His Hollywood career and good-guy image in ruins, Bill Cosby was led away to prison in handcuffs Tuesday at age 81 for perhaps the rest of his days, sentenced to three 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 and all but completed the dizzying, late-in-life fall from grace for the comedian, TV star and breaker of racial barriers.
"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 when sentencing him to state prison and "total confinement." 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." Reading the lengthy statement off his cell phone, Wyatt claimed both Cosby and Judge Brett Kavanaugh are victims of a "sex war" going on in Washington that he also claims Judge O'Neill to be a part of.
Among other things, Wyatt said all three of the psychologists who testified against Cosby were "white women who make money off of accusing black men of being sexual predators," and he accused prosecutors of using a doctored recording of a telephone conversation between Constand's mother and Cosby.
Cosby's lawyers asked that he be allowed to remain free on bail while he appeals his conviction, but the judge appeared incredulous over the request and ordered him locked up immediately, saying that "he could quite possibly be a danger to the community."
The comedian — who is legally blind and uses a cane — removed his watch, tie and jacket and walked out in a white dress shirt and red suspenders, his hands cuffed in front of him. He must serve the minimum of three years before becoming eligible for parole