A suburban Philadelphia judge settled one of two key pretrial issues in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial on Monday when he ruled that the jury could hear Cosby's damaging testimony from a decade-old civil deposition. The defense had argued that Cosby only gave the testimony after being assured he would never be charged in the case. But Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill concluded that Cosby had no such guarantee, the AP reports. O'Neill has vowed to bring the case to trial by June. The 79-year-old Cosby is charged with felony sexual assault. Here's where the criminal case against Cosby stands, and what's ahead:
- Why the deposition is so important. The nearly 1,000 pages of often-lurid testimony show another side of the actor known as "America's Dad" for his portrayal of amiable Dr. Cliff Huxtable in The Cosby Show from 1984-1992. Cosby acknowledged a string of extramarital affairs over 50 years and said he had given young women drugs or alcohol before sexual encounters that he deemed consensual. Many of the women say they were drugged and molested.
- What Cosby says about the accuser. Cosby acknowledged the 2004 sexual encounter with accuser Andrea Constand, and described putting his hand down her pants after giving her three unidentified blue pills. He said he did not hear her object. "And so I continue and I go into the area that is somewhere between permission and rejection. I am not stopped," he said. Prosecutors believe Constand was semi-conscious and unable to give consent.
- What about other women? Cosby testified that he had gotten quaaludes from his doctor in the 1970s and kept them on hand to give to women before sex. He said he considered it illegal to offer someone the party drug, but did so in the same way someone might say, "Have a drink."
- What's next in the case. The judge will hear arguments next week on the other key pretrial issue, the question of how many other accusers can testify at trial about Cosby's alleged pattern of drugging and molesting women. DA Kevin Steele hopes to call 13 other women as "prior bad act" witnesses. The defense will fight strenuously to block their testimony, questioning their credibility and relevance. The hearing is set for Dec. 13 and 14.
- How is Cosby doing? Cosby has not spent any time in custody since his Dec. 30 arrest. He posted $1 million bail the same day and has made about a half-dozen court appearances, usually flanked by a team of lawyers and handlers. Defense lawyers say the 79-year-old comedian is legally blind and suffering memory problems, rendering him unable to help them prepare for trial. Neither his wife of 52 years, Camille, nor any of their four surviving children have accompanied him.
(Despite the scandal, Cosby Show
reruns are coming back