What Happens At A Pretrial Hearing? Bill Cosby's Case Could Be Affected By The Decisions Made There

On Sept. 6 — and over a decade after the initial sexual assault allegations were made — Bill Cosby's legal battle will continue during a pretrial. Following a preliminary hearing in May, The Cosby Show actor was charged with three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a woman Cosby reportedly mentored, in 2004. Cosby has maintained he only had consensual sexual relations with Constand and only ever gave her Benadryl. The comedian lost his motion to have the charges against him dismissed and will continue preparing for trial in this latest hearing. So, what happens at a pretrial hearing and how important is it to Cosby's future?

The American Bar Association defines a pretrial hearing as a meeting held prior to the trial in order to share information and hammer out a slew of legal details integral to any trial action. It is in pretrial hearings that the plaintiff, defendant, judge, and lawyers finalize pressing issues such as pretrial motions, settlement offers, and what evidence can and can't be presented to jurors during the trial. The hearing could also be where the trial date is set.

Perhaps the most pressing question likely to be addressed during the pretrial is whether testimonies from any of the more than 50 women who've accused Cosby of sexual assault — accusations Cosby and his legal team have vehemently denied — will be allowed in Constand's case.

KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images

Other key pretrial motions likely to be up for discussion include an effort by Cosby's legal team to dismiss a deposition Cosby gave in a 2005 lawsuit Constand brought against him in which he admitted to providing multiple women with drugs and alcohol before what he called "rendezvous." Cosby's legal team has argued the comedian was promised he would not face charges if he testified in 2005. The defense is also aiming to keep jurors from hearing a recorded conversation taped by Constand's mother when she confronted the comedian about her daughter's accusations. Cosby's team claimed the conversation was illegally recorded.

While Cosby's pretrial is far from being the end of his legal battle, what happens Tuesday could impact the comedian further down the line as the prosecution and the defense will be seeking to hammer out a handful of important legal issues pertaining to what evidence is presented in the case before trial action begins. Cosby could face up to 10 years in prison for each charge if convicted.