Cosby arrives for start of sentencing hearing

Bill Cosby

Cosby's first trial ended in June 2017 with a hung jury, hopelessly deadlocked after 52 hours of deliberations. However, he was released on $1 million bail with strict conditions that he remains at home till his sentencing.

When the comedian, once known as "America's Dad", is sentenced to what could be up to 10 years in prison this week for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in 2004, it will be perhaps the starkest evidence yet that the #MeToo movement has permanently altered the way the country reckons with sexual misconduct by powerful men.

Cosby could then be sentenced late on Monday, rather than on Tuesday.

The judge allowed prosecutors to call five other accusers as witnesses in Cosby's second trial over the objections of his defense team, bolstering Constand's account.

But Cosby's conviction has given hope to many survivors, particularly those whose abuse occurred too long ago to pursue criminal charges, according to Rebecca O'Connor, vice president of public policy at RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network).

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Cosby and his legal team have shown that they want to mitigate the amount of damage being done to his reputation, starting with the classification of him as a "sexually violent predator". Cosby's attorneys intend to argue that the state's sex-reporting law is unconstitutional for its negative categorization of defendants, and the subsequent effects.

The site further reports that Judge O'Neill ruled on Thursday morning that main witness, Andrea Constand, will be joined by the "prior bad act witnesses" Janice Dickinson, Heidi Thomas, Chelan Lasha, Janice Baker-Kinney and Lise-Lotte Lublin who may be allowed to provide their respective victim impact statements.

Cosby also could address the court in an "allocution", Delano said.

Cosby is now on his third lead lawyer, Joseph Green, since his arrest in December 2015, having parted ways with celebrity advocate Tom Mesereau after the guilty verdict. "I feel like my faith in humanity is restored". O'Neil last week denied the motion, calling it untimely and "wholly without merit", court records show. His wife of over 50 years, Camille, was noticeably absent.

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