Bill Cosby departs the Montgomery County Courthouse after a preliminary hearing Tuesday in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, Pool)

Bill Cosby departs the Montgomery County Courthouse after a preliminary hearing Tuesday in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, Pool)

Scoop: Cosby pretrial hearing reveals graphic details

At last: Bill Cosby will stand trial on charges of sexual assault.

On Tuesday, Judge Elizabeth McHugh in Montgomery County, Pa. ruled there is enough evidence that the comedian abused a woman just over a decade ago to bring a criminal case against him to trial; a date will be set at another hearing in July.

Once a symbol of wholesome packaged food and family values, Cosby, now a hobbled 78-year-old, sat through hours of graphic testimony about drugs and sexual encounters.

It marked a dramatic turn for the former icon, a major step in the only criminal case to spring from dozens of accusations that have upended his legacy.

If convicted on the three sex crime counts, Cosby could face 10 years in prison.

Still, Tuesday’s pretrial hearing illustrated the difficulty prosecutors could have in convicting him.

Cosby’s lawyer Brian McMonagle attempted to undermine the credibility of the victim, Andrea Constand, who was 31 at the time of the alleged abuse, and underscore the lack of physical evidence.

Constand did not appear. Prosecutors relied on testimony from Katharine Hart, one of two detectives present for Constand’s original statement to police in January 2005, months after the incident at Cosby’s home in suburban Philadelphia, and Cheltenham Police Chief John Norris, who interviewed Cosby in New York City.

Recitation of the details, with Cosby taking them in from a defendant’s chair, marked a rare, humiliating moment for the actor.

“These pills will make you feel good. The blue things will take the edge off,” Cosby told Constand on the evening of the January 2004 incident, handing her three pills and demanding she “down them,” according to testimony.

Hart read Constand’s statement in which she told authorities she became disoriented after Cosby gave her pills and wine. According to the statement, Constand said that Cosby helped her to a couch, where she went “in and out” of consciousness. She accused Cosby of touching her breasts and putting his fingers inside her vagina.

“Were you able to say no?” the detectives asked Constand, according to Hart’s testimony. “I was unable to speak,” replied Constand. “I was, like, paralyzed.” The detectives asked Constand if she had consented to the sexual acts, and she told them that she did not.

Norris testified that Cosby readily acknowledged that there was “petting and the touching of private parts.”


SMALL BIZ AWARD WINNERS

Phillip Bellber and Lyon Pack of Cha Cha Cha and Navarro Martial Arts Academy founder Carlos Navarro are being honored with University of San Francisco’s Gellert Family Business Award (funded by the Carl Gellert and Celia Berta Gellert Foundation), which recognizes extraordinary achievement and community engagement.

Established in 1984, Cha Cha Cha, the popular tapas restaurant serving a menu reflecting Puerto Rican roots and Cuban influences, is known for giving back to the community through food donations to varied San Francisco programs. Navarro Martial Arts Academy and Gym, which opened in 1965, has long been a driving force in the Mission, providing neighborhood kids a safe place to gain physical fitness, mental discipline and spiritual strength.

QUICK TAKES

Iron Man Robert Downey Jr. joined Captain America Chris Evans visited 18-year-old Ryan Wilcox, who has leukemia, at his home in Southern California on Monday. … Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says he wants comedian Larry David to continue impersonating him on “Saturday Night Live.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Gymnast Aly Raisman is 22. … Actor Cillian Murphy is 40. Singer Lauryn Hill is 41. … Actress Octavia Spencer is 46. … Actress Anne Heche is 47. … Actor-comedian Mike Myers is 53. … Singer-guitarist Paul Weller of The Jam is 58. … Playwright Eve Ensler is 63. … Novelist Jamaica Kincaid is 66. … Director-Muppeteer Frank Oz is 72. … Actress-singer Leslie Uggams is 73. … Actor Ian McKellen is 77. … Singer Tom T. Hall is 80.

— Staff, wire reports

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