BILL Cosby pointed at the crowd of protesters and supporters as he walked into a court on the outskirts of Philadelphia on the arm of his publicist to face sentencing for sexual assault.
One protester pushed a mannequin on a trolley blowing bubbles to protest the statute of limitations, which prevented many of Cosby’s accusers from pressing charges.
The court was packed with the TV star’s accusers, who embraced before the hearing began.
Cosby was found guilty on three counts of aggravated indecent assault on April 26, for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home in a Philadelphia suburb in 2004.
The 81-year-old could face up to ten years in prison on each count, which would most probably see him die behind bars. However legal experts believe such a lengthy jail term is unlikely, as there is no minimum sentence which means he could also be placed on probation. But lawyers who work in sexual assault cases have predicted the once celebrated comedian could face a sentence of two to four years.
The judge will also have to decide whether Cosby is permitted to remain free pending his probable appeal - but this is thought to be an unlikely result, with sexual assault campaigners keen to see him finally jailed for his crimes. He will also have to consider whether Cosby is labelled a “sexual predator”.
The man once known as “America’s Dad” has been under house arrest after posting a $1 million bail. He is only able to leave his home with advance permission, for medical reasons or to meet lawyers.
Cosby is legally blind and lives with wife Camille, who has stuck with him throughout the accusations, saying there had only been “affairs”, which the couple had resolved privately.
Sixty women have accused the former TV star of sexual. Ms Constand was the only victim to give evidence at his first trial, which ended in a mistrial with the jurors deadlocked and unable to reach a unanimous decision. At the retrial, five other accusers were also permitted to give evidence.
Onlookers are waiting to see whether Cosby will give speak during the sentencing. Ms Constand and other parties could also make statements.
When the prosecution asked the judge to revoke his bail, claiming he was a flight risk and had a private plane, Cosby shouted: “He doesn’t have a plane, you asshole!”
More to come.