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Crime

Bill Cosby Files Another Appeal that Would Delay Sexual Assault Case Against Him

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Todd Korol/Toronto Star/Getty; Gilbert Carrasquillo/WireImage

Entertainer Bill Cosby is once again trying to get a court to compel accuser Andrea Constand to testify in person at a preliminary hearing prior to his sexual assault trial.

On Wednesday, his attorneys filed a notice of appeal to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.

“The violation of Mr. Cosby’s [d]ue [p]rocess right to confrontation at a preliminary hearing is an issue that is far too important to be denied review,” his attorneys wrote. “The issue in this case is one of paramount importance to the future of Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system.”

On May 24, Cosby, now 79, was held for trial on three counts of aggravated indecent assault for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting Constand, now 43, at his Elkins Park, Pennsylvania mansion in January 2004.

Constand did not testify at the preliminary hearing. Instead, a detective read a statement she gave to Montgomery County authorities in January 2005. Cosby’s attorneys have been challenging the outcome ever since but have lost every battle so far.

On July 7, Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill ruled against Cosby after a three-hour hearing on the matter and said the criminal case would move forward even if Cosby appealed his ruling.

Cosby’s attorneys were challenging part of Rule 542 of the Pennsylvania Codes of Criminal Procedure, which states hearsay evidence alone is enough to establish a prima facie case against an offender.

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They based their argument in part on the case of Dave Ricker in West Hanover Township, Pennsylvania, who is charged with attempted murder and other offenses for allegedly shooting a state trooper in June 2012. Neither of the troopers who were present testified at his preliminary hearing; instead the prosecutor played an audio tape of the trooper who’d been wounded. Ricker argued his constitutional right to confront witnesses was violated.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court rejected this argument but the state Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal on the matter. That will likely be in September, Ricker’s attorney, William Costopoulos, told PEOPLE earlier this month. Ricker has not yet entered a plea in the matter.

Cosby is next due in court on Sept. 6 for a pre-trial conference. He maintains the sexual contact he had with Constand was consensual and has denied similar allegations from more than 50 women.

Constand, who revealed in court papers last summer she is gay and says she was in a relationship with a woman at the time the alleged drugging incident occurred, says the contact between them was not consensual.