Is Bill Cosby Under House Arrest? The Trial Will Change His Circumstances
Bill Cosby will stand trial for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in 2004, a Pennsylvania judge ruled Tuesday. The celeb is also fighting off multiple civil cases from women with similar accusations, but this particular incident led to charges for three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault. Cosby has repeatedly and adamantly denied all charges. He has been out on $1 million bail since officially charged in December, though Cosby isn't under house arrest until the trial.
Cosby, who pleaded not guilty to the sexual assault charges, had to put down 10 percent of the $1 million per Pennsylvania law and turn over his passport in order to be released on bail, but there was no stipulation that he not leave his house.
Although the 78-year-old was charged back in December (the first time he's actually been charged for any of the more than 50 accusations against him), the judge needed to rule that there was enough evidence to go to trial in a routine hearing — and they did. A trial date has not been set, but each of Cosby's three felony charges has the potential for a 10-year sentence. However, the judge could have him serve the sentences concurrently, meaning he would only serve 10 years in prison instead of 30 if convicted on all counts.
Cosby's defense attorney, Brian McMonagle, said of the decision to move forward: "The evidence presented today was evidence of nothing. They had 12 years to bring an accuser to confront Mr. Cosby. They chose not to. There was no evidence of a crime here. And the inconsistencies that plagued this investigation from the beginning continue to plague it now."
A former district attorney chose not to pursue charges for the alleged sexual assault back in 2005, but the investigation was reopened after dozens of women came forward with similar claims about the entertainer. Part of his deposition in a 2005 civil suit brought against him by the same woman was published last summer, revealing that he admitted to obtaining Quaaludes in order to have sex with women.
Cosby's lawyers argued Tuesday that when he testified, the district attorney promised to never prosecute him, according to The New York Times. The defense will probably continue trying to suppress the deposition as evidence, but the current district attorney, Kevin R. Steele, told the court Tuesday: "There is no legal authority allowing a district attorney unilaterally to confer transactional immunity."
In a news conference outside the courthouse, Steele explained that the prosecution only needs to prove that a crime occurred and Cosby was connected to it: "We are here because we want to seek the truth."