His Hollywood career and good-guy image in ruins, Bill Cosby was led away to prison in handcuffs Tuesday at age 81, sentenced to 3 to 10 years behind bars for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his gated estate.
The punishment made him the first celebrity of the #MeToo era to be sent to prison.
“It is time for justice. Mr. Cosby, this has all circled back to you. The time has come,” Montgomery County Judge Steven 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 upon hearing the punishment and was hugged by others in the courtroom.
In a blistering statement, Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt said the comic was subjected to “most racist and sexist trial in the history of the United States.”
In his testimony, Cosby described sexual encounters with a string of actresses, models and other young women and talked about obtaining quaaludes to give to those he wanted to sleep with.
Cosby’s first trial in 2017 ended with a hung jury. He was convicted at a retrial that opened months after the #MeToo movement had taken down such figures as Hollywood studio boss Harvey Weinstein, NBC’s Matt Lauer, actor Kevin Spacey and Sen. Al Franken.