Bill Cosby sentencing: First day of hearing draws to a close with comedian facing up to 30 years jail time

Chris Stevenson

Day one of Bill Cosby's sentencing hearing that will determine how the 81-year-old comedian will be punished for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman more than 14 years ago has been adjourned. A judge is expected to sentence Cosby in the Philadelphia area courthouse on Tuesday.

Cosby was the first celebrity to go to trial in the #MeToo era and could be the first to go to prison, after being convicted in April of violating Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.

Cosby walked into the courthouse on the arm of his longtime spokesman as protesters shouted at him.

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Court adjourned in the late afternoon on the first day of the two-day hearing. Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill has reportedly stated in court that prosecutors and defence lawyers have agreed to merge the charges against Cosby. The state guidelines for someone like Cosby, with no prior convictions, call for about one to four years behind bars.

Whatever the sentence, Cosby is likely to be deemed a sexually violent predator and will have to undergo monthly counselling the rest of his life, in prison or out. Neighbours and schools will be warned he is living nearby.

Associated Press