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It’s plea deal or trial time for Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby's Mugshot (Photo credit: Montgomery County Office of the District Attorney)

Bill Cosby’s Mugshot (Photo credit: Montgomery County Office of the District Attorney)

Embattled comedian Bill Cosby was back in a Philadelphia court this week over sexual assault charges. Cosby underwent two days of hearings to determine whether he will stand criminal trial over allegations made by alleged victim Andrea Constand in 2004. At issue was the decision by then District Attorney Bruce Castor to not prosecute Cosby because he felt the case was week. However, the reported agreement was never put in writing and there is no record of any decision by Castor. Cosby was claiming immunity from prosecution for the handshake deal between his lawyers in 2005. Based on this belief, he gave a damning deposition in a civil case that resulted in a payout by other alleged victims and Constand.

The release of the deposition allowed current Montgomery County DA Kevin Steele to bring charges against Cosby. The charges were filed in 2015, barley shy of the statute of limitations for prosecution. Montgomery County Court Judge Steven O’Neill made his ruling on Wednesday and stated, “I hereby find no basis to grant the relief requested,” refusing to throw out the case against Cosby. The next hearing date will be March 8, 2016, at which time evidence must be presented to allow the case to go forward.

As the case against Cosby moves forward, he will either risk going to trial or will have to take a plea deal. Cosby is facing up to 10 years in prison if convicted.