UPDATE, 9:47 AM: Bill Cosby is going to be back in court on May 24 to face criminal charges in his alleged drugging and assault of Andrea Constand back in 2004. A Pennsylvania judge set the new date and 9:30 AM ET start time for a preliminary hearing today after the state’s Superior Court rejected Cosby’s appeal and lifted the stay on the matter on Monday.
Cosby, who appeared at previous hearings on the case in O’Neill’s Norristown courtroom, is expected to attend. If found guilty in the only criminal charges actually laid against him in the claims of more than 50 women, the 78-year old Cosby could face up to 10 years behind bars as well as hefty fines.
PREVIOUS, APRIL 25 PM: Bill Cosby could be heading back to Pennsylvania court soon to face a trio of felony second-degree aggravated indecent assault charges and up to a decade behind bars. Today, the state’s Superior Court ruled that the criminal charges case against the actor can go forward after granting a local D.A.’s motion to quash Cosby’s appeal.
“The temporary stay entered on March 1, 2016 is lifted,” said the mid-level state court on Monday (read it here). That stay was granted just a week before the 78-year-old Cosby was to face a preliminary hearing on charges arising from an alleged 2004 drugging and sexual assault of Andrea Constand.
With more than 50 women nationwide claiming that The Cosby Show creator drugged and assaulted them over the decades, Montgomery County (PA) District Attorney Kevin Steele laid the first criminal charges against Cosby late last year to get in under the wire of the Keystone State’s 12-year statute of limitations for such crimes. Cosby was arraigned December 30 and released on $1 million bail without entering a plea.
No date has been announced for when proceedings will start up again in Judge Steven O’Neill’s Norristown courtroom. Reps for Cosby did not respond to request for comment on today’s ruling.
‘Today we received two orders from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The first, at the Commonwealth’s request, quashed the Cosby defense team’s pretrial interlocutory appeal,” said a statement from Steele’s office. “The second, also at the Commonwealth’s request, denied their appeal of Judge O’Neill’s refusal to certify an interlocutory appeal. We did not believe that the defense had a right to appeal at this stage, and are gratified that the Court came to the same conclusion. The effect of both of these orders is that we can now hold a preliminary hearing. We are ready for that hearing and look forward to the Court setting a date so we can present our case.”
After unsuccessfully trying to get the case shut down based on a supposed no-prosecution agreement with a former D.A., Cosby and his lawyers on February 12 filed a direct appeal to the state’s Superior Court to appeal O’Neill’s ruling February 3 that the case involving the criminal charges could go forward. Later that month, Steele filed paperwork urging the higher court to reject Cosby’s appeal attempt until after a trial is completed.
Steele’s motion is what triggered the stay from the Superior Court on March 1 and what the court formally ruled on today to get things started again.