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Judge Orders TV Icon Cosby to Stand Trial for Sexual Assault

  • VOA News

Bill Cosby is pictured leaving the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., after a preliminary hearing in a sexual assault case, May 24, 2016.

Bill Cosby is pictured leaving the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., after a preliminary hearing in a sexual assault case, May 24, 2016.

A Pennsylvania judge on Tuesday ordered American comedy icon Bill Cosby to stand trial on allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman in his Philadelphia home in 2004.

Judge Elizabeth McHugh ruled there was enough evidence to warrant a criminal trial for the 78-year-old comedian.

She wished Cosby luck at the end of the three-hour hearing, and he thanked her before leaving the courtroom. No trial date was set.

If convicted, Cosby could face 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

He already pleaded not guilty during a hearing in December and is free on $1 million bail.

Cosby is accused of sexually assaulting former Temple University basketball team manager Andrea Constand in his home, where she had visited the comic seeking career advice.

According to the police report read at Tuesday's hearing, Cosby gave her pills and wine that made her legs feel "like jelly," leaving her dizzy, nauseated and unable to fight back when Cosby allegedly fondled her.

Watch video report from VOA's Zlatica Hoke:

Cosby told police he had given her Benadryl — an over-the-counter medicine used for allergies and insomnia — and insisted that any sexual relations with Constand were consensual.

Constand settled a civil suit against Cosby in 2006.

More than 50 women have alleged that Cosby sexually assaulted them in incidents dating to the 1960s, when he emerged as a major comedy star. The Constand case is the only one set for a criminal trial.

Cosby is known for his standup comedy routines focusing on his Philadelphia childhood and growing up in a middle-class African-American family.

He played a genial and wise doctor in his 1980s television comedy series "The Cosby Show." It was the country's most popular television series for several years but is scarcely rebroadcast anymore.

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