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Bill Cosby Is Sentenced From 3 To 10 Years and State Prison. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired September 25, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:00:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Hi there. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN. Any minute now the decision will be in. Comedian and actor, once deemed America's favorite TV dad will be sentenced right this very moment. He is being sentenced for drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University women's basketball coach, Andrea Constand. He was convicted in April of aggravated indecent assault. Prosecutors saying he showed no signs of remorse. Cosby is 81 and legally blind and his age was a major point of contention during his sentencing.
His attorneys want house arrest for him. What's more here, the judge ruled Cosby, a sexually violent predator, which means Cosby must register as a lifetime sex offender and notify people of his status wherever he lives for the rest of his life. Andrea Constand stood before the court saying her personal shame of what happened to her was overwhelming. Let's bring in Athena Jones. Talk to us about what's happening.
ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Brooke, with the high drama, high stakes moment, we're waiting anxiously to hear what Judge Steven O'Neill has to say about what sentence Bill Cosby will face. His lawyers were arguing he should be sentenced to house arrest. He's 81 years old, he's in failing health, legally blind, needs help to get around and isn't a danger to anyone except maybe himself. They argue that incarceration would impose an undue burden. But on the other side the prosecution is saying as you mentioned, this is someone who is not showing any remorse. And going beyond that they talk about how Bill Cosby abused his position as a mentor. Andrea Constand viewed him as a mentor and took advantage of her and her trust in him. And so, this is much more than a physical, sexual assault.
Also of course the aggravating circumstances of the drugging that was involved. And so, this is going to be an important sense we are going to get in a few minutes now. They wanted to see five to ten years for Bill Cosby, a $25,000 fine and want him to pay various court costs, costs of prosecutions sheriff's cough costs. This means he's going to be required to register as a sexually violent predator for life. He'll have to do mandatory counseling to deal with this issue and there's going to be notification of the community that a sexually violent predator lives there.
That is separate from the sentence we're waiting to come down now. In this first guilty verdict of a celebrity accused of sexual assault in the #me-too era. A lot of Cosby accusers said my faith in humanity has been restored by this verdict. Even if you have jurors saying it wasn't about #me-too, a lot of other folks say because of this environment, this moment in time, more women are more likely to be believed and they point to this case as the first big case where we've seen that play out with three guilty verdicts.
BALDWIN: This was like the beginning of the beginning for them. Thank you. We're all standing by for the news from this courtroom in Pennsylvania. Let me bring in some lawyers. Let me just begin, initially I thought that prosecutors were asking for 30 years. Now it's five to ten. Why the change?
YODIT TEWOLDE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, it's probably because they're looking at what the judge has probably done in other cases with other defendants who were similarly situated. You do have Bill Cosby, who is 81. A lot of factors such as his age and disability and maybe even his fame that could put into question or at risk his safety in prison. And so being realistic and not shooting so high knowing this wouldn't get that -- they want to go with a penalty range that's more reasonable and likely to happen in their mind.
BALDWIN: Effectively it's the rest of his life if he's 81. I've got another voice who just sat down next to me. You're mighty fast. Mark Geragos is with me and Areva Martin. Mark, just to you, what's happening right now?
MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You asked why did the prosecutors come down? Because they were obviously asking for a lot more time.
[14:05:00] BALDWIN: They were.
GERAGOS: Because they have in Pennsylvania, even though this is a state court, they have the very similar thing they have in federal, they're called guidelines. The judge has got to report that he is looking at, sentencing guidelines say somewhere between 22 and 36 months. If a prosecutor is asking for 30 he looks like he has lost his mind. They're saying, look, judge, don't go with the guidelines, you only saw a portion of the evidence that was presented. You're the one who excluded our request to do other stuff. We're going to lean towards double that. And the thought process, I know prosecutors would never admit this, maybe some ex-prosecutors would, they think it's a negotiating technique. If I ask for double, I may get half. This judge said this morning my north star if you will is going to be in heartland, that's what the judges call it, the heartland of the sentencing guidelines, 22 to 36 somewhere in there. My guess is he comes in at 30 months or maybe a little bit less. That's still a pretty long sentence for an 81-year old man with some infirmities and things like that. In the case that was this old that was brought and society has finally caught up to him basically.
