Bill Cosby faced the start of a sentencing hearing Monday at which a judge will decide how to punish the 81-year-old comedian who blazed the trail for other black entertainers and donated millions to black causes but preyed on at least one young woman and perhaps many more.

Cosby was the first celebrity to go to trial in the #MeToo era and could be the first to go to prison — perhaps for the rest of his days — after being convicted in April of drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.

FILE – In this April 26, 2018 file photo, Bill Cosby, center, leaves the the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., after being convicted of drugging and molesting a woman. Cosby is facing the start of a sentencing hearing on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, at which a judge will decide how to punish the 81-year-old comedian who was convicted in April of drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University athletics employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

Daniel Filler, dean of Drexel University’s Kline School of Law, said judges can’t help being influenced a little by the “optics” of a case — that it, how it is going to look to the public.

Attorney, Gloria Allred, center, along with her clients, Chelan Lasha, left and Lise-Lotte Lublin, right, Bill Cosby accusers, takes questions from reporters during a press conference at the Le Meridien Hotel in Philadelphia, Pa., Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018. Cosby is due in court Monday, Sept. 24, for a two-day sentencing hearing that follows his conviction in the spring on three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault. (Jose F. Moreno/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

In this instance, “the judge is going to get flak,” he said. “The judge is going to get less flak if they see Bill Cosby walk out in cuffs.”

Attorney, Gloria Allred, center, along with her clients, Chelan Lasha, left and Lise-Lotte Lublin, right, Bill Cosby accusers, talk to the media during a press conference at the Le Meridien Hotel in Philadelphia, Pa., Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018. Cosby is due in court Monday, Sept. 24, for a two-day sentencing hearing that follows his conviction in the spring on three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault. (Jose F. Moreno/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

At the end of the potentially two-day hearing, Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O’Neill could sentence Cosby to as much as 30 years in prison or send him home on probation. The state guidelines for someone like Cosby, with no prior convictions, call for about one to four years behind bars.

FILE – In this Thursday, May 2, 2002 file photo, members of Bill Cosby’s television family, the Huxtables, gather in NBC’s Today show studio for an interview with co-host Katie Couric, in New York. From left are Sabrina Le Beauf, Tempest Bledsoe, Cosby, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Phylicia Rashad, Raven Symone and Malcolm-Jamal Warner. Cosby is facing the start of a sentencing hearing on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, at which a judge will decide how to punish the 81-year-old comedian who was convicted in April of drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University athletics employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

“Obviously, the allegations are serious, and, except for his age and poor health, would normally warrant some jail time,” said Samuel Stretton, a veteran defense lawyer not connected to the case.

FILE – In this April 1, 1982, file photo, John H. Johnson, left, publisher of Jet and Ebony magazines, and Bill Cosby, center, join the Rev. Jesse Jackson at a benefit reception for Operation PUSH in Chicago. Cosby is facing the start of a sentencing hearing on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, at which a judge will decide how to punish the 81-year-old comedian who was convicted in April of drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University athletics employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. (AP Photo, File)

Cosby is legally blind and uses a cane, something his lawyers are certain to point out along with his achievements and philanthropy. Prosecutors hoped to call some of his other accusers to paint Cosby as a sexual predator deserving of prison.

FILE – In this April 29, 1999, file photo, Bill Cosby, marking 25 years as pitchman for Jell-O desserts and a donation of children’s books from his “Little Bill” series, talks with schoolchildren at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago. Cosby is facing the start of a sentencing hearing on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, at which a judge will decide how to punish the 81-year-old comedian who was convicted in April of drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University athletics employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. (AP Photo/Stephen J. Carrera, File)

Whatever the sentence, Cosby is likely to be deemed a sexually violent predator and will have to undergo monthly counseling the rest of his life, in prison or out. Neighbors and schools will be warned he is living nearby.

FILE – In this Sept. 12, 1965 file photo, actor-comedian Bill Cosby, right, and his wife, Camille, arrive at the TV Academy awards in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles. Cosby is facing the start of a sentencing hearing on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, at which a judge will decide how to punish the 81-year-old comedian who was convicted in April of drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University athletics employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. (AP Photo, File)

In the years since Constand first went to police in 2005, more than 60 women have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct, though none of those claims have led to criminal charges.

FILE – In this March 6, 1992 file photo, Bill Cosby, from left, appears on the set with Gary Gray, and Jessica Vaughn during the taping of the final episode of “The Cosby Show,” in New York. Cosby is facing the start of a sentencing hearing on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, at which a judge will decide how to punish the 81-year-old comedian who was convicted in April of drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University athletics employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. (AP Photo, File)

Cosby, who grew up in public housing in Philadelphia, became the first black actor to star in a prime-time TV show, “I Spy,” in 1965. He remained a Hollywood A-lister for much of the next half-century, hitting his peak in the 1980s with the top-rated “Cosby Show” as the warm, wisecracking dad, Dr. Cliff Huxtable.

But behind the scenes, according to testimony, the married star sought out sexual encounters with young women, including actresses he offered to mentor, models seeking a part on his shows, and flight attendants he met in his travels. He also acknowledged obtaining quaaludes in the 1970s to give to women before sex.

Source: The Associated Press