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Cosby accuser says she wants 'justice as court sees fit'

September 24, 2018 - 2:51 pm
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NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Bill Cosby's chief accuser on Monday asked for "justice as the court sees fit" as the 81-year-old comedian faced sentencing on sexual assault charges that could make him the first celebrity of the #MeToo era to go to prison.

After testifying for several hours at two trials, Andrea Constand spent just two minutes on the stand at the sentencing hearing in suburban Philadelphia for the man once known as America's Dad.

"The jury heard me. Mr. Cosby heard me. Now, all I am asking for, is justice as the court sees fit," said Constand, who submitted a much longer victim-impact statement that wasn't read in court.

Cosby, whose first trial ended in a hung jury, was convicted in April of drugging and molesting the former Temple University women's basketball administrator at his mansion in 2004. A judge is expected to sentence the former "Cosby Show" star on Tuesday.

The charges carry up to 30 years in prison, though state sentencing guidelines call for about one to four years behind bars.

Judge Steven O'Neill is also expected to decide whether to declare Cosby a "sexually violent predator" — a scarlet letter that would make him subject to mandatory lifetime counseling and community notification of his whereabouts.

On Monday, Kristen Dudley, a psychologist for the state of Pennsylvania, testified that Cosby has an uncontrollable urge to violate young women and would probably commit another offense if given the chance.

Cosby often befriended women, then betrayed their trust by sedating them with drugs or alcohol and violating them for the "sole purpose of his sexual gratification," Dudley testified.

A psychologist for the defense is set to testify Tuesday.

Cosby's lawyers argued that the state law on classifying sexual predators is unconstitutional and that Cosby is unlikely to commit another crime because of his advanced age and health — he is legally blind and uses a cane — and because there have been no complaints that he molested anyone in the 14 years since his encounter with Constand.

Constand's parents and sister followed her on the stand and were far more talkative, telling the judge that the assault had taken an immense emotional toll.

Constand's mother, Gianna, attributed her health problems to Cosby-related stress and accused Cosby of "ruining many lives."

"I can only hope and pray that some sense of peace and faith can be restored back on our family," she said. "The victims cannot be un-raped. Unfortunately, all we can do is hold the perpetrator accountable."

Cosby was the first celebrity to go to trial in the #MeToo era. Monday's proceedings took place as another extraordinary #MeToo drama continued to unfold on Capitol Hill, where Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh faces allegations of sexual misconduct from more than three decades ago.

Cosby, looking grim, walked into the courthouse on the arm of his longtime spokesman as protesters shouted at him. Constand arrived a short time later.

Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt told reporters in the afternoon that the entertainer was in "great, great" spirits.

"We tell him to stay strong and stay focused, and he's focused on Mrs. Cosby, and that's what matters in his family," Wyatt said. "He's a great guy. He's still America's Dad, and they won't ever take that away. You can't take away the legacy."

In the years since Constand first went to police in 2005, more than 60 women have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct, though none of those claims have led to criminal charges. At least two of those women, Lise-Lotte Lublin and former model Janice Dickinson, were among those in the courtroom Monday.

Prosecutors had hoped to have some of the other accusers address the court at sentencing. But the district attorney's office told The Associated Press that that would not happen.

A few hours before the hearing, Constand tweeted Ephesians 4:26, a Bible verse about letting go of anger: "Be wrathful, but do not sin; do not let the sun set while you are still angry; do not give the Devil an opportunity."

Cosby, who grew up in public housing in Philadelphia, became the first black actor to star in a prime-time TV show, "I Spy," in 1965. He remained a Hollywood A-lister for much of the next half-century, hitting his peak in the 1980s with the top-rated "Cosby Show" as the warm, wisecracking dad, Dr. Cliff Huxtable.

The AP does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they come forward publicly, which Constand and other accusers have done.

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