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On Day 2 Of Sentencing Hearing, Cosby Could Speak On His Own Behalf

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Bill Cosby walked out of a suburban Philadelphia courthouse yesterday on what could have been his last day as a free man. His sentencing hearing for his sexual assault conviction continues today. From member station WHYY, Laura Benshoff has more.

LAURA BENSHOFF, BYLINE: The protesters, well-wishers and din of the news choppers have become routine after two trials and many hearings.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: We love you.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: S-O-L - #MeToo is me too.

BENSHOFF: On Monday, Bill Cosby and his publicists left the courthouse and kept moving towards a dark-windowed SUV. Cosby had just heard that prosecutors want him to receive the maximum sentence for someone with his aggravated sexual assault conviction - five to 10 years in state prison. The defense said he should get house arrest because he's 81 and blind. Former prosecutor Dennis McAndrews, who attended the hearing, says those were the arguments he expected.

DENNIS MCANDREWS: Those were age, those were disability, and from a practical perspective, when you have a serious crime and multiple victims, you don't have a lot to work with.

BENSHOFF: Cosby attorney Joseph Greene also brought up the fact that the comedian has already paid his victim nearly $3.4 million in a civil settlement and said that counts as restitution. Andrea Constand, the only woman whose sexual assault led to criminal charges against Cosby, briefly asked for justice when it was her turn to speak. It was her family who testified to the anguish she'd felt after the 2004 incident at Cosby's house where he drugged and sexually assaulted her. Afterwards, Lili Bernard, who was a guest actor on "The Cosby Show," stood outside the courthouse.

LILI BERNARD: We saw them all give victim impact statements, and it was the first time we saw her father, Andrew, speak because I know that prior it was really difficult for him to even stay in the courtroom.

BENSHOFF: Bernard is one of the dozens of women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault. She attended his trial and wants to see him go to prison.

BERNARD: I think that we, the victims, and especially Andrea Constand, deserve to see Bill Cosby handcuffed because he should be treated as any other rapist.

BENSHOFF: Bill Cosby's sentencing hearing continues today when he'll have the opportunity to speak on his own behalf.

For NPR News, I'm Laura Benshoff in Norristown, Pa.

(SOUNDBITE OF YAYA'S "BUSY") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.