Cosby could serve 10 years or up to 30 years in prison if convicted on all charges
Prosecutor: "Hearsay is admissible, and we're just over the next hurdle"
More than a decade after he was first accused of sexual misconduct, Bill Cosby will go to trial.
A Pennsylvania judge found enough evidence during a hearing Tuesday to proceed with a criminal trial. It’s not clear when his trial will start.
Cosby faces three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault from a 2004 case involving Andrea Constand, an employee at his alma mater, Temple University. She was the first of more than 50 women who have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct.
Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, but the judge has the option to have him serve the sentences concurrently, which means he could serve 10 years in prison if convicted on all charges.
Cosby’s defense attorney slammed the decision to move forward with a trial.
“The evidence presented today was evidence of nothing. They had 12 years to bring an accuser to confront Mr. Cosby. They chose not to,” defense attorney Brian McMonagle said.
“There was no evidence of a crime here. And the inconsistencies that plagued this investigation from the beginning continue to plague it now. This case should end immediately.”
But Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said the prosecution only had to “prove that a crime was committed and the defendant’s connected to the crime.”
“It’s a preliminary hearing,” Steele said. “Hearsay is admissible, and we’re just over the next hurdle.”
Accusations from both sides
As he walked into court Tuesday, the 78-year-old comedian and actor, who suffers from vision problems, held onto the arm of his spokesman, Andrew Wyatt. During the hearing, Cosby appeared to listen attentively and occasionally stretched his neck.
The prosecution’s first witness, Katherine Hart of the Montgomery County Detective Bureau, read parts of a statement by Constand in court.
In the statement, Constand said Cosby invited her to his home in 2004 and told her to wear comfortable clothes. Constand said she had been grappling with issues in her life, and that Cosby gave her a few pills to “take the edge off.”
Afterward, Constand’s statement said, Cosby sexually assaulted her.
Constand was not in court for the hearing Tuesday, a fact that Cosby’s defense team tried to capitalize on.
“After hearing the weak, inconsistent and incredible evidence presented, it is clear why the prosecution did not allow its witness to speak and be confronted by the person she has accused,” McMonagle said.
“Instead, they chose to rely on an 11-year-old hearsay statement from that witness, riddled with numerous corrections and inconsistencies.”
When questioned by the defense, Hart acknowledged that she was not present for Constand’s entire statement to police in January 2005.
Another detective finished the questioning that day. That evening, Constand was allowed to review her statement. The defense said Constand crossed out or redacted parts of the statement.
“You’re basically here to tell us what somebody told another detective 11 years ago about what happened 12 years ago?” McMonagle asked Hart.
“Yes,” Hart replied.