The Cosby Show star, 78, appeared in Montgomery County Courthouse, Pennsylvania on Tuesday (24May16) for a preliminary hearing on felony charges of aggravated indecent assault, amid allegations he drugged and sexually assaulted former Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his home in the state in 2004.

Judge Elizabeth MCHugh ruled there was sufficient evidence to proceed to trial, and set his arraignment for 20 July (16).

Cosby has long maintained his innocence, but in a previously-sealed deposition obtained by People magazine, the actor revealed he had a "romantic interest" in Constand, but didn't immediately act on it because he didn't know her."

According to the publication, Cosby wanted to get to know Constand and "perhaps to have some moments with her that would have to do with some sort of friendship". Cosby claimed he began inviting Constand to his home to talk to her about "personal situations dealing with her life, growth, education, access and thoughts to how to acquire a more aggressive attitude, protecting oneself in business".

In a January, 2005 statement, Constand claimed Cosby invited her to his home and instructed her to wear comfortable clothes.

The alleged victim alleged she was given two pills to "take the edge off" and was later sexually assaulted by the actor. At the time, officials declined to prosecute, citing "insufficient credible and admissible evidence", but the case was reopened last year (15) after a recently-unsealed deposition Cosby had previously given as part of Constand's civil suit a decade ago, in which he admitted to obtaining sedatives to give to women he wanted to sleep with, was made public.

The evidence, revealed almost 10 years after the civil dispute was settled, prompted prosecutors to file the criminal counts Cosby now faces. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.