Judge Orders Bill Cosby to Stand Trial in Sexual Assault Case

by Jackie Willis 11:52 AM PDT, May 24, 2016
Playing Judge Orders Bill Cosby to Stand Trial in Sexual Assault Case

Judge Elizabeth McHugh ruled on Tuesday at a preliminary hearing in Norristown, Pennsylvania, that Bill Cosby will go to trial on charges that he allegedly drugged and sexually assaulted Temple University employee Andrea Constand in 2004.

The arraignment is scheduled for July 20, but Cosby will not have to appear.

Constand was not present at Monday's hearing when the prosecution set out to prove that there is a great deal of evidence that the comedian is guilty. Constand alleges that Cosby drugged and violated her in January 2004 at his mansion in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. The charge against him carries a maximum penalty of 5-10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Upon entering and exiting the Montgomery County Courthouse on Tuesday, the TV star waved to onlookers as he held onto a man's arm and was escorted by a few officers. Cosby's lawyer, Monique Pressley, entered the government building ahead of him.

Photo: Getty Images

A deposition from Cosby resurfaced earlier this year from a prior lawsuit filed by Constand, a sexual-abuse suit that was settled on undisclosed terms in 2006. In his testimony, the comedian admits to giving the Temple University employee three half-pills of Benadryl, and also reveals, in more generic terms, to having obtained Quaaludes to give to women.

At Tuesday's hearing, a detective read off the initial 2005 statement Constand gave to police. At the time, she alleged that she was "in and out" of consciousness after Cosby gave her pills and wine. "I was lying on my left side with my knees bent," the detective read from Constand's statement. "That was the last thing I remember."

MORE: New Bill Cosby Suit Alleges Sexual Assault at Playboy Mansion, Accuses Hugh Hefner Of Negligence and Conspiracy

After a short break, the Cheltenham Township Police Department chief took the stand and read parts of Cosby's interview with police in 2005. According to the testimony, Cosby claimed he never had intercourse with Constand but said that the two did engage in "petting," as well as kissing and touching with their clothes on. At the time, Cosby allegedly told police that he "enjoyed it," and gave her a blueberry muffin and tea in the morning.

Cosby, according to the 2005 deposition, told Constand's mother that he would pay for her daughter's grad school if she kept her grades up.

MORE: New Bill Cosby Suit Alleges Sexual Assault at Playboy Mansion, Accuses Hugh Hefner Of Negligence and Conspiracy

In February, Cosby's lawyers argued that a previous deal with a former district attorney forbid the courts from prosecuting the comedian on these criminal charges. A judge then subsequently ruled that prosecutors could go forward with the case, but Cosby's legal team appealed the ruling on March 1, and got a stay placed on the proceedings, pending the decision on whether to reject the appeal. Last month, a Superior Court judge in Norristown lifted the stay and ruled that the criminal case against the 78-year-old Cosby Show star can move forward.

This is the first criminal case that Cosby has had to face, though numerous women have brought civil cases against him, claiming they too were sexually assaulted.

Cosby has not been convicted in this case or criminally charged in regard to the other accusations against him. He has also repeatedly denied that any of these allegations are true.

After the court decision came down, Janice Dickinson's lawyer, Lisa Bloom, released a statement. The model is suing Cosby for defamation, and also claims she was sexually abused by him. "We are delighted by the decision in Pennsylvania today requiring Bill Cosby to stand trial for indecent assault," Bloom said. "Women all over the country have fought against great odds to bring Mr. Cosby to trial, as we have. Mr. Cosby is entitled to a fair trial and so are the more than 50 women who have now accused him of sexual misconduct."

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