Bill Cosby to stand trial in sex assault case

A judge ruled that Bill Cosby must stand trial.

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) -- Comedian Bill Cosby was ordered Tuesday to stand trial in the lone criminal case lodged amid dozens of accusations that he molested women. 

The 78-year-old actor faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of violating the accuser while she was impaired, unconscious or could not give consent. 

Andrea Constand told authorities that Cosby violated her sexually after giving her three blue pills that made her dizzy, blurry-eyed and sick to her stomach, her legs "like jelly," according to a police report read in court Tuesday.

"I told him, `I can't even talk, Mr. Cosby.' I started to panic," the former Temple University athletic department employee told police in 2005.

The testimony was introduced at the preliminary hearing to determine whether prosecutors have enough evidence to put the TV star on trial on sexual assault charges.

It was not the face-to-face confrontation between accuser and accused that some had anticipated: Constand was not in the courtroom, and the judge ruled that she would not have to testify at the hearing and that prosecutors could instead have her statements to police read into the record.

Cosby's lawyers argued unsuccessfully that that would be hearsay and would deprive him of his right to confront his accuser. Such testimony from law enforcement officers is common practice at preliminary hearings in Pennsylvania, which have a far lower burden of proof than trials.

In her statement, Constand said Cosby penetrated her with his fingers as she drifted in and out of consciousness soon after he gave her the pills at his suburban Philadelphia mansion in 2004.

She said Cosby told her the pills were herbal medication. She said he also urged her to sip wine even though she said had not eaten and didn't want to drink.

Constand said her legs felt "rubbery" and "like jelly." "Everything was blurry and dizzy. I felt nauseous," she said.

Constand told detectives that Cosby positioned himself behind her after telling her to lie down on the couch when she became dizzy. She said she awoke with her bra askew and did not remember undoing it.

Cosby has said it was consensual sexual activity.

On cross-examination Tuesday, Cosby attorney Brian McMonagle questioned why Constand continued to see the comedian and even returned to the house to meet with him after the alleged assault.

Detective Katherine Hart testified that Constand told detectives in 2005 that she went back to Cosby's home to confront him about what had happened.

Constand also told detectives she contacted Cosby after moving to Canada because she wanted tickets to one of his comedy shows. McMonagle said Constand brought a present for Cosby.

Earlier Tuesday, the comedian walked into the courthouse on the arm of an aide, waving to people waiting outside. He looked healthier than he did when he was charged in December, and was not carrying a cane this time.

Prosecutors reopened the case last year after dozens of women leveled similar allegations and after Cosby's sealed deposition in Constand's lawsuit was made public.

He settled her lawsuit for an undisclosed sum in 2006 after testifying about his extramarital affairs, his use of quaaludes to seduce women and his efforts to hide payments to former lovers from his wife.

The testimony and the barrage of allegations have all but destroyed Cosby's nice-guy image from TV's "Cosby Show."

Cosby's lawyers are trying to get the case thrown out, arguing that a previous prosecutor a decade ago made a binding promise that the comic would never be charged. On Monday, Pennsylvania's Supreme Court rejected a request to delay the preliminary hearing while Cosby pursues a dismissal.

Cosby has not entered a plea since his Dec. 30 arrest. He is free on $1 million bail.

He is also fighting defamation lawsuits across the country for allegedly branding his accusers liars and is trying to get his homeowner insurance to pay his legal bills.

Constand is now a massage therapist in Toronto.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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