Comedian Bill Cosby to stand trial in US sex assault case

It is alleged he drugged and sexually assaulted a woman

Bill Cosby, trial, alleged sexual assault, Andrea Constand, Pennsylvania

Bill Cosby (centre) arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse for a preliminary hearing | Image: Matt Slocum / AP/Press Association Images

A judge in the US has ordered Bill Cosby to stand trial in a 2004 sex assault allegation, the first criminal case against him out of dozens of similar claims.

The comic was in the Pennsylvania courtroom on Tuesday as a police report was read out alleging that he drugged and sexually assaulted a woman who worked at his alma mater.

Andrea Constand told authorities that Cosby gave her three pills that left her dizzy, nauseated and blurry-eyed at his suburban Philadelphia mansion.

The 78-year-old entertainer waved to people outside as he arrived for the hearing near Philadelphia, but Ms Constand (43) who now lives in Canada, did not attend.

In the police report, she said Cosby had told her the pills were herbal medication.

He also urged her to have some wine even though she said she did not want to drink, Ms Constand told police.

She said her legs felt "rubbery" and "like jelly".

"Everything was blurry and dizzy. I felt nauseous," she said, according to the 2005 police report. Ms Constand said Cosby assaulted her as she drifted in and out of consciousness.

Other claims of sexual abuse

She told detectives she awoke with her bra out of place and did not remember undoing it.

Cosby's lawyers have questioned why Ms Constand continued to see him after the alleged assault, even returning to his home near Philadelphia.

More than 50 women have alleged sexual abuse by the former megastar, but the Constand case is the only one to have gone to trial.

Most of the other claims cannot be prosecuted because they have expired under statutes of limitation and Cosby's lawyers maintain the actor is innocent.

He has previously said he and Ms Constand engaged in consensual sexual activities, and that he was a friend and mentor to her.

Ms Constand, who was working for a basketball team at a Philadelphia university Cosby attended, said she had approached him for career advice.

Cosby settled her lawsuit for an undisclosed sum in 2006, after giving four days of testimony about his extramarital affairs and how he had used quaaludes, a sedative, on women.