Comedian and iconic TV star Bill Cosby is being charged with aggravated sexual assault, according to Kevin Steele, assistant district attorney for Montgomery County, Pa. That is a second degree felony. (The DA's office initially announced it as a first degree felony, but later corrected that.)
Steele held a press conference Wednesday morning (Dec. 30) to announce the charge.
He said there was new evidence that was strong and sufficient to proceed at this point in the case involving an alleged 2004 assault on a member of the athletic department at Temple University.
That new evidence stemmed from a Cosby deposition in a civil suit unsealed by a district court judge July 6 after the Associated Press petitioned it to do so.
Cosby has been under intense scrutiny following numerous accusations of sexual assault. He is expected to arraigned later Wednesday.
While the allegations did not initially lead to a prosecution in the case, according to the Montgomery County DA's office, new evidence that came to light in July of this year and, given that the statute of limitations for the alleged crime is 12 years, the case was reopened.
Steele said the assault took place in Cosby's home and that Cosby's attorneys have been notified of the charges.
Cosby's lawyers had not responded to a request for comment at press time, but CNN said they had sent it the following statement after Cosby's arraignment.
"The charge by the Montgomery County District Attorney's office came as no surprise, filed 12 years after the alleged incident and coming on the heels of a hotly contested election for this county's DA during which this case was made the focal point. Make no mistake, we intend to mount a vigorous defense against this unjustified charge and we expect that Mr. Cosby will be exonerated by a court of law."