Bill Cosby seeks sex charge dismissal

  • 08/07/2016
Bill Cosby seeks sex charge dismissal

Bill Cosby has returned to a Pennsylvania criminal court as the comedian's lawyers prepare to mount their latest attempt to have the sexual assault case against him thrown out.

A crush of reporters, photographers and camera crews outside the Montgomery County courthouse covered the arrival of Mr Cosby, 78, whose lawyers will argue that the accuser, Andrea Constand, should be required to testify and answer questions from the defence before the case is permitted to proceed to trial.

Mr Cosby, once one of the most beloved US entertainers thanks to his family-friendly persona, is facing accusations of sexual assault from dozens of women stretching back decades.

The Pennsylvania case is the only criminal prosecution against him, as most of the other allegations involve incidents that are too old to produce charges.

Mr Cosby, wearing a pinstriped jacket and using a cane as he arrived at the courthouse, has denied assaulting anyone and has portrayed his 2004 encounter with Ms Constand as consensual.

Thursday's hearing could provide a preview of the defence's trial strategy, which is likely to focus on undermining Ms Constand's credibility by attacking her story and questioning her behaviour following the alleged assault.

Prosecutors in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, chose not to call Ms Constand as a witness at a preliminary hearing in May.

Instead, two police detectives who took her statement in 2005 testified as to what she told them at the time.

Mr Cosby's lawyers have argued that the use of such hearsay evidence to hold the case over for trial violated his rights.

But the judge overseeing the May hearing rejected that position, citing a recent state appeals court ruling that victims do not have to testify in person at preliminary hearings.