A Judge Has Ordered Bill Cosby to Stand Trial for Sexual Assault

The decision ends a five-month battle by Cosby’s legal team to get the case dismissed.

<a href="http://www.apimages.com/metadata/Index/APTOPIX-Bill-Cosby/f3a54c3e7a104ef4ae8a8dece0b93636/3/0">Matt Slocum</a>/AP

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A Pennsylvania judge on Tuesday ordered comedian Bill Cosby to stand trial for allegations that he sexually assaulted Andrea Constand in 2004—ending a five-month battle by Cosby’s lawyers to have the case dismissed.

More than 40 women have come forward with similar allegations, but Constand was the first to make her story public, and her case is the only one so far to advance to a criminal trial. Cosby denies all the allegations.

If convicted, the 87-year-old Cosby could face a maximum sentence of 10 years, according to CNN.

During a preliminary hearing in Montgomery County on Tuesday morning, the judge determined that there was enough evidence for Cosby to stand trial for multiple counts of aggravated indecent assault.

Cosby’s next court date has been set for July 20.

Constand did not appear in court on Tuesday. Instead, a former detective gave testimony based on a statement she provided to law enforcement in 2005. A criminal complaint filed last December describes multiple incidents, the first occurring when Cosby allegedly invited Constand to his home for dinner and then allegedly fondled her, causing her to get up and leave. A later encounter allegedly took place on January 22, 2005, also at Cosby’s home, according to the December complaint. There, Cosby allegedly offered Constand wine and three blue pills “to relax”:

Within about twenty to thirty minutes of ingesting the pills, water, and wine, she began experiencing blurred vision and difficulty speaking…Despite her impaired physical and mental condition, the victim was aware that Cosby was fondling her breasts, put his hands into her pants, and penetrated her vagina with his fingers. Cosby also took the victim’s right hand and placed it onto his erect penis. The victim told investigators that she did not consent to any of these acts, and was unable to move or speak during the assault. She described her condition as “frozen” and “paralyzed.”

At the time Constand filed her initial report, former Montgomery County district attorney Bruce Castor declined to file charges due to “insufficient credible and admissible evidence.” Constand then brought a civil suit, which Cosby settled. But when parts of his sworn deposition from that case were unsealed by a federal judge last year, prosecutors decided to press charges.

On Tuesday, Cosby listened from the defense table as Castor explained why he had declined to press charges more than a decade ago, according to CNN. “What I think, and what is provable in a courtroom, is two different things,” Castor said. “What I think is that Andrea Constand was inappropriately touched by Mr. Cosby.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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