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Plea Deal Now Unlikely, Bill Cosby Returns To Court Joking For 2004 Rape Hearing

Deadline logo Deadline 12/14/2016 Dominic Patten
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Bill Cosby was back in court in suburban Philadelphia Wednesday for a second day of pre-trial hearings on the 2004 rape case scheduled to go to trial next June. Even though the actor could face up to 10-years behind bars and big fines if found guilty of the three felony charges of second-degree aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand, the 79-year Cosby was in an upbeat mood when he arrived at the Norristown, PA courthouse – even as a source says a possible plea deal is now “on the backburner.”

Getting out of his SUV at around 8:34 AM local time, the apparently nearly blind Cosby was laughing with his entourage and asking if they “like my socks?” With some of the same rare vigor he exhibited at Tuesday's hearing, Cosby then was heard to ask, “Did you remember my peanut butter and jelly?” – which got even bigger laughs from his crew before they entered the courtroom.

It might not be such fun and games for the rest of the day as prosecutors and Cosby’s defense team present arguments before Judge Steven O’Neill about why 13 other accusers of the actor should or should not be allowed to testify in the case. The over a dozen potential witnesses come from the more than 60 women who have claimed in recent years that Cosby sexually assault or drugged them over the last four decades. © Provided by Deadline

While there have been “early conversations” on a possible plea deal, according to the source close to the matter, if the fiasco of  the screaming matches that overwhelmed yesterday’s hearing are any indication of the backroom moves, any such agreement is now barely simmering – if even still alive.

While numerous civil cases are in various degrees of progress around the country, the Pennsylvania case is the only criminal one against the actor with charges laid by newly elected Montgomery County D.A. Kevin Steel late last year just before the state’s 12-year statute of limitations in such sex crimes expired. Cosby was arraigned December 30 and released on $1 million bail without entering a plea.

Since then, Cosby has tried various tactics and courts to get the case dismissed – all unsuccessful.

After hours of bickering between both sides over evidence and the positioning of a defense PowerPoint presentation, D.A. Steele on Tuesday delivered about an hour of his argument on allowing the 13 witnesses. Believing their testimony would show a “common scheme” of using drugs to sexually assault women as he did with former Temple University employee Constand back in 2004, Steele referred to the method as Cosby’s “signature” in his remarks.

Anna Orso contributed to this report

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