Comedian Bill Cosby now faces a criminal charge in connection with the chorus of accusations – none yet proven – that he sexually abused and assaulted women for years.
His attorneys expect him to be exonerated of the aggravated indecent assault charge filed in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015.
Brian Fishman, a former assistant district attorney in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and now a criminal defense lawyer, said that authorities likely charged Crosby based on what Constand remembered before she lost consciousness.
"Everything is going to be under the microscope," he said.
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Prosecutors accuse Cosby of rendering former Temple University employee Andrea Constand "frozen, paralyzed, unable to move" by plying her with pills and wine, then penetrating her with his fingers when she was unconscious or unaware of what was happening. The alleged attack occurred at Cosby's home in the Philadelphia suburb of Cheltenham in early 2004.
NBC Owned Television Stations generally do not identify victims of alleged sexual assaults unless they agree to have their names published, as Constand has done.
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Earlier this year, The Associated Press persuaded a judge to unseal documents from the lawsuit Constand filed against Cosby and settled in 2006 on confidential terms. They showed the long-married Cosby acknowledging a string of affairs and sexual encounters.
Cosby testified that he obtained Quaaludes in the 1970s to give to women. He denied giving women drugs without their knowledge and said he had used the now-banned sedative "the same as a person would say, 'Have a drink.'"
On the night of the alleged attack, Constand said she was told to dress comfortably and Cosby wore a sweatsuit, according to a criminal complaint obtained by NBC10 in Philadelphia (read it below). He allegedly told her to "put 'em down, put them in your mouth," after handing Constand three blue pills he claimed were herbal.
Constand felt "dizzy" and asked to lie down, the criminal complaint says. Once on the sofa, Cosby fondled Constand while going "in and out" and put her hand on his erect penis.
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Constand came to around 4 a.m. with her bra undone and got herself together, the complaint alleges. Before leaving, Cosby, standing in a bathrobe, handed Constand a muffin and said "all right" before showing her the door.
In the deposition, Cosby said he fondled Constand that night, taking her silence as a green light. Constand maintains she was semi-conscious after he gave her pills he said would relax her.
"I don't hear her say anything. And I don't feel her say anything. And so I continue and I go into the area that is somewhere between permission and rejection. I am not stopped," Cosby testified.
He said Constand was not upset when she left that night. She went to police a year later and now, 42, lives in Toronto and works as a massage therapist.
Her lawyer has said Constand is gay and was dating a woman around the time she met Cosby in the early 2000s.
Also as part of a condition of his bail, Cosby is forbidden from contacting Constand.
Cosby's attorneys released a statement Wednesday afternoon promising a "vigorous defense."
The charge came down just days before the 12-year statute of limitations for bringing charges was set to run out. The case represents an about-face by the district attorney's office, which under a previous DA declined to charge Cosby in 2005, when Constand first told police that the comic violated her by putting his hands down her pants.
Cosby's lawyers mentioned that the charge was filed "on the heels of a hotly contested election."
Prosecutors reopened the case over the summer as damaging testimony was unsealed in Constand's related civil lawsuit against Cosby and as dozens of other women came forward with similar accusations that tarnished his image as the wise and understanding Dr. Cliff Huxtable from TV's "The Cosby Show."
At that point, "reopening this case was not a question. Rather, reopening this case was our duty as law enforcement officers," Steele said, urging any other alleged victims to come forward.
Fishman, the prosecutor who's practiced in Pennsylvania, said Steele and his team wouldn't have filed hte charge without a good case.
"After all these years and all this pressure, if you're going to finally file charges against Bill Cosby you want to feel pretty confident that ... you can get a conviction," he said.
Cosby and his representatives have previously repeatedly denied all allegations. Prior to this, he had never been charged with any crime regarding the allegations.