Bill Cosby arrives at court for sex assault sentencing

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Bill Cosby has arrived at court to learn his punishment for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman over a decade ago in what became the first celebrity trial of the #MeToo era.

Prosecutors on Monday asked a judge to give the 81-year-old comedian five to 10 years behind bars, while his lawyers asked for house arrest, saying the legally blind Cosby is too old and helpless to do time in prison.

Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt said the former TV star planned to remain silent when given the opportunity to address the Philadelphia court. Cosby did not give evidence at either of his two trials.

The once-beloved entertainer faces anywhere from probation to 10 years in prison for violating Temple University women’s basketball administrator Andrea Constand at his estate near Philadelphia in 2004.

She went to police a year later, only to have a prosecutor turn down the case.

In the years since Ms Constand first went to police in 2005, more than 60 women have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct, though none of the claims have led to criminal charges.

Cosby became the first celebrity of the #MeToo era to be convicted.

His sentencing is a reckoning accusers and prosecutors said was decades in the making.

“The victims cannot be un-raped. Unfortunately, all we can do is hold the perpetrator accountable,” said Gianna Constand, the victim’s mother, who told the court on Monday that her daughter’s buoyant personality was forever changed after the attack.

The hearing is set to conclude after evidence from a defence psychologist who says Cosby is no longer a danger, given his age, and should not be branded a “sexually violent predator”.

Defense lawyer Joseph Green Jr urged the judge ignore the protests and activism surrounding the case, and send Cosby home on house arrest.

“The suggestion that Mr Cosby is dangerous is not supported by anything other than the frenzy,” Mr Green said as demonstrators gathered outside the courthouse.

Being labelled a sexually violent predator would make him subject to mandatory lifetime counselling and community notification of his whereabouts.

On Monday, Kristen Dudley, a psychologist for the state of Pennsylvania, testified that Cosby fits the criteria for a sexually violent predator, showing signs of a mental disorder that involves an uncontrollable urge to have non-consensual sex with young women.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said Cosby would no doubt commit similar crimes if given the chance, warning that the former TV star seemingly gets a sexual thrill out of slipping women drugs and assaulting them.

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