A Pennsylvania District Attorney is expected to announce Wednesday morning that Bill Cosby will be criminally charged in connection with the 2004 alleged drugging and rape of basketball player Andrea Constand. Cosby has over 55 women accusing him of rape or sexual assault, but many of those allegations have fallen outside the statute of limitations. An arrest warrant was reportedly issued for Cosby today as well.
The news was first broken by Harry Hairston of NBC, citing unnamed sources:
And was quickly confirmed to be a 2004 case involving the alleged drugging and rape of Andrea Constand, the former basketball player who sued Cosby back in 2005.
People reports that an arrest warrant has been issued for Cosby.
Cosby is also facing several civil suits related to sexual assault: model Chloe Goins sued him for allegedly assaulting her while she was unconscious at the Playboy Mansion in 2008, while seven other women are suing him for defamation for saying their rape claims were false. Class act that he is, Cosby is countersuing those women.
Update, 10:04 a.m.:
The Associated Press reports that the charges will be filed in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Cosby’s lawyers declined to comment before a scheduled 10 a.m. announcement.
Update, 10:15 a.m.:
The Montgomery County District Attorney’s office confirmed Cosby has been charged with aggravated indecent assault, a first-degree felony.
“These charges stem from a sexual assault that took place on an evening in 2004 at Mr. Cosby’s home,” said first assistant District Attorney Kevin Steele, adding that the victim worked with Cosby in a basketball program and came to regard him as “her mentor and friend” before he “urged her to take pills that he provided to her and drink wine” at his home.
Steele said “new information came to light” in the assault in July of 2015, and that the statute of limitations in such cases is 12 years. The case was reopened in July, he added.
Steele said Cosby’s attorney has been notified of the charges and he is expected to be arraigned later this afternoon. He also said the victim, who he didn’t refer to by name, has “indicated she is willing to cooperate” with prosecutors.
A first-degree felony in Pennsylvania is punishable by a prison sentence of not more than 20 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.
Here’s the criminal case docket against Cosby:
This is a breaking news post and will be updated.
Cosby on November 21, 2014. Photo via AP Images