The Cosby Show veteran is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his home in Pennsylvania in 2004.

He was not charged at the time of the incident and maintains his innocence, but he faced questioning in 2005 and 2006 as part of Constand's civil suit, which was subsequently settled out of court.

The case was reopened last year (15) after the actor's sealed deposition was made public, revealing Cosby had confessed to buying sedatives to give to women he wanted to sleep with and had had extramarital affairs.

He was arrested and charged in December (15), and during a pre-trial hearing last month (Sep16), Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill ordered the case to go to trial no later than 5 June (17).

Last week (ends07Oct16), Cosby's lawyers filed a motion to dismiss the case or have Constand testify at a new preliminary hearing, arguing a Montgomery County district attorney pledged not to prosecute Cosby in 2005. The motion was denied on Wednesday (12Oct16).

Cosby's legal team have yet to comment on the ruling, but a spokeswoman for Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele commented they are "obviously pleased" with the ruling.

More than 50 women have come forward with decades-old accusations of inappropriate behaviour, drugging and/or rape against Cosby since late 2014. The statute of limitations has expired in almost all of the cases, preventing the alleged victims from pursuing criminal charges.

The embattled comedian has denied all allegations, and his legal team has tried and failed on numerous occasions to have his current assault charges dismissed.