Embattled comedian Bill Cosby must stand trial for sexual assault a Pennsylvania judge ordered on Tuesday.
Judge Elizabeth McHugh made the ruling after a preliminary hearing, saying prosecutors had enough evidence to bring him to trial after they presented statements given more than a decade ago to authorities by both Cosby and his accuser Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee who said he sexually assaulted her.
The lone criminal case is among dozens of accusations that he molested women over the span of several years. Cosby faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of violating Constand while she was unconscious, impaired and could not give consent.
The hearing was not an in person confrontation between Cosby and Constand, who said the 78-year-old TV star violated her at his suburban Philadelphia mansion in 2004. She was not in the courtroom, and the judge ruled that she would not have to testify.
Constand told police in 2005 that the comedian penetrated her with his fingers after giving her pills that made her legs “rubbery” and “like jelly,” she told police.
In his own 2005 statement to police, excerpts of which were also read in court, Cosby portrayed it as consensual sexual activity, saying Constand never said “no,” and said he and Constand had had other “petting” sessions before.
Cosby has been free on $1 million bail since his Dec. 30 arrest. He is due back for arraignment on July 20.
Meanwhile his lawyers are trying to get the case thrown out, arguing that a previous prosecutor a decade ago made a binding promise that the comic would never be charged. On Monday, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court rejected a request to delay the preliminary hearing while Cosby pursues a dismissal.