WEB EXCLUSIVE: Judge denies pleas from Cosby attorney

Posted 7:30 p.m. Sept. 18 A D.C. superior court judge sentenced former GW basketball player Attila Cosby to more than two years in jail Tuesday, saying the violent nature of his crime overshadows any testimony to Cosby’s good character or potential.

“The viscous, nasty, violent and really unexplained nature of the crime requires significant punishment,” Kravitz said to the former 6-foot-9-inch transfer forward. “It is essential that the court sends a clear message that it is not acceptable to prey on the most vulnerable members of society.”

Cosby was convicted in July on seven misdemeanor counts for sexually assaulting an alleged prostitute with a cocaine addiction. According to testimony, Cosby assaulted the woman with a broomstick and forced oral sex at gunpoint in May 2000.

Cosby, who was suspended from GW following his conviction, will now serve two years and four months in jail after already serving two months while he awaited sentencing.

Charges include:
o 180 days – sexual abuse with a broomstick, which was inserted in the victim’s vagina
o 180 days – attempted possession of a prohibited weapon, a gun, used to force oral sex
o 180 days – attempted threat to kill the victim inside Cosby’s Guthridge Hall room
o 180 days – assault with implied threats to hit or assault the victim with a broomstick
o 180 days – attempted possession of a prohibited weapon, a broomstick, for unlawful use
o 120 days – second-degree theft for stealing a roll of quarters from the victim
o 60 days – attempted threats for threatening the woman if she tried to call the police

The sentence for threats with a broomstick and attempted possession of a prohibited weapon will run concurrently, meaning Cosby will serve both 180-day sentences simultaneously.

Kravitz said Cosby might have been spared a light sentence because U.S. attorneys brought seven misdemeanor charges against him – which carry a maximum 180 days each – to avoid a grand jury trial. A felony conviction would have carried a minimum of five years, the judge said.

“One-hundred and 80 days is insufficient for the sexual assault,” Kravitz added, “but I am bound by that limit.”

Original felony charges brought against Cosby in were later dropped in July 2000.

Before the sentence was announced, Cosby’s lawyer Billy Martin urged the judge to save him from a fate that would ruin his life. He said he had watched Cosby “deteriorate” in jail as he awaited his sentencing and asked the judge for a “second chance at life.”

An unshaven Cosby, dressed in gray slacks, a white shirt and blue tie, used a tissue to wipe tears from his eyes during the proceedings. His girlfriend Lisa Couser sat in the audience while his godmother waited outside the courtroom with his 16-month-old son Malik.

Reminding the judge that Cosby will always be branded a sex offender and has already lost a large scholarship to play basketball at GW, Martin said, “Attila Cosby has never been incarcerated. Attila Cosby as he stands before you, judge, is not somebody you should throw away.”

“He’s never had a chance at supervision,” Martin said. “He’s always been the superstar. He’s never had someone to say, `Here’s what you need to do.'”

U.S. attorney Ben Friedman told the judge that the sentencing recommendation from Cosby’s parole officer was biased because it relied on information from his friends and coaches with little information from the victim. Reminding the judge about conflicting testimony from Cosby and withheld facts during the trial, Friedman said the judge should not be swayed by any character testimony.

“What he does not have the right to do is take the stand and not tell the truth, and that’s what happened,” Friedman said, adding that Cosby had not accepted responsibility for abusing the 46-year-old crack-cocaine user.

In a last plea for a reduced sentence, a tearful Cosby looked back to the woman was convicted of assaulting and said, “I’m sorry, I made a mistake.”

When the judge asked Cosby for “insight” into how the assault happened, Cosby responded, “I was moving a little too fast, not realizing what I had to lose. I wasn’t using my head.”

Cosby’s lawyers have 30 days to file an appeal.

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