Pennsylvania judge orders Cosby to trial on sexual assault charge

Tue May 24, 2016 9:41pm EDT
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By Joseph Ax

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania judge on Tuesday ordered comedian Bill Cosby to stand trial on accusations of sexual assault, the most serious setback so far for a man who epitomized the all-American dad on the 1980s sitcom "The Cosby Show."

Judge Elizabeth McHugh found that prosecutors presented enough evidence to support allegations that he drugged and assaulted a woman in 2004. The judge rejected arguments from Cosby's defense lawyers that the case should be thrown out.

As the hearing concluded, McHugh wished Cosby luck, to which the 78-year-old entertainer responded, "Thank you."

The decision followed a 3-1/2 hour preliminary hearing in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, where prosecutors introduced statements that Cosby and the woman, Andrea Constand, separately gave to police in 2005.

Constand herself was not called to testify, although prosecutors said she is prepared to appear as a trial witness.

She told police in 2005 she was attacked as she lay on a sofa at Cosby's Philadelphia-area home "paralyzed" by drugs the entertainer had given her, according to police.

Constand, a former basketball coach at Cosby's Temple University alma mater, is the only woman whose accusations of sexual assault have resulted in criminal charges against Cosby.

But Cosby has been hit by sexual assault allegations from more than 50 women. He has denied assaulting anyone. Most of the cases are too old to be prosecuted, but the entertainer faces civil lawsuits from his accusers.   Continued...

Bill Cosby departs the Montgomery County Courthouse after a preliminary hearing in Norristown, Pennsylvania, May 24, 2016.  REUTERS/Matt Rourke/POOL