NORRISTOWN: Disgraced US television star Bill Cosby lost another bid Thursday to have a sexual assault case against him tossed, clearing the way for a trial to eventually begin over the claims dating back to 2004.
The pioneering black comedian faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted in a Pennsylvania court of assaulting Andrea Constand at his home in the Philadelphia area. The actor’s lawyers insist his relations with Constand were consensual.
His legal team tried to have the case thrown out on procedural grounds, saying that his rights had been violated when prosecutors did not call Constand to the stand at a pre-trial hearing, meaning she could not be cross-examined.
The judge in the Montgomery County court, Steven O’Neill, disagreed.
Cosby’s lawyer Brian McMonagle vowed to appeal the decision to the state’s supreme court.
“We are confident that our state’s highest court will right this wrong, will reverse this decision and allow us to begin our journey to making sure that Mr Cosby is proven innocent,” he said.
Cosby was present at Thursday’s hearing, often whispering with his lawyers and nodding his head as the proceedings went on.
Going to trial will cement a brutal fall from grace for Cosby — America’s once-treasured father figure, apparent model citizen and award-winning comedian who smashed through racial barriers and delighted audiences with his gentle, self-deprecating humor.
But in recent years, more than 50 women have publicly painted the 78-year-old Cosby as a serial sexual predator who plied victims with sedatives and alcohol to have sex and make them unable to resist his advances.
So far, the case brought over Constand’s allegations is the only criminal case against him. Most of the other claims are too far in the past to be actionable.
For prosecutor Kevin Steele, Cosby’s defense attorneys will have their chance to question Constand at trial.
“That’s the stage where he will be able to do that,” Steele said.