Amid an unprecedented media throng, Bill Cosby is due in a Pennsylvania courtroom today for a hearing that could determine the fate of the decade-in-the-making sexual assault case against him, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Through his lawyers, the 78-year-old comedian has asked Judge Steven O’Neill to throw out the charges, arguing he received a legally binding promise 10 years ago that he would never be prosecuted for an alleged 2004 assault on former Temple University basketball manager Andrea Constand. Prosecutors say no such deal existed.
Court officials have issued 91 credentials to dozens of news outlets, established an overflow courtroom for reporters to watch the proceedings on video and distributed parking passes for nearly two dozen satellite trucks and broadcast crews. For weeks, Cosby lawyers Brian. McMonagle and Monique Pressley have traded barbs with Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele in a volley of court filings. Steele has accused Cosby of seeking “special treatment from the courts,” citing among other things the defendant’s attempt to disqualify the district attorney’s office from the case. Cosby’s defense team, in turn, says by ignoring a pledge from by their predecessors, current prosecutors are playing “gotcha” with their client’s civil rights.