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January 09, 2016

New date set for Cosby preliminary hearing on sex charges

Sex assault hearing moved to Montgomery County court

A preliminary hearing for Bill Cosby is now set for Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, court papers show.

Instead of the tiny district courtroom near his Cheltenham home, where Cosby was arraigned Dec. 30 on three charges related to an alleged sexual assault, the hearing will be moved to the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown to better accommodate an anticipated crush of media.

Cosby is free on bail, having posted 10 percent of $1 million the day he was arraigned. Originally the hearing was set for Jan. 14.

The comedy legend’s lawyer, Brian McMonagle of Philadelphia, sought the change of date, court papers show.

McMonagle did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday.

Neither did newly-elected Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele, who had made revisiting the Cosby allegations a cornerstone of the election.

A previous district attorney, Bruce Castor, had passed on indicting the comedian on allegations that he had drugged and sexually assaulted former Temple University employee Andrea Constand in his Cheltenham home on Jan. 15, 2004.

Constand has agreed to testify in the upcoming criminal case.

  • Constand, 42, met Cosby through her previous work at the university. A former basketball standout, she now works as a massage therapist in her native Canada.

    Constand, who is lesbian, had brought civil court charges in 2006 against the man she had considered a friend and mentor, and settled those charges with Cosby that same year for an undisclosed amount of money.

    Information from a damning deposition in that case, in which Cosby admits he gave Constand pills and then contends he had consensual sex with her, had gotten out recently, spurring the criminal charges against him just days before the statute of limitations was about to run out last December.

    Constand's lawyer in the civil case, Dolores Troiani, could not be reached for comment Saturday. She has previously said Constand has the “utmost confidence” in Steele and his office.

    It isn’t clear if Constand will testify during the preliminary hearing, which is designed to test if the evidence is sufficient for a case to proceed.

    Cosby resigned from Temple's board of trustees last year due to the mounting allegations from more than 50 accusers.

    He had frequently attended campus events, which is how he got to know Constand.

    Temple has previously declined comment.

    The case is set to be heard on Feb. 2 before District Justice Elizabeth McHugh at 9:30 a.m. in Courtroom A of the Montgomery County Courthouse.