Bill Cosby will stand trial for the alleged 2004 drugging and sexual assault of Andrea Constand, a judge ruled on Tuesday at a preliminary hearing.
Cosby appeared in court despite strenuous efforts by his attorneys to get criminal charges against him dismissed.
Cosby smiled and waved as he entered the courthouse. He briefly stumbled while walking to the courtroom. The hearing got underway around 9:40 a.m with testimony by former Montgomery County Detective Katharine Hart, who read from the statement she took from Constand in January 2005 alleging Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her.
Cosby is facing three counts of aggravated indecent assault, each of which carry a prison sentence of up to ten years.
Prosecutors only had to make a so-called prima facie case to send the case to trial. Cosby has denies Constand’s allegations as well as similar allegations from more than 50 women.
“It’s fairly easy to meet the burden of proof requirements to send the case to trial,” former Montgomery County sex crimes prosecutor Rich DeSipio, who is now a Philadelphia criminal defense attorney, tells PEOPLE.
In previous statements to authorities and in depositions he gave for Constand’s civil suit against him, which he settled in late 2006, Cosby, 78, insisted the sexual contact between the two was consensual.
Constand, who revealed she was gay in court filings last summer, says it was not and that she as in a relationship with a woman at the time.
In February 2005, then-Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. declined to file criminal charges against Cosby in Constand’s case, citing “insufficient credible and admissible evidence.”
After Steele charged Cosby in December, Cosby’s attorneys filed a motion saying the case should be dismissed because Castor had an agreement with Cosby that he would never be prosecuted in her case if he cooperated with the civil suit Constand was expected to file against Cosby.
On Feb. 3, after a two-day hearing that included seven hours of testimony by Castor, Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill refused to dismiss the case. Cosby’s attorneys have been unsuccessfully trying to overturn O’Neill’s decision ever since. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected his most recent attempt Monday afternoon.
The case re-emerged in the public eye last summer after Cosby’s deposition in Constand’s case became public. In that deposition, Cosby admitted to giving women Quaaludes to women he wanted to have sex with. Those revelations prompted the Montgomery County district attorney’s office, by then led by a new prosecutor, to reopen Constand’s case.
This article originally appeared on people.com By
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