BALDWIN: Areva, to you, I know this is all swirling and we're waiting for the number of years. I was just reminding somebody of picture pages. I grew up watching picture pages. This is Mr. Huxtable. This is one who America once thought was the perfect dad, right, who really did a lot for black America, America and this is a man who has been convicted and is about to be locked away potentially for quite a while.
AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Brooke, I'm so glad you brought that point up. As we're talking about this as a criminal case, this case has so much more significance in terms of pop and celebrity culture and in terms of the African-American community. Bill Cosby wasn't just America's dad. He was a hero in the African-American community, the likes of which I don't know if anyone was on par, on his level at the time that he was at the height of his game. So, to see him have such a fall from grace, to be convicted of three felonies, to be now deemed a sexually violent predator, to be facing prison time, is incredibly overwhelming. All of this happening in the same week that we're looking at Brett Kavanaugh and allegations of sexual assault. As a civil rights lawyer that has been litigating sexual harassment, sexual assault cases for two decades, this is an incredibly moment to see Bill Cosby prosecuted in a state court and to be convicted, it is almost impossible for a celebrity of his stature to be convicted. Jurors just don't like sending their celebrities to jail. So, I don't think we can overestimate the significance of this moment.
GERAGOS: There's another-- Areva, you two may be too young to remember this but there is another component of this. This man suffered probably the worst thing any parent can suffer. His son, Ennis, was murdered. There was a much publicized trial about it in Los Angeles almost 20 years ago maybe longer, and he went through that. This is a victim. This is somebody who has suffered the worst thing any parent can go through. You combine that with his stature along the way. I'm old enough to remember "I Spy" and him breaking the barriers there as well. He spans so many different areas from victim to pioneer to kind of national scold when it comes to the African-American community to, you know, somebody who was a promoter of education. And then to have this fall from grace is just stunning.
B: Add another title, sexually violent offender.
MARTIN: OK, Mark, I got to push back on you.
GERAGOS: She's not young enough to remember?
MARTIN: I'm young enough to remember but being a victim and losing a child, there's no correlation between that and being a sexual predator.
GERAGOS: I don't disagree. It's an amazing shift of the prism that you look at him through.
BALDWIN: Let me ask everyone to stand by as we wait for the news for the sentencing for Bill Cosby next.
[14:10:00] BALDWIN: Here we go, covering our breaking story, the sentencing of Bill Cosby. Let's go straight to Athena.
JONES: Bill Cosby being sentenced of three to ten years, pay a fine of $25,000 and court costs that I just mentioned. The prosecution wanted five to ten years. This is three to ten. That's substantially close. The judge handed down the sentence today and said this was a serious crime. Mr. Cosby, it has all circled back to you. The day has come, the time has come. You'll remember Cosby is 81 years old, he's been convicted of drugging and sexual assaulting Andrea Constand. They're still in court so we don't know what more details will emerge but this is the key detail, three to ten years in state prison. Brooke?
BALDWIN: Let's get our lawyers to react. Areva, to you. Three to ten in state prison. I know there was a thought he'd be under house arrest. This is in state prison.
MARTIN: I never had any expectation that he would receive home confinement as his team requested and argued before the court, I agree with Mark given the pending appeal that he'd have to be careful what he said if he were to take the stand. He could've taken the stand without ever admitting guilt. The fact that he didn't do so and offer any apology about the pain that Andrea Constand is feeling or has experienced, he didn't ask for mercy, didn't ask for leniency, I can't help but believe that that played some part in the decision that the judge has made. I think this sentence is fair.
[14:15:00] I think the victims, the 60-plus women that have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault will feel vindicated, will feel like today justice was served. A very powerful man who has been and as we now know is a co convicted sexual predator will now be facing significant prison time. This is a big day for the #me-too movement.
BALDWIN: It is a big day. Yodit, three to ten.
TEWOLDE: Can you hear me?
BALDWIN: Go ahead.
TEWOLDE: I'm not surprised at all. He chose not to say anything, which of course the judge shouldn't consider, but you can't consider something someone never says. But during the break I'm scrolling through Twitter and I'm looking at people actually saying and applauding the sentence and in the same breath wanting to defend Kavanaugh. It a defining moment when you have someone like Cosby going to prison and someone like Kavanaugh going to the highest court in the land. Anyone who applauds this cannot defend --
BALDWIN: We have a camera in the courthouse. Mark Geragos, do you think we might get a shot of him?
MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I don't know. When they say three to ten, they focus on the three. I don't know if they remand him, put him into custody immediately or let him stay out while out on appeal? That to me is the real key here.
BALDWIN: When will we find that out?
GERAGOS: Immediately. He's either walking out of this courtroom and that means he's got bail on appeal and he's going to self-surrender or they're going to put him into custody immediately, which is called a remand.
BALDWIN: If he were to be heading straight to state prison, how do you think Bill Cosby would fare in prison?
GERAGOS: Bill Cosby will do very well in state prison, believe it or not.
GERAGOS: Bill Cosby, his celebrity translates into a state prison. This is not a child molest, which is the worst thing if you go into state prison. Generally, you'll never survive your sentence or five times out of ten you won't survive your sentence. Because of a lot of the things that he's done, he will do OK there. Physically his h is a concern. State prisons have become kind of this waste land for the medically infirm. California is a good example. We have all these three-strikes people, we have become almost like a medical facility for the aged. Physically there's a concern for his health.
BALDWIN: Do you think they would put him in population?
GERAGOS: There's a designation, 10-k, 10-9, a protective unit. The last thing they would want is for him to be shanked in the department so they probably would isolate him somewhere. At least for me and someone who practices in the criminal justice system, it's an interesting message if he doesn't let him stay out on bail. Like I said, I was surprised --
BALDWIN: You think it's interesting if he sends him straight to prison.
GERAGOS: Yes, I think it is.
BALDWIN: Do you think he will be?
GERAGOS: No, I don't. I was surprised when he was convicted that he didn't get remanded and put into jail then. I don't think he's going to let him stay out on bail, but if he does, we'll have a whole different discussion.
[14:20:00] BALDWIN: Stand by for that. Areva back over to you. We just heard Bill Cosby has been sentenced to three to ten years in state prison. He'll pay a fine of $25,000 and according to what the judge said in court, the day has come, the time has come. We're just waiting to see who may walk out of those courthouse doors. Areva, what's happening behind those closed doors right now?
MARTIN: I think the determination is being made about what happened to Bill Cosby immediately. Does he go into the custody of law enforcement and start to serve his time, does he get processed and start to make his way to whatever penitentiary he'll be assigned to? We know his team has filed an appeal of the trial but there's also likely to be an appeal of the determination he's a sexually violent predator. The law in Pennsylvania is someone in flux as it relates to the use of this determination. We know that Cosby as team has argued that it is an unconstitutional determination so we should expect to see multiple appeals as a result of Cosby as conviction, so not just the conviction on the three counts but also an appeal of this determination. Carries as we talked about a lifetime being registered as sex offender, community alerts when he goes into the community, lifetime counseling.
We also know that the prosecutors asked that Cosby be forced to undergo a psychological evaluation. So, in addition to the prison time they asked for, they also asked he be psychologically evaluated. He refused to participate in the evaluation that was done in pre- sentencing hearing by the state of Pennsylvania as they were trying to determine whether he should be deemed a sexually violent predator. We don't know whether the request of the prosecutors to have him undergo that evaluation has in fact been granted. But it's very clear. Prosecutors believe Bill Cosby is still dangerous. They're not buying his argument about his age, about him being legally blind. They have consistently maintained that Bill Cosby is a sexually violent predator and that not only should he face jail time, he should be given counselling to address his proclivities toward violence.
GERAGOS: I don't know, you guys called me on short notice, but I will tell you that at least in California the designation of a sexually violent predator has enhanced supervision -- not just supervision over being just a registered sex offender. Registered sex offender you've got to apply every year, notify your movements, the victim has certain rights things like that. Sexually violent predator carries with it this idea that before you're released, before you can ever get paroled, before they will put you back into the community, you have to jump through all kind of psychiatric, social work hoops. That is probably why they will appeal that designation --
BALDWIN: Not have him deal with all that.
GERAGOS: Arguably it can be a life sentence if there's no remedial action.
BALDWIN: Let me bring in Kathy McKee, who has accused Cosby of attacking her in a hotel room in 1974. She has filed a defamation lawsuit against Cosby and defense team that is now headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Thank you so much for being with me. How are you feeling right about now as he's being sentenced?
