Judge: Bill Cosby to Stand Trial for Assault Charges

Judge: Bill Cosby to Stand Trial for Assault Charges

[CNN.COM]

Norristown, Pennsylvania (CNN)More than a decade after he was first accused of sexual misconduct, Bill Cosby will go to trial.

A Pennsylvania judge found enough evidence during a hearing Tuesday to proceed with a criminal trial. It’s not clear when his trial will start.

Cosby faces three counts of felony indecent assault from a 2004 case involving Andrea Constand, an employee at his alma mater, Temple University. She was the first of more than 50 women who have accused the comedian of sexual misconduct.

If convicted, Cosby could face up to 30 years in prison.

Cosby’s defense attorney slammed the decision to move forward with a trial.

“The evidence presented today was evidence of nothing. They had 12 years to bring an accuser to confront Mr. Cosby. They chose not to,” defense attorney Brian McMonagle said.

“There was no evidence of a crime here. And the inconsistencies that plagued this investigation from the beginning continue to plague it now. This case should end immediately.”

But Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said the prosecution only had to “prove that a crime was committed and the defendant’s connected to the crime.”

“It’s a preliminary hearing — hearsay is admissible, and we’re just over the next hurdle,” Steele said after the ruling.

Questions about credibility

As he walked into court Tuesday, the 78-year-old comedian and actor — who suffers from vision problems — held onto the arm of his spokesman, Andrew Wyatt. During the hearing, Cosby appeared to listen attentively and occasionally stretched his neck.

Constand was not in court for the hearing Tuesday — a fact that Cosby’s defense team tried to capitalize on.

McMonagle said prosecutors were relying on a statement made by Constand to police 11 years ago. He argued that “allowing hearsay” in the context of this case would be “wrong.”

The prosecution’s first witness, Katherine Hart of the Montgomery County Detective Bureau, read parts of Constand’s statement in court Tuesday.

The defense tried to poke holes in the reliability of Constand’s 2005 statement to police.

In it, Constand said Cosby invited her to his home in 2004 and told her to wear comfortable clothes. Constand said she was was given two pills to “take the edge off” and was later sexually assaulted.

But when questioned by the defense, Hart acknowledged that she was not present for Constand’s entire statement to police in January 2005.

Another detective finished the questioning that day. And that same evening, Constand was allowed to review her statement, and parts of it were crossed out or redacted.

“You’re basically told here to tell us what somebody told another detective 11 years ago about what happened 12 years ago?” McMonagle asked Hart.

“Yes,” Hart replied.

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