Cosby charged with sexual assault

Cosby charged with sexual assault

"Make no mistake, we intend to mount a vigorous defense against this unjustified charge and we expect that Mr. Cosby will be exonerated by a court of law".

Lawyers for dozens of women who have accused Bill Cosby of sex assault or attempted molestation over the past 40 years said Wednesday that their clients are grateful that a prosecutor in Pennsylvania has finally brought criminal charges against the comedian.

Looking frail in a gray sweater and carrying a cane, he walked arm and arm with attorneys into a courthouse there Wednesday and appeared to have difficulty seeing as he was guided to a courtroom seat.

Bail was set at $1m, of which Cosby will have to pay 10% on Wednesday. He did not have to enter a plea, and his next court hearing is January 14. After his booking, Cosby was released after posting bond.

Cosby, 78, was formally charged on Wednesday in the 2004 case of former Temple University staffer Andrea Constand, who accused the comedian of allegedly drugging and assaulting her more than a decade ago when he was her mentor.

Constand, who worked for the women's basketball team at Temple, where Cosby was a trustee and proud alumnus, said she was assaulted after going to his home in January 2004 for some career advice.

Bill Cosby is expected to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon on a sexual assault charge filed over a 2004 encounter in his home outside Philadelphia.

Previously, Cosby and his representatives have repeatedly denied all allegations of sexual misconduct.

This is the first criminal charge levied against Cosby since the allegations first arose.

Montgomery County District Attorney-elect Kevin Steele, said the woman felt frozen, paralysed and unable to move.

The criminal investigation into Cosby in Montgomery County was reopened in July after new evidence came to light, Steele said.

The charges came down just days before the 12-year statute of limitations for bringing charges was set to run out.

Cosby's lawyer declined to comment on the case before the announcement.

When the deposition was released and "we learned about allegations from other victims under similar circumstances, reopening this case was not a question", Steele said. "Rather, reopening this case was our duty".

"A prosecutor's job is to follow the evidence wherever it leads and whenever it comes to light", Steele said.

In his deposition, Cosby said he gave Constand three half-pills of Benadryl for stress without telling her what they were.

Pennsylvania law has a 12-year statute of limitations for sexual assault cases, a window that closes early next year. Steele noted that Cosby has admitted giving quaaludes to women he wanted to have sex with.

Asked whether investigators believe Cosby used Quaaludes in the 2004 case for which he is being charged, Steele said that pills were provided.

Woldeguiorguis said sexual violence is widely believed to be one of the nation's most under-reported crimes, and that very few perpetrators end up being prosecuted, let alone convicted.

Women mostly from the world of modeling, acting or other entertainment fields came forward and described being offered a drink by Cosby and waking up to find they had apparently been sexually assaulted.

Prosecutors in court documents cited Cosby's "evasive and conflicting identifications of the drug he gave the victim" as a key factor in their decision to charge him.

The case represents an about-face by the district attorney's office, which under a previous DA declined to charge Cosby in 2005 when Constand first told police that the comic violated her by putting his hands down her trousers at his home in the Philadelphia suburb of Cheltenham.

In interviews, Buress said his intention was not to "out" Cosby, but to make a joke about Cosby's alleged hypocrisy.

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