UPDATE: 2:15 p.m. EDT — Lisa Bloom — the lawyer for model Janice Dickinson, who accused Bill Cosby of drugging and raping her and is now suing the comedian for defamation — commented on Cosby's criminal case Tuesday afternoon.
"We are delighted by the decision in Pennsylvania today requiring Bill Cosby to stand trial for felony indecent assault. Women all over the country have fought against great odds to bring Mr. Cosby to trial as we have. Mr. Cosby is entitled to a fair trial, and so are the more than 50 women who have now accused him of sexual misconduct," Bloom said in a statement.
UPDATE: 1:30 p.m. EDT — A lawyer who represents some of the dozens of women who have come forward with sexual assault accusations against Bill Cosby said she agrees with the judge's ruling Tuesday to send the comedian to trial. Gloria Allred — who is not the attorney for Andrea Constand, the woman whose allegations of a 2004 sexual assault by Cosby were ruled on Tuesday — said it did not matter Constand wasn't present during the hearing.
"It is not necessary for a victim to testify at a preliminary hearing. Instead, what she has stated in her police report can come in through the interviewing law enforcement officer. In this case two detectives testified about her interview. And the court found that that was sufficient," Allred said immediately following the ruling. "The court, having reviewed all the evidence, found that there was sufficient evidence to require the defendant, Mr. Cosby, to stand trial. I think that was the right decision based on the law and based on the facts as provided."
The comedian's lawyers argued that Constand should have been in court Tuesday to honor Cosby's right to face his accuser.
A Pennsylvania judge ruled Tuesday that Bill Cosby will stand trial in a criminal sexual assault case, the Associated Press reported.
The entertainer appeared in a Montgomery County Court on Tuesday morning for a hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence for him to be tried. His arraignment was initially set for July 20, but Cosby waived his right to a formal arraignment, so the case will go directly to trial.
A motion by the defense to delay the proceedings was denied Monday. The comedian, 78, is accused of drugging and molesting Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee, at his home in suburban Philadelphia in 2004. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Prosecutors have said Cosby gave Constand three unidentified blue pills and that she was unconscious, while Cosby maintains the two engaged in consensual sexual activities.
Constand is one of dozens of women who over the past year have accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting them. Prosecutors reopened this case last year after the additional women made similar claims and Cosby’s once-sealed deposition in Constand’s previous civil lawsuit against him was made public.
Cosby settled that lawsuit in 2006 after giving four days of testimony that included information about his extramarital affairs and his use of quaaludes to seduce women. That confidential settlement had kept both sides quiet about the case, but a federal judge unsealed parts of Cosby’s deposition after a petition from the Associated Press. A court reporting service later released the full deposition.
Constand was not present to testify during Tuesday's hearing and instead opted to let a detective read from the statement she originally made to police after the incident in 2005. Judge Elizabeth McHugh said it was a "risky move" to rely on the previous statement, as the outcome was expected to hinge on Constand's words.
While Constand was not required to appear in court, reporters at the courthouse tweeted that Cosby's lawyer appeared frustrated she chose not to come.
This was Cosby’s second hearing in the Montgomery County Courthouse this year. His lawyers have spent months trying to get the charges against him thrown out. In February they argued the case should be dropped because former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. promised in 2005 that Cosby would never be prosecuted in connection with Constand’s allegations, Philly.com reported. Last month, a Pennsylvania appeals court ruled that Cosby could not get the charges against him thrown out on those grounds, the New York Times reported, and on Monday the Pennsylvania Supreme Court also refused Cosby's motion to halt Tuesday's hearing.
Despite these other court proceedings, Cosby had not entered a plea since his arrest in December. He has been held on $1 million bail.
While dealing with the Constand case, Cosby is also involved in defamation lawsuits in various states from accusers who say he smeared them in his denials of the many claims of sexual assault.