Act one in the criminal drama against comic giant Bill Cosby as he faces criminal charges for the first time took place in a demure venue.
The 78-year-old faced arraignment at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in front of Magisterial District Judge Elizabeth McHugh inside a brick barn-like building along a normally quiet residential street in the Philadelphia suburb of Elkins Park, Montgomery County.
Dozens of reporters converged on the modest district courthouse — tucked between small offices and a firehouse along Montgomery Avenue in Cheltenham Township — to witness what Cosby said and did as he faced aggravated indecent assault charges that came amid a torrent of allegations that destroyed his good-guy image as America's Dad.
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As Cosby walked into court, flanked by attorneys Brian McMonagle and Monique Pressley, he stumbled, but was steadied by the lawyers. He did not respond to a barrage of questions from journalists outside court.
In all, Cosby's arraignment lasted only about 20 minutes. The judge set his bail at $1 million, and he immediately posted 10 percent to walk free. After court, Cosby's large black SUV was escorted by Cheltenham Police to the police department's headquarters, minutes away on Old York Road.
Cosby was processed there in about 15 minutes and later returned back home to his sprawling estate in Elkins Park.
Cosby's alleged victim, a former employee at Temple University — where Cosby was a trustee and proud alumnus — said she considered Cosby a mentor and friend. She told police he drugged and violated her at his home — the same home to which he returned after his arraignment on Wednesday — in 2004.
Cosby's preliminary hearing is set to take place at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 14 in Montgomery County.