On Tuesday morning, news broke that newly released court documents suggested a sinister new development in the 2004 sexual assault case against plagued comedian Bill Cosby in Pennsylvania. The documents in question revealed that the 78-year-old comic specifically targeted teenage girls back in 2005 and 2006, when a modeling agency would provide him with “five or six” women whom he admitted under oath he’d try to coerce with a “very, very good meal.” Because of these and other developments throughout the preliminary hearings, the presiding judge has ordered that Cosby stand trial.
NBC News reports that District Judge Elizabeth McHugh of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania made the order after determining that the authorities had “found probable cause” in a statement given by accuser Andrea Constand. The ongoing case against Cosby includes several nearly identical claims by numerous women over a large span of time, but Constand’s encounter with the comedian in 2004 remains the centerpiece. If convicted following the trial, Cosby could face up to 10 years in prison.
During Tuesday’s proceedings, Cosby’s defense attorney Brian McMonagle described Constand’s allegation as “an accusation made many years ago about an incident that allegedly occurred 12 years ago.” He further downplayed the basis of the case, claiming that he’d “never once had a case where the prosecution has relied, in a sexual abuse case, on exclusively hearsay evidence in a hearing.” Because of this, McMonagle argued, the current hearings and forthcoming trial were “a complete denial of this defendant’s due process rights.”
According to the Associated Press, Judge McHugh set an official arraignment for July 20, at which time Cosby and his team could enter a plea for the subsequent trial. However, because Cosby waived his right to appear at the arraignment, the stage has been set that much quicker for the trial proceedings to begin in earnest. In January, Cosby’s defense team sought to dismiss Constand’s case based on some rather sketchy legal reasoning. However, these attempts were thwarted by the court the following month.
Constand previously sued Cosby in 2006, and the pair settled for an undisclosed sum after the latter testified in a deposition to having extramarital affairs and using quaaludes.