Cosby camp: Once-beloved actor a victim of racism, sexism
NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A publicist for once-beloved actor Bill Cosby complained that his conviction and three- to 10-year prison term for sexual assault Tuesday stem from a racist and sexist justice system, as the defense vowed to appeal the first celebrity trial of the #MeToo era.
Cosby, 81, was spending his first night alone in a Pennsylvania prison after being accustomed to a life filled with handlers and household help.
Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt said that Cosby was “one of the greatest civil rights leaders in the United States for over the past 50 years,” while decrying the trial as the “most sexist and racist” in the country’s history.
The judge, prosecutor and jury saw it differently.
“No one is above the law. And no one should be treated disproportionately because of who they are, where they live, or even their wealth, celebrity or philanthropy,” Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill said in sentencing Cosby to an above-average sentence for a 2004 sex assault.
Cosby’s defense team has raised the racial issue before, in 2016, before quickly scrapping it.
“We prosecute where the evidence takes us and that was done in this (Cosby) case. When (U.S.) Judge (Eduardo) Robreno released the deposition and said that this is perhaps criminal, we’re obligated to look at that and we did and we worked through the case and we got to where we are today.”
Cosby broke racial barriers in the entertainment world in the 1960s but later became the first celebrity of the #MeToo era to be convicted. He was found guilty in April of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his gated estate in 2004 after being barraged with similar accusations from more than 60 women over the past five decades.
“It is time for justice. Mr. Cosby, this has all circled back to you. The time has come,” O’Neill said. He quoted from victim Andrea Constand’s statement to the court, in which she said Cosby took her “beautiful, young spirit and crushed it.”
Cosby declined the opportunity to speak before the sentence came down and afterward sat laughing and chatting with his defense team. His wife of 54 years, Camille, was not in court. Constand smiled broadly on hearing the punishment and was hugged by others in the courtroom. NVG
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