Bill Cosby will remain free on a $1 million bail pending trial following a brief arraignment hearing Wednesday afternoon on charges stemming from a nearly 12-year-old sexual assault allegation. He did not have to enter a plea.
Earlier Wednesday, he was charged with sexually assaulting a woman at his home. It is a first-degree felony. Cosby was charged with aggravated indecent assault, punishable by five to 10 years behind bars and a $25,000 fine, the AP reported.
“Prosecutors accused him of rendering former Temple University employee Andrea Constand unable to resist by plying her with pills and wine, then penetrating her digitally without her consent, when she was unconscious or unaware of what was happening,” according to the report.
Cosby, 78, walked slowly with the aid of a cane in and out of the proceedings. He took no questions and was swiftly whisked away afterward.
The official proceedings only lasted about 10 minutes.
Wednesday’s stunning legal action comes after dozens of women lodged allegations against Cosby, beloved for his avuncular role as the wise Dr. Huxtable on the 1980s hit “The Cosby Show.” Numerous organizations including Atlanta’s Spelman College have moved to distance themselves from Cosby as the story has unfolded.
Earlier this year Spelman announced it had canceled a professorship associated with Cosby and returned the money. The Cosbys’ association with Spelman has been one of their longest, most generous, and perhaps the most prestigious.
Two Cosby daughters attended Spelman. Their parents Camille and Bill Cosby donated $20 million to the college in the late 1980’s. At the time it was the largest ever personal gift to a historically black college or university. The family’s money helped fund a new academic center housing state-of-the art classrooms, labs and a fine arts museum; as well as the endowed professorship
Cosby’s legal team launched an aggressive defense long before today’s charges were announced. He has sued a number of his accusers including supermodel Beverly Johnson, one of the dozens of women who have accused him of sexual assault. The suit claims Johnson lodged the allegations to jump-start her career.
The “false allegations against Mr. Cosby have been the centerpiece of her attempted resurgence and she has played them to the hilt, repeatedly and maliciously publishing the false accusations in articles, interviews, and television appearances,” Cosby’s lawsuit states.
These are photos taken during NBC’s live stream of the brief proceedings: