Bill Cosby, artist, writer, author and activist at the center of sex scandal case. via Wikimedia Commons
ENTERTAINMENT: Bill Cosby appears in court for 2004 sexual assault case, and lawyers promise vigorous defense against unjustified charge
PENNSYLVANIA- After a year of speculations, accusations and counter accusations of rape and impropriety by dozens of women, Bill Cosby was arrested and arraigned in a courtroom in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania Wednesday. He was charged with aggravated indecent assault charges stemming from an alleged 2004 incident in Pennsylvania.
Aggravated indecent assault is a second degree felony charge.
At about 2: 30, the 78-year-old comedian walked into the courtroom arm-in-arm with his legal team. Dressed in a black-and-white hooded sweater, he entered the court using his cane for support. At a point, he tripped over the courts threshold for which he responded ‘steps.’ Cosby did not enter a plea.
Accompanying Bill Cosby were his attorney, Brian McMonagle, a well-known Philadelphia area criminal defense lawyer and Monique Pressley, a Washington lawyer who serves as a Bill Cosby spokeswoman.
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After brief discussions with Magisterial District Judge Elizabeth McHugh, he was released on $1million dollar bail for which the comedian paid the required 10%. The judge wished him ‘good luck,’ as he left the court.
Soon after the arraignment, Cosby went to the Cheltenham Police Department where he was processed and his mug shot taken. Crowds gathered at the Cheltenham Police Department did not hold back on throwing profanities at Cosby, who kept a straight face.
As part of the condition of his bail, Cosby had to turn over his passport to the court. Magisterial District Judge Elizabeth McHugh also reminded Cosby that he could not have contact with the alleged victim. He was also instructed to not Tweet or have any relative comment on the alleged victim. Cosby will return to court on January 14, 2016
Cosby arraignment emanates from a 2005 deposition in which Constand Andrea claimed that Cosby allegedly sexually assaulted her. According to her, after she and Cosby became friends, he invited her to his home in Pennsylvania. There, Constand noted that Cosby made multiple sexual advances towards her over time. However, while at Cosby’s home in early 2004, Constand claimed that Cosby gave her pils and wine which made her unresponsive and unable to move. That, according to Constand, was when Cosby allegedly sexually assaulted her.
Cosby and Constand eventually settled out of court. The district attorney in Montgomery County at the time decided not to press criminal charges . Although the deposition was supposed to be sealed, part of it began to leak in 2015, after more women began alleging that they were also sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby.
This summer U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno, put an end to all the speculations when he unsealed the Cosby deposition. In the deposition, Cosby admitted to giving Quaaludes to a woman with whom he wanted to have sex.
In the space of one year, more than 57 women have come out to accuse Bill Cosby of sexual misconduct. Since the women started coming forward, the former TV star has suffered many consequences. He has been removed from board of companies, and his mural in Pennsylvania has been painted over. A new sitcom has also been cancelled. This is addition to the retraction of honorary awards from colleges and universities.
Bill Cosby has consistently maintained his innocence since Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee accused him of sexual assault 10 years ago. The famed comedian has also maintained his innocence in all of the new allegations that came to the fore in 2015.
Bill Cosby’s arrest and arraignment is coming a month before the case reaches the statute of limitations. The newly elected First Assistant District Attorney Kevin Steele said his office decided to proceed with the second-degree felony charge because of new evidence that came to light this July. “We examined all the evidence and we made this determination because it was the right thing to do,” he said during a press conference this morning.
While addressing the reason for bringing the case, Steele noted: “On the evening in question, Cosby urged her to take pills that he provided her and to drink wine, the effect of which rendered her unable to move.” The pill, attorney Steele told reporters, rendered the victim “frozen” and “paralyzed.” It was then that Cosby allegedly assaulted her.
The timing of the second-degree felony charge is giving a lot of people reasons to pause. Many people, including Monique Pressley seem to suggest that this is a case of political prosecution. The fact that Steele is bringing the case on the heels of a hotly contested election for District Attorney of Montgomery County PA during which this case was made the focal point, came as no surprise to Cosby’s attorney, Monique Pressley. She describes the new case as ‘political football.’
Pressley has vowed to vigorously defend Bill Cosby against what she calls “unjustified charge.” She added that “Mr. Cosby will be exonerated by a court of law”
Early this month, Bill Cosby filed a defamation counter-suit in U.S. District Court against seven of his accusers
If convicted, Cosby faces up to 10 years in jail and a $25,000 fine.
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