An arrest warrant was issued for the 78 year old on Wednesday (30Dec15) after authorities decided to reopen a criminal investigation into accusations filed by Andrea Constand almost 12 years ago.

Constand filed a civil suit against The Cosby Show star in 2004, claiming he drugged and sexually assaulted her at his mansion in Pennsylvania that January (04), but the case was settled out of court in 2006.

Cosby denied the allegations and was never charged at the time of the original complaint, but more than 50 women have come forward with similar accusations of inappropriate behaviour in the past year, prompting prosecutors to take a hard look at Constand's case once again before the 12-year statute of limitations expires in January (16).

On Wednesday afternoon, Cosby was arraigned in front of a magistrate in Elkins Park, where the court official set bail at $1 million. Cosby was taken for booking just minutes later.

Meanwhile, women's rights attorney Gloria Allred, who represents 29 other alleged victims, not including Constand, is celebrating the legal development.

"Seeing him formally charged and having to face a trial is the best Christmas present they have ever received," she said during a Los Angeles press conference held at the time of the actor's arraignment.