Bill Cosby's sex assault trial scheduled for next summer
Bill Cosby will stand trial in June, 2017 as he fights three charges of aggravated indecent assault.
The Cosby Show veteran is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his home in Pennsylvania in 2004.
He was not charged at the time of the incident and maintains his innocence, but he faced questioning in 2005 and 2006 as part of Constand's civil suit, which was subsequently settled out of court.
The case was reopened last year (15) after the actor's sealed deposition was made public, revealing Cosby had confessed to buying sedatives to give to women he wanted to sleep with and had had extramarital affairs.
He was arrested and charged in December (15), and during a pre-trial hearing on Tuesday (06Sep16), Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill ordered the case to go to trial no later than 5 June (17).
During Cosby's latest court appearance, the judge also confirmed the 79-year-old is now blind, after assuring his lawyers any special needs the veteran may require would be accommodated.
More than 50 women have come forward with decades-old accusations of inappropriate behaviour, drugging and/or rape against Cosby since late 2014. The statute of limitations has expired in almost all of the cases, preventing the alleged victims from pursuing criminal charges.
The embattled comedian has denied all allegations, and his legal team tried and failed on numerous occasions to have his current assault charges dismissed.
After Tuesday's hearing, his lawyers alleged racial bias in a statement which reads: "Mr. Cosby is no stranger to discrimination and racial hatred, and throughout his career Mr. Cosby has always used his voice and his celebrity to highlight the commonalities and has portrayed the differences that are not negative - no matter the race, gender and religion of a person."
They also took aim at women's rights lawyer Gloria Allred, who has taken on many of the defamation cases filed against Cosby by his alleged victims.
The statement continues: "Yet, over the last fourteen months, Mr. Cosby, and those who have supported him, have been ignored, while lawyers like Gloria Allred hold press conferences to accuse him of crimes for unwitnessed events that allegedly occurred almost a half century earlier."
Meanwhile, prosecutors are planning to call 13 other alleged victims to testify during the trial to try and establish a pattern of behaviour, reports People.com.
In a motion filed on Tuesday by Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele, prosecutors write, "Since the victim disclosed this drug-facilitated assault to the police, other women, suffering nearly identical trauma at the hands of the defendant came forward.
"During the course of this case, the Commonwealth investigated nearly 50 women allegedly victimized by defendant. What became clear was that the defendant has engaged, over the course of his lifetime, in a pattern of serial sexual abuse."
Judge O'Neill will issue a ruling on the request during a separate hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
- Cover Media