Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial will begin on 5 June 2017, Pennsylvania judge Steven O'Neill said on Tuesday (6 September). The Montgomery County judge also said that Cosby, who is accused of sexually assaulting a woman at his home in Philadelphia in 2004, will be "accommodate as needed", and refused to waver on a demand that Cosby appear in all court proceedings.

Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee, had alleged that the 79-year-old comedian had drugged and molested her after inviting her to his home in 2004. Around 50 women have accused the entertainer of sexual assault, but Constands' case is the only one that will be tried.

The prosecution wants 13 of the women to testify in the case to verify if there was a "pattern of behaviour" that is consistent with Constand's allegations.

Montgomery County prosecutors and defence argued whether important pieces of evidence would be admissible during the trial, like a telephone call between Cosby and Constand's mother, wherein the 79-year-old is reportedly apologising, and a deposition Cosby gave in 2005 where he admitted to having Quaaludes in his possession for "the purpose of obtaining sex from women".

Meanwhile, a lawyer for Cosby said: "The time has come to shine a spotlight on the trampling of Mr Cosby's civil rights." Cosby's lawyers also told the court that the aged entertainer was now blind.

He will be tried for three second degree felony charges of aggravated indecent assault. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

Bill Cosby
Bill Cosby departs the Montgomery County Courthouse after a pre-trial hearing on sexual assault charges levelled against him in Norristown, Pennsylvania - File image Mark Makela/ Reuters