Judge bars parade of Bill Cosby accusers at sentencing hearing

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Bill Cosby has arrived at a suburban Philadelphia courthouse for the start of a sentencing hearing that will determine the punishment for the 81-year-old comedian convicted of sexual assault.

Cosby's day of reckoning is set for Monday, September 24, when he will be formally sentenced for the crimes he was convicted of committing against former Temple University employee Andrea Constand back in 2004.

A Pennsylvania judge on Thursday denied a request by prosecutors to allow additional women who have accused comedian Bill Cosby of sexual misconduct to tell their stories at his sentencing hearing on a sexual assault conviction.

The judge allowed prosecutors to call five other accusers as witnesses in Cosby's second trial over the objections of his defense team, bolstering Constand's account.

He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison on each charge, but state guidelines recommend a sentence of about one to four years.

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The decision is ultimately up to Judge Steven T. O'Neill, who oversaw Cosby's 2018 retrial, as well as his mistrial a year earlier that ended in a hung jury. Prosecutors hope to call other accusers to paint Cosby as a sexual predator deserving of prison.

Once adored by millions for his defining role on "The Cosby Show", he has been confined to his Philadelphia area mansion on a $1 million bail for almost three years, fitted with a Global Positioning System monitor and subjected to a violent sexual predator assessment after his guilty conviction. That would make him subject to lifetime counseling and community notification. These women were not among the prior bad act witnesses that testified.

Cosby also could address the court in an "allocution", Delano said.

No matter Cosby's sentence, the guilty verdicts already have triggered an outpouring of emotion from his victims.

"I really think it's important that he spend some time behind bars", said Lublin, who said Cosby assaulted her when she was 23 in 1989. Judge O'Neill agreed, writing in his order that in an "exhaustive review" of state case law he found nothing allowing him to consider "uncharged conduct" at the sentencing.

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