cosby

The comedian is currently out on $1 million bail

Photo: Courtesy of World Affairs Council of Philadelphia / The Daily Pennsylvanian

Bill Cosby, holder of an honorary degree from Penn, will get a criminal trial more than a decade after he was accused of sexual misconduct.

During the three-and-a-half hour hearing in Norristown, Pennsylvania, Judge Elizabeth A. McHugh found enough evidence to continue with a criminal trial against the comedian.

According to CNN, Cosby faces three counts of felony indecent assault from a case in 2004 including Andrea Constand, a former employee at Temple University, where Cosby had attended school. She was the first of more than 50 women who have accused him of sexual misconduct.

Constand’s decade-old police statement was used during the preliminary hearing so she did not need to testify. Previously, authorities have paraphrased her account and have quoted portions of Constand’s statement. This was apparently the first time that large sections of her statement were made public, according to the Associated Press.

In her statement, Constand told the police that Cosby penetrated her with his fingers and fondled her at his Philadelphia suburban mansion in 2004 after giving her what Cosby said was herbal medication.

Cosby’s lawyers tried to argue that having a police officer read Constand’s statement instead of having her on the stand would be third-hand testimony and would deprive him of his right to confront the accuser. But in Pennsylvania, reading police statements in preliminary hearings is common practice.

In Cosby’s original police statement, which was also read in the hearing, he said Constand had never said “no” as he put his hands down her pants. He told the police that the medication was over-the-counter Benadryl.

The comedian’s lawyers also tried to make the argument that the former district attorney promised to never prosecute Cosby as a way to urge him to testify in the civil suit brought by Constand, which was ultimately settled. But at a hearing in February, a trial court judge declined the defense’s challenges.

Cosby settled with Constand in 2006 for a sum that was not revealed after testifying behind closed doors about his extramarital affairs, his use of quaaludes to sexually entice women and his efforts to conceal payments to former lovers from his wife.

Prosecutors reopened the criminal case last year after dozens of women revealed similar allegations and after Cosby’s sealed testimony in Constand’s lawsuit was made public.

In the hearing, Cosby waived a formal arraignment which means he automatically pleads not guilty. The case now moves back up to the state’s trial court level. A different judge will be assigned and will set a trial date.

According to Associated Press, Cosby could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted in this case. The criminal charges that are brought against the comedian out of the numerous allegations that he drugged and molested dozens of women over five decades. Right now, he is free on a $1 million bail.

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