Sept. 25 (UPI) -- A Pennsylvania judge sentenced Bill Cosby to three years to 10 years in state prison Tuesday for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman more than a decade ago.
The comedian must also pay a fine of $20,000 as well as the prosecution's court costs.
"No one is above the law and no one should be treated differently or disproportionately," Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O'Neill said during the sentencing.
The judge ordered Cosby to be immediately taken into custody and officers escorted the handcuffed 81-year-old out of the courthouse. Cosby was to be remanded to a county facility before he will be processed and transferred to the appropriate state facility, CNN reported.
Cosby faced a maximum of 10 years after a Pennsylvania judge announced Monday the three counts against Cosby would be merged since they all stem from the same incident in 2004. A jury convicted him in April of aggravated sexual assault for drugging and molesting Andrea Constand at his home near Philadelphia.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said "justice was served" with Cosby's sentencing.
"It's been a long wait for our victim, Andrea Constand," he said, praising her for coming forward with the allegation and working with the prosecution.
"For decades the defendant has been able to hide his true self and hide his crimes using his fame and fortune," Steele told reporters in a news conference after the hearing. "He used his acting skills and endearing TV personality to win over his victims and keep them silent about what he did to them.
"Finally, Bill Cosby has been unmasked and we have seen the real man as he is headed off to prison."
Cosby's publicist, Andrew Wyatt, condemned the sentencing. He said the Montgomery County district attorney used falsified evidence against his client, pointing to an audio recording Constand's mother, Gianna Constand, took of a phone conversation with Cosby about the assault.
Wyatt said audio specialists for the defense team determined the recording had been altered.
"It is important to point out this has been the most racist and sexist trials in the history of the United States," Wyatt told reporters after the sentencing.
The judge said he gave weight to the victim impact statements of Constand and her family, which he described as "powerful."
Constand said she felt "paralyzed and completely helpless" during the assault.
"After the assault, I wasn't sure what had actually happened but the pain spoke volumes. The shame was overwhelming. Self-doubt and confusion kept me from turning to my family or friends as I normally did. I felt completely alone, unable to trust anyone, including myself," she said in her statement.
The judge made the decision on the 81-year-old comedy icon's punishment after hearing from a single defense witness Tuesday morning.
The sole defense witness, Timothy Foley, a psychologist, testified that he believed the entertainer's risk of assaulting another person was "extraordinarily low."
"He's 81 years old," Foley said. "After 70 years old, the risk of recidivism becomes virtually negligible."
The judge announced the plan after ruling that Cosby should be designated as a "sexually violent predator" under state law. The classification will make Cosby subject to mandatory lifetime counseling and community notification, but did not impact the length of his prison sentence.
A sentencing memorandum from prosecutors earlier Tuesday asked for Cosby to be jailed for "the maximum allowed by law," which would include 5 years to 10 years, a $25,000 fine and paying legal fees. Meanwhile, Cosby's lawyers had pushed for house arrest, citing their client's blindness, advanced age and declining health.
A witness for prosecutors. Kristen Dudley, a member of the Pennsylvania Sex Offender Assessment Board, told the court Monday that she deemed his behavior as predatory.
His career as an entertainer spanned five decades and he won numerous awards, but he was also accused of assaulting dozens of women.
Cosby has denied that he assaulted Constand or any other woman.
"This has been along journey to justice for all of the accusers, particularly Andrea Constand and her family" said Gloria Allred, an attorney for some of Cosby's accusers, some of whom testified against him in court.
"This is a very important day. ... We're glad the judgment day has finally come for Mr. Cosby," whom she said "has shown no remorse."