KATHY MCKEE, ACCUSED COSBY OF ATTACKING HER: Thank you. I'm very happy to be able to be here today. Just listening to this is stirring up some very difficult and deep emotions for me. Because I was a part, I saw the violence in Bill Cosby when he attacked me and it's hard, it's very difficult to try and make it go away. It surfaces -- I was doing very well holding it together until I began to hear these last few words.
[14:25:00] Being attacked in 1974 by Bill Cosby, who was at the time my good friend I thought, my buddy, someone I worked with, was a horrible thing to happen. It's caused me a lifetime of problems emotionally, work issues, being in the industry, the television business, it's been very difficult on me. I feel a great deal of sorrow for all the women that this has happened to and not just with Bill Cosby but everywhere. I'm just struggling to keep going every day. I'm happy the judge sentenced Bill Cosby accordingly and I'm grateful to Andrea for standing strong.
BALDWIN: I appreciate you being open with your emotions on television. I appreciate your -- essentially for a lot of women it never goes away. As easy as it may be for outsiders looking in, OK, he's been sentenced, chapter closed, vindication for survivors like you, it's sorrow as well it sounds like.
MCKEE: It hurts. It's painful. It's an attack, it's a rape. It's an attack on your body. It's very scary when a man like Bill Cosby who at the time was a big, strong man, to attack you in a room, it's terrifying. I actually at the time thought he was going to kill me because I really thought that he had to have lost his mind in order to do something like this to me. It's horrible. And then the fear of being so afraid for 40-something years to tell anybody about it, to say anything because nobody believes us. Nobody -- they think, oh, Bill Cosby, oh, America's dad. You know, a fine man. Oh, come on, how could he do this to you? It's a mess.
BALDWIN: Do you feel believed now?
MCKEE: You know, Brooke, I'll tell you, there are people out there, I've read some of the comments, I've seen the social media. There are still people who believe that it's not possible for Bill Cosby, that somehow, we're all lying and making this up. It's a horrible situation. I don't understand why people don't believe women when they say something like this has happened to them because what benefit could it be? How could you gain from it? I don't understand it, I don't know why. I do think there are still a lot of people who still don't believe us. I still believe that.
BALDWIN: There are those people and there are those who said out loud the time has come. He's been sentenced to three to ten years in state prison. This is the Bill Cosby and, my goodness, how the seemingly mighty can fall. Do you feel like justice has been served?
MCKEE: Well, in a way. It's a strange -- I have a very strange feeling about it.
BALDWIN: Describe it.
MCKEE: I feel as though -- I feel that justice has been served for Bill Cosby. I suffered for 40-plus years. He's got three to ten years, I think you just mentioned. He has no remorse, he shows no remorse whatsoever. He's not sorry at all. He's not sorry? You know, he's not sorry about what he did to anybody.
BALDWIN: Would that make it better if he said that?
MCKEE: I think it would make it better, yes. I think it would be a lot better if he would address me and the other women that he's done this to and say, you know, I was nuts, I have a disorder, I -- you know, anything. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to do this to you. It was a mistake. I should have been getting treatment, which I don't accept that either because with Bill Cosby as money and fame and power, he could have gone to another country even and got treatment and got better. So, I don't know. It's a very confusing, difficult time. I am glad that Bill Cosby was convicted and I'm grateful that the judge has given him this time, and I say a prayer for all of us women that have been affected by this through Bill Cosby's hands.
BALDWIN: I'm wondering, too, this is my last question as we've been covering women speaking up and this #me-too movement, Kathy, and you all were some of the first in this major instance. And just your thoughts on how this movement since all of you came forward, how this has evolved in this country over time.
MCKEE: Well, you know, Brooke, you're absolutely right. We were, you know, Cosby's case was one of the first. We were one of the earliest. I was one of the first people to come out with the Bill Cosby case. I really didn't do it for any kind of movement or any kind of glory. I did this, I spoke up because I saw a few other women speak out and just be put down so horribly by a few people who came forward to protect Bill Cosby and I felt so sorry for the women who had suffered that I just decided that I was going to speak up for them and help them and say it happened to me also. I can only pray to god that somehow our world that we live