The charges against Bill Cosby and the sentences they carry
The fate of entertainer Bill Cosby on sexual assault charges is in the hands of a jury near Philadelphia, which began deliberations Monday.
A look at the charges, and the punishment he could face if convicted:
WHAT IS COSBY ACCUSED OF?
Drugging and sexually violating a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. Andrea Constand says Cosby gave her pills that made her paralyzed and unable to fight him off as he groped her breast and genitals. His lawyers said they were in a romantic relationship and what happened was consensual. The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.
WHAT IS HE CHARGED WITH?
Three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault, each covering a different aspect of the alleged crime.
Count 1 alleges that Cosby didn’t have consent when he penetrated Constand’s genitals with his fingers.
Count 2 alleges she was unconscious or semi-conscious at the time and could not give consent.
Count 3 alleges all this happened after he gave her an intoxicant that substantially impaired her and stopped her from resisting.
HOW MUCH TIME COULD HE FACE?
Each of the three counts carries a standard sentence range of five to 10 years in prison.
But experts say that if he is convicted, it’s likely Cosby’s attorneys would be able to successfully argue the charges be combined for sentencing purposes, since they cover the same encounter and conduct.
If the judge follows state sentencing guidelines, a conviction would put Cosby, 79, in prison at least until he is 84.
WHAT’S THE WORST CASE SCENARIO FOR COSBY?
Pennsylvania law allows sentencing judges to consider uncharged conduct. In Cosby’s case, that could involve the more than 60 other women who have accused him of assaults dating to the 1960s.
Duquesne University law professor Wes Oliver says those allegations could compel Judge Steven O’Neill to sentence Cosby closer to 10 years.
WOULD HE HAVE TO REGISTER AS A SEX OFFENDER?
Yes. If he is convicted, prosecutors say Cosby would have to register as a sex offender and face an assessment to determine if he is a sexually violent predator.
WOULD COSBY BE HAULED OFF IN HANDCUFFS RIGHT AWAY?
If convicted, Cosby could remain free until sentencing unless O’Neill revokes his $1 million bail.
Philadelphia defense lawyer Alan Tauber, who isn’t involved in the case, says that’s less likely for Cosby because his fame makes him an unlikely flight risk.