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A criminal case against Bill Cosby is going forward in Pennsylvania. The comedian is charged with three counts of felony indecent assault and faces 10 years in prison if convicted, reports CNN. Cosby's accuser, who was not in court today, was the first woman to publicly come forward and complain to police about the comedian's conduct in 2004. Police declined to prosecute the comedian then, claiming the evidence was insufficient.
But in the dozen years since Constand gave her statement to the cops, about 50 women have spoken out and new evidence has come to light. There is no trial date set yet. Cosby is expected back in court on July 20.
Bill Cosby is accused of indecently assaulting Temple University employee Barbara Constand in 2004. She told police that she went to see Cosby when he was visiting his alma mater, and that he drugged her drink and touched her. Constand filed a police report at the time but local police declined to charge Cosby, citing insufficient evidence.
Today a judge found that there was enough evidence to go forward with a criminal prosecution. It seems that some of that new evidence comes from a deposition of Camille Cosby, the comedian's wife and longtime manager, taken in a Massachusetts case against her husband. That deposition was just unsealed by a federal judge last week.
Still, Constand's case may well be the only criminal matter Cosby faces, despite all the accusations. CNN says Cosby has been accused of sexual assault by more than 50 women all over the country, but he has not faced criminal prosecution because the statute of limitations has run out.
Cosby, who is now 78 and reportedly came into court leaning on his lawyer's arm, has a lot to deal with besides this criminal case. He is involved in defamation lawsuits with women who accuse him of sexual assault, counterclaims, and more.
Cosby's lawyers insist that this latest decision to proceed with the criminal case in Pennsylvania is misguided and unfair. "There was no evidence of a crime here," attorney Brian McMonagle said. "And the inconsistencies that plagued this investigation from the beginning continue to plague it now. This case should end immediately."
Barbara Constand, who dared to accuse Cosby when no one else would, did not appear in court today. But it seems likely that she feels at least a little relieved to finally be believed after so long.
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