Bill Cosby arrived Monday at the Montgomery County Courthouse to face charges that he drugged and assaulted former Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his Cheltenham home in 2004.
With the streets outside the courthouse lined with television trucks, Cosby arrived arm-in-arm with Keshia Knight Pulliam, who played his television daughter, Rudy Huxtable, on “The Cosby Show.” The courtroom was packed with members of the public and media.
District Judge Steven O’Neill instructed jurors that Cosby is innocent until proved guilty, opening statements are not evidence and Cosby has a right to remain silent.
“This is an important case, a weighty case, and there’s a lot of evidence,” he said.
The 79-year-old actor faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault. He has denied the accusations since 2005, when Constand first went to the police. Opening statements are expected to being Monday morning.
The district attorney at the time of the alleged assault declined to press charges, and in 2006 Cosby settled a civil suit with Constand that remained sealed for almost a decade.
Though more than 50 women have leveled allegations against the former “I Spy” star, the trial will focus on the testimony of Constand and only one other accuser, who has been identified as Jane Doe.
Ex-Playboy model Victoria Valentino, Florida nurse Therese Serignese and former actor Lili Bernard, all among Cosby’s accusers, were spotted in the courtroom’s overflow room. They are not expected to testify.
Those close to Andrea Constand say she is feeling strong and is ready to tell her side of the story. She has already traveled from Toronto to Pennsylvania, but it’s not yet clear when prosecutors will call her to the stand.
“She knows she has the truth on her side,” one source told CNN.
Cosby’s attorney, Martin Singer, has repeatedly denied the accusations against his client, at one point in 2014 decrying what he called “unsubstantiated, fantastical stories,” which were becoming “increasingly ridiculous.”
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