Bill Cosby will have to stand trial on sexual assault charges, a Pennsylvania judge said on Tuesday.
During a pretrial hearing on May 24, the judge found there was enough evidence to go ahead with a trial against the comedian.
Cosby, 78, faces up to 10 years in prison if he is convicted. The multiple accolade winner faces three counts of felony indecent assault from a 2004 case involving accuser Andrea Constand, who was an employee at Temple University, his alma mater.
“Based on the evidence, I am going to hold you on charges,” Judge Elizabeth McHugh ruled, reported USA Today.
His next court date is slated for July 20.
Constand did not attend the court hearing on Tuesday, which Cosby’s defense said is problematic.
Cosby attorney Brian McMonagle claimed the prosecution is relying on a statement she made to police 11 years ago. The defense attempted to find gaps in her 2005 statement to police as the prosecution’s first witness, Katherine Hart of the Montgomery County Detective Bureau, read parts of the statement in court on Tuesday.
Constand had told detectives that Cosby gave her three pills that made her dizzy and blurry-eyed, leaving her legs feeling “like jelly.” Cosby then touched her sexually without her consent while her body was left “frozen” by the pills.
“I told him, ‘I can’t even talk, Mr. Cosby.’ I started to panic,” the statement, as read by Hart.
McMonagle said the case is based on hearsay and shouldn’t be tried. The problem, he said, is that it centers around “an accusation made many years ago about an incident that allegedly occurred 12 years ago.”
He said, “I have never once had a case where the prosecution has relied, in a sexual abuse case, on exclusively hearsay evidence in a hearing.”
“It is a complete denial of this defendant’s due process rights,” McMonagle said, NBC News reported.
“You’re basically told here to tell us what somebody told another detective 11 years ago about what happened 12 years ago?” McMonagle later asked Hart. “Yes,” she replied, according to CNN.
Constand, who reached a civil settlement with Cosby in 2006, has indicated she is willing to testify.
Constand, a former basketball star, claimed Cosby drugged her and assaulted her at his Pennsylvania home in 2004. At the time, prosecutors chose not to charge him, but last year, he was charged with aggravated indecent assault after dozens of women came forward with claims of sexual misconduct.
According to the Washington Post, at least 58 women have said Cosby sexually assaulted them or harassed them since the mid-1960s and the late 2000s. Dozens said that he drugged them before the alleged assaults took place.
Cosby has denied the allegations against him, even suing some of the accusers of defamation.
“I don’t remember leaving the dinner show. When I came to, I was lying in Bill Cosby’s bed not my own room,” said one of his accusers, Pamela Abeyta.
Added another: “I could barely stand up. I felt like I was going to pass out or get very sick. He made me kneel down—I don’t want to repeat what happened next.”