BILL Cosby has been charged with aggravated indecent assault over an alleged incident in 2004.
The veteran actor appeared at a district court outside Philadelphia today for a brief hearing where a judge set his bail at $1million.
Dressed in a grey jumper and carrying a cane, the Cosby Show actor was helped along by the arms.
He has been accused of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his mansion in Pennsylvania in January 2004.
The 78-year-old actor was forced to hand over his passport and will be fingerprinted at a nearby police station.
He made no comment as he walked past reporters, shaking his head. His next court hearing is on January 14.
In a press conference earlier today, officials announced their intention to charge the actor with aggravated indecent assault, a felony charge of the first degree.
“The victim came to consider him her mentor and her friend, he made two sexual advances to her that were rejected, on the evening in question he urged her to take pills and drink wine the effect of which left her unable to move or respond to his advances and he committed aggravated indecent assault on her,” Montgomery County District Attorney-Elect Kevin Steele said.
“The evidence is strong and sufficient to proceed at this point,” he added.
At the press conference, Steele confirmed that Cosby was due for arraignment in Elkins Park at approximately 4pm today.
Prosecutors are now charging Cosby after evaluating ‘new evidence’ that had been discovered.
Confirming that Cosby faces one charge and are not currently looking at other charges, he said: â€œFrozen, paralysed, unable to move. A person in that state can not give consent, therefore the aggravated indecent assault charge.”
Steele claimed that evidence allegedly includes the use of alcohol and drugs.
A legal representative for 42-year-old Costand, who now lives in Ontario, Canada, has thanked the prosecutor on behalf of her client.
“Obviously we appreciate the expression of confidence in her. We’ll have to see what happens. We hope justice will be done. We will cooperate fully.”
Cosby, 78, has denied under oath that anything inappropriate had occurred and their relations had been consensual, but a court filing in the summer revealed that Constand had been in a relationship with a woman at the time of the alleged assault.
The statute of limitations to bring charges against Cosby runs out in January.
Constand’s attorney Dolores Troiani also said: “I think this arrest warrant speaks for itself. I don’t think I have to talk any louder than they have.”
Two people familiar with the investigation said charges will be filed when prosecutors in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, announce the findings of their inquiry later.
A former Temple University employee told police the comedian drugged and violated her at his home near Philadelphia in 2004.
A previous district attorney declined to charge Cosby in 2005.
It will be the first criminal case against Cosby over his conduct with women, which has received new scrutiny in the past year.
Prosecutors reopened the case over the summer as damaging testimony was unsealed in a related civil lawsuit against Cosby and as dozens of other women came forward with similar accusations.
Many of those alleged assaults date back decades, and the statute of limitations for bringing charges has expired in nearly every case.
Pennsylvania law gives prosecutors up to 12 years for some sex crimes.
Constand sued Cosby back in 2005 and reportedly settled for an undisclosed sum and no charges were brought against him.
She claimed that she had been tricked into taking drugs before being sexually assaulted by Cosby.
The documents from the case were previously sealed, but were made public this summer.
In Cosbyâ€™s deposition he admitted to giving women a sedative, Quaaludes, when he wanted to have sex with them. – CNN