Preliminary hearing in Bill Cosby case to begin Tuesday

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Comedian Bill Cosby appears on CNN's State of the Union with Candy Crowley on April 15, 2012.

The first criminal case against Bill Cosby is set to begin.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Tuesday morning in the case against the comedian, who faces felony indecent assault charges from a 2004 case involving Andrea Constand, an employee at his alma mater, Temple University.

What’s expected to happen today?

The hearing is set to start at 9:30 a.m. ET.

It’s not clear whether Constand will attend the hearing but per Pennsylvania law, Cosby is required to be there.

At the preliminary hearing, it’s up to the prosecution to prove there is a preponderance of evidence that Cosby did indeed commit the crime.

The case

Constand, a former basketball coach at Temple, said during a 2004 visit to the comedian’s Philadelphia home, she was given pills and wine that left her hardly able to remain conscious — let alone consent to sex.

She was the first person to publicly allege sexual assault by Cosby.

After going to police, authorities declined to charge Cosby.

Bruce Castor, the Montgomery County district attorney at the time of the alleged incident, did not file sexual assault charges against Cosby, citing “insufficient credible and admissible evidence.”

Why now?

The parties reached a civil settlement in 2006, but the case was reopened as new evidence came to light, including the number of other accusers coming forward and some of his remarks during a 2005 deposition that were recently unsealed.

The newly elected prosecutor in Montgomery County, Kevin Steele, turned the Cosby case into an election issue. He promptly reopened it after taking office.

Cosby was charged with three felonies and arraigned in December, then released on $1 million bond.

If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison.

Cosby denies the allegations, and his lawyers contend that the new charges should be dismissed because, among other things, Castor announced in 2005 that Cosby wouldn’t be prosecuted.

Cosby sued Constand in February, claiming she violated terms of the 2006 settlement.

On Monday, a judge denied Cosby’s requested to stay court proceedings in the case.

Other accusers

Cosby has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 50 women.

On Friday, a federal judge unsealed Camille Cosby’s February deposition in a Massachusetts lawsuit filed against her husband.

At one point, she told a lawyer she had “no opinion” on whether Cosby’s admission to the alleged procurement of Quaaludes for women he wanted to have sex with violated their marriage vows.

Cosby has denied he sexually assaulted any women.