BILL Cosby has arrived at court for his sexual assault trial arm-in-arm with Keshia Knight Pulliam, who played Rudy on The Cosby Show.
Cosby was photographed entering the courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, carrying a cane and wearing a suit and in the company of Keshia Knight Pulliam, who played his fictional daughter, Rudy Huxtable, in the Cosby Show. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison.
Cosby’s image as a father and family man, on screen and off, helped fuel his extraordinary 50-year career in entertainment.
He created TV characters, most notably Dr Cliff Huxtable, with crossover appeal among blacks and whites, young and old, rich and poor. His TV shows, films and comedy tours earned him an estimated $US535 million ($718 million).
Then a deposition unsealed in 2015 revealed an unsavoury private life marked by a long history of sexual liaisons with young women. Dozens came forward to say he had drugged and assaulted them.
The trial in Pennsylvania involves just one of those complaints, that of a former Temple University basketball staffer.
Andrea Constand, 44, of the Toronto area, will take the stand in suburban Philadelphia this week and tell her story in public for the first time.
Cosby, 79, faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.
Montgomery County Judge Steven T O’Neill hopes to keep the media frenzy from influencing the case as it did at OJ Simpson’s murder trial. The cameras that dominated Simpson’s trial aren’t allowed in Pennsylvania courtrooms, but scores of photographers will be lined up outside the courthouse. Like the Simpson case, the jury will be sequestered.
In 2005, prosecutors decided not to file criminal charges against Cosby. Constand then filed a civil suit that was settled the following year.
The criminal case was reopened in 2015 after several dozen other women made sexual assault accusations against Cosby similar to Constand’s.