America’s most famous comedian, Bill Cosby will stand trial on Monday 5 June on charges of aggravated indecent assault brought by Andrea Constand, a former employee at Temple University in Philadelphia, Cosby’s alma mater.
The trial will hold in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Jurors were selected from outside Montgomery County due to the extensive local media coverage of the case.
Montgomery County judge Steven O’Neill will preside over the case.
O’Neill said in April that the trial is expected to take two weeks. However, it is unclear how long the jury will deliberate until a verdict is reached.
Constand accuses the former Cosby Show star of giving her sleeping tablets and sexually assaulting her at his home in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania in January 2004. If found guilty, Cosby could face up to 10 years in prison. He paid a million dollars in bail to stay free in the run-up to the trial.
The trial and its possible eventuality will mark a fall from grace to grass of a man who achieved the height of his fame and fortune as TV dad Cliff Huxtable and was touted as one of America’s biggest black success stories.
Cosby will be 80 in July.Hs millions of fans worldwide found his sexual peccadillo incredible with more than 60 women coming forward to accuse him giving them sedatives and sexually assaulting them while they were unconscious.
Cosby started his career as a stand-up comic in the 1960s. He quickly moved from a New York nightclub to getting gigs on TV and in films. His big breakthrough came when he was the first black actor to win an Emmy for the TV series “I Spy.”
Then came the Cosby Show, which ran from 1984 to 1992 with more than 200 episodes. It made Cosby a millionaire and he was credited with bringing African-American everyday life onto mainstream TV.
“Mr Cosby single-handedly and uncompromisingly brought a new level of consciousness to prime time,” the New York Times wrote after the last episode of the show aired.
At least 60 women have publicly accused Cosby of sexual harassment, assault or rape, according to the Washington Post. Most of the cases are from years ago, and the only legal option for the accusers is to take Cosby to a civil court.
There have been at least seven civil suits filed for defamation, sexual assault or sexual harassment from 13 women in three US states, according to the paper.
He pressed on with his last tour despite being plagued by a growing number of allegations. The aptly named “Far From Finished” tour ended in 2015.
For many of the millions of Americans who watched him in his heyday as Cliff Huxtable, the kind-hearted and silly dad, Cosby’s day in court is a sad end to the glittering career of one of the nation’s most beloved entertainers.