Bill Cosby trial set for June 5, Philadelphia judge says

Norristown Pennsylvania. Cosby and his lawyers are asking to suppress a secretly recorded 2005 phone call Cosby had with Gianna Constand

Bill Cosby's trial for three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault has been scheduled to begin on June 5, Judge Steven O'Neill announced Tuesday.

Montgomery County prosecutor Kevin Steele said he wanted to bring up to 13 other women also allegedly assaulted by Cosby to testify at the trial.

The former star of The Cosby Show faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. The Andrea Constand case took place in 2004 in Pennsylvania, where the statute of limitations is 12 years, meaning January 2016 was the deadline for pressing charges.

Bill Cosby has arrived in court in Norristown for a hearing Tuesday on the only criminal charges that have been filed against the besmirched entertainment icon. Interest in the case surged roughly a decade later when comedian Hannibal Buress went viral with a stand-up bit about Cosby's image.

"The time has come to shine a spotlight on the trampling of Mr. Cosby's civil rights", the statement said.

Because he also admitted to using Quaaludes to sedate women he slept with, Cosby's 2005 testimony could be decisive in the case.

Cosby in the conversation described the sex act as "digital penetration" but refused to say what pills he had given her daughter.

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The hearing on Tuesday also saw the defense arguing for the exclusion from evidence of a tape-recording of a telephone conversation between the defendant and Ms Constand's mother after the alleged molestation.

Constand told police that Cosby drugged and molested her.

Cosby was arrested in December after the investigation into the allegation Constand first brought in 2005 was reopened, following disclosure of the entertainer's deposition and a stream of new allegations by women going back decades. Legal experts say Cosby's fate may ride on whether these women are allowed to testify. She has held numerous press conferences with women accusing Cosby of sexual abuse and lobbied for legislative changes in several states.

Defense lawyer Brian McMonagle said the trial shouldn't be in Norristown - about 20 miles northwest of Philadelphia - because prosecutors have tainted the jury pool by calling Cosby a "sexual predator". He reportedly avoided talking about the specific pills he'd given Constand and apologized for an encounter he characterized as "a dirty old man with a young girl".

Cosby had mentored Ms Constand at Temple University at the time. "There is a right to a speedy trial", he added, but declined to set the trial date at today's hearing.

Nor did he rule on motions to throw out two key pieces of evidence: a deposition Cosby gave in a 2005 lawsuit by Constand and a recording of a phone call between Cosby and Constand's mother.

Bill Cosby's defense team will have a new look when the actor returns to a suburban Philadelphia courtroom for a hearing in his sexual assault case.