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Judge Says Sexual Assault Case Against Bill Cosby Can Go To Trial

Bill Cosby arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse for a preliminary hearing on Tuesday in Norristown, Pa. Cosby is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his home in 2004.
Dominick Reuter
/
AP
Bill Cosby arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse for a preliminary hearing on Tuesday in Norristown, Pa. Cosby is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his home in 2004.

A judge in Pennsylvania ruled Tuesday that there is sufficient evidence for a sexual assault case against comedian Bill Cosby to move to trial.

The arraignment is set for July, Bobby Allyn of member station WHYY reports.

Cosby, who has been accused by dozens of women of sexual assault, has been charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault in the case, which involves a former Temple University employee who says Cosby assaulted her in his home in 2004. Each count carries five to 10 years in prison.

The accuser, Andrea Constand, did not appear in court, but parts of a statement she gave in 2005 were read during Tuesday's preliminary hearing in Norristown, Pa.

The statement "said that Constand felt dizzy, had blurred vision ... after Cosby allegedly gave her pills she thought were herbal medicine," Allyn reports. Cosby says the pills were Benadryl and the sexual contact was consensual.

Cosby's lawyer had argued that reading the statement was hearsay and that the defense should have a right to cross-examine the accuser, Allyn says. The judge rejected that argument, though, and said Cosby's legal team would be able to do so at trial.

Cosby, 78, appeared in court but did not speak, other than to say thank you when Magisterial District Judge Elizabeth McHugh wished him good luck following her ruling.

Cosby's defense attorneys had been trying get the charges tossed out since his arrest in December.

In 2005, as the Two-Way has reported, a Montgomery County prosecutor decided there wasn't enough evidence to bring charges in the case. The parties settled in 2006. New evidence, including a deposition given by Cosby, were enough to move the case forward in Pennsylvania this year.

The Associated Press notes that Cosby is also "fighting defamation lawsuits across the country for allegedly branding his accusers liars."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: May 24, 2016 at 12:00 AM EDT
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Andrea Constand said she had considered calling 911 after allegedly being given pills by Bill Cosby.
Dana Farrington is a digital editor coordinating online coverage on the Washington Desk — from daily stories to visual feature projects to the weekly newsletter. She has been with the NPR Politics team since President Trump's inauguration. Before that, she was among NPR's first engagement editors, managing the homepage for NPR.org and the main social accounts. Dana has also worked as a weekend web producer and editor, and has written on a wide range of topics for NPR, including tech and women's health.
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