday, Cosby will find out whether he’s headed to prison.