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Attorneys for Cosby seek dismissal of Pennsylvania case

The actor was charged last year with sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004.

FILE: Bill Cosby. Picture: AFP.

SAN FRANCISCO - Attorneys for Bill Cosby asked a Pennsylvania judge on Wednesday to throw out sexual assault charges filed against the comedian, saying he had not been given an opportunity to confront his accuser during pretrial proceedings.

The petition filed in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania seeks dismissal of all charges or at least a new preliminary hearing during which Cosby's lawyers could cross-examine his accuser.

The charges stem from allegations leveled by Andrea Constand, who settled a civil case against Cosby for an undisclosed sum in 2006.

Cosby, 78, was charged last year with sexually assaulting Constand in January 2004 after plying her with drugs and alcohol.

"The Commonwealth's reliance solely upon hearsay evidence to establish the elements of the charged offence, without providing Mr Cosby an opportunity to confront and cross-examine his accuser, violated Mr. Cosby's confrontation and due process rights," his legal team said in a statement.

The Montgomery County District Attorney's Office could not be reached for comment on Wednesday evening.

Cosby, who personified the model American family man in his television hit The Cosby Show, asked earlier this year for the charges to be dismissed, arguing that prosecutors had violated terms under which he gave a deposition in the civil lawsuit.

Judge Elizabeth McHugh rejected that request in May and ordered Cosby to stand trial.

Filed days before the statute of limitations was to expire, these are the only criminal charges Cosby faces after more than 50 women accused him of sexual assault.

Prosecutors have said that Constand, a former basketball coach at Temple University, Cosby's alma mater, was a guest at Cosby's home in Cheltenham near Philadelphia when he gave her wine and urged her to take three pills.

They have said that Constand became incapacitated and that Cosby sexually assaulted her.

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