Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents 29 women suing Bill Cosby on sexual assault allegations, called the felolny charges filed against the 78-year-old comedian Wednesday the "best Christmas present" her clients have ever received.
Cosby was charged Wednesday morning with three counts of aggravated indecent assault, a second-degree felony that could carry a sentence of five to 10 years in prison, along with a $25,000 fine. His bail was set at $1 million.
The alleged victim, a former Temple University employee, told police Cosby gave her drugs and wine and violated her sexually at his home in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, in 2004. She settled a lawsuit against Cosby in 2006 after authorities initially declined to prosecute him.
Cosby's attorneys did not comment Wednesday afternoon as they led their client into a courthouse into Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
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Allred addressed the allegations at her Los Angeles office as Cosby was arraigned. It’s the first time the comedian is facing criminal charges in connection with sexual assault allegations.
"For many of my 29 clients who allege that they are victims of Bill Cosby, seeing him criminally charged and having him face a trial is the best Christmas present that they have ever received," Allred said.
She said statues of limitations have prevented many of her clients from taking legal action.
"Unfortunately, for most of the women who allege that they are victims of Mr. Cosby, it is too late for their allegations to be the subject of a criminal prosecution or a civil case because of the arbitrary and restrictive time limits set by law," Allred said.
Women mostly from the world of modeling, acting or other entertainment fields have described being offered a drink by Cosby and waking up to find they had apparently been sexually assaulted.
"This is unprecedented. For so many women who allege that they are victims of one rich, powerful, famous man to have spoken out in the 40 years of law practice that I’ve been engaged in, I’ve never seen anything like this," Allred said.
Cosby, through his representatives, accused some of the women of trying to extract money from him or get ahead in show business.
One of Allred's clients — who alleges Cosby sexually assaulted her at the Playboy Mansion when she was 15 — is pursing a civil case against the comedian.
Cosby gave a deposition, which is protected by court order, in October. Allred filed a motion to compel a second deposition earlier this month.
The motion will heard in Feburary in Los Angeles County Superior Court.