Cosby Lawyers Argue Over Pennsylvania’s Sex Predator Law
NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Bill Cosby’s sentencing hearing began Monday with a debate over a state law that could allow the 81-year-old comedian to be branded a “sexually violent predator” — a scarlet letter that would make him subject to mandatory lifetime counseling and community notification of his whereabouts.
Trying to avoid the designation for their client, Cosby’s lawyers argued the law is unconstitutional. Lawmakers in Pennsylvania and elsewhere have repeatedly rewritten their sex-offender reporting laws after courts found them vague and punitive.
Prosecutors told Judge Steven O’Neill the law is necessary for public safety.
The legal wrangling came at the start of a hearing that will determine how the comedian will be punished for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his home more than 14 years ago.
Cosby was the first celebrity to go to trial in the #MeToo era and could be the first to go to prison — perhaps for the rest of his days — after being convicted in April of violating Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his home in 2004.
Cosby, looking grim, walked into the courthouse on the arm of his longtime spokesman as protesters shouted at him. Constand arrived a short time later…read more