Tuesday, 05 January, 2016

Cosby pleads not guilty to sexual assault charge

Bryan Bedder Getty Images
David Chambers | 02 January, 2016, 01:26

The charges are the first filed against Cosby, who has been embroiled in a multitude of allegations throughout the past year.

Bill Cosby is thanking his supporters following his formal arraignment on one charge of aggravated indecent assault on Wednesday.

(David Swanson/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP).

As a series of new accusations and investigations over the course of the past year dismantled Cosby's reputation, many turned their attention to Constand's case, the closest Cosby had come until Wednesday to facing criminal charges in connection with an accusation of sexual assault.

"What we have not is not the effectuation of justice", she added. "What we have is the fulfillment of a campaign promise", Pressley said on ABC's "Good Morning America". Last summer, Pennsylvania District attorney Attorney Kevin Steele and his office confirmed they were reassessing the case for new information. Cosby did not enter a plea in response to the felony charge of aggravated indecent assault, and his bail was set at $1 million. Cosby's team is nearly certain to fight to bar testimony from other women who have accused him of sexual misconduct over many years, and to stop the introduction of the entertainer's own testimony from Constand's earlier lawsuit.

He is accused of plying former Temple University employee Andrea Constand with wine and pills - perhaps Benadryl, perhaps quaaludes, prosecutors suggested - and then penetrating her with his fingers while she was unable to move or protest. The case dates from 2004, and under Pennsylvania law, prosecutors have a 12-year deadline to bring charges in a sexual assault case. According to CBS News, Constand, 42, previously reported an incident involving Cosby in 2005, but at the time, the district attorney declined to file criminal charges against the comedian.

Steele's win was widely read as a sign that Cosby could soon be charged.

Steele - who is the top deputy in the DA's office and takes over next week - attacked Castor during the campaign for not prosecuting Cosby, running an ad that said: "Bruce Castor was not looking out for the victims".

"I've spoken to numerous survivors, and we are thrilled and feel very validated", said Baker-Kinney, 57.

"Today is still just a good day, regardless of if he is found guilty or not guilty", Ferrier told CBS Denver.

He settled a civil suit with Constand, and in his deposition in the lawsuit, which was made public previous year, and in the testimony, Cosby confessed to buying sedatives to give to women he wanted to sleep with. He mentored her for a time, but one night, she said, he gave her a drugged cappuccino.

Although Bloomberg notes that Castor's decision against pursuing a criminal case in 2005 had support in Pennsylvania at the time, his statements about the case over the past decade have come under intense scrutiny as more and more women - dozens, ultimately, going back to the 1960s - came forward to accuse Cosby of drugging and molesting them.

Filing the case under the wire could raise questions over whether the prosecutor's judgment had been hurried or compromised. "Rather, reopening this case was our duty as law enforcement officers", said Steele, who is the top deputy in the DA's office and will take over next week.

Johnson, 63, wrote a detailed article in Vanity Fair in November 2014 about her encounter with Cosby in the mid-1980s, saying she was invited by the comedian, best known for his role in the 1980s sitcom "The Cosby Show", to his home where he allegedly drugged her coffee.

Asked if she thinks he should go to jail, Emmons said, "Let God take care of him".

Cosby has said his accusers are lying. His lawyers helped him hold a pen. It was not clear, for example, what impact the criminal case would have on the settlement reached in a civil suit that Constand filed against Cosby.

"You have to say this is a curious case for the prosecution to bring since nothing has really changed other than these other women came forward", said Isabelle A. Kirshner, a criminal defense attorney.