We've seen the season finales of nighttime soaps, Scandal and Empire. And we will speculate all summer long about the cliffhangers. But the best soap opera drama may unfold in real life and in real time.
Today, after many hearings, Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas Judge Elizabeth A. McHugh ruled that she would allow the ten-year-old sexual assault charges against Bill Cosby, 78, to move forward in a trial this summer. His next court appearance is scheduled for July, 20, but no trial date has been set at this time.
Cosby is facing three counts of felony indecent assault from a 2004 case involving Andrea Constand, an employee at Temple University, Cosby's alma mater. She is one more than 50 women who have accused the comedian of sexual misconduct, and is the first and only case to go to trial. If he is found guilty he could serve ten years in prison.
While Cosby has declared his innocence on charges of sexual assault, he and his legal team are seeking to have some pretty damning depositions stricken from the record. On Monday the Associated Press published excerpts some of those depositions he gave in 2005-2006. In those depositions Cosby admits to giving drugs to women, some of them who were under-aged, to have sex.
This case will be another look inside the lives of the rich, black and famous — like on Empire. The case will have everything that salacious soap watchers love, and it is real. There's an iconic father figure, the long-suffering wife and of course the one thing that a regular Bill doesn't have, the best legal team his fat wallet can afford. A regular Bill might already be serving time.
In a good soap opera trial there is always a smoking gun. But thanks to a series of depositions from Cosby himself, the gun really isn't smoking. He has already given depositions that state he did use Quaaludes on women to have sex. His lawyers say that the use of his statements are a travesty.
In a good soap opera trial there is always a smoking gun. But thanks to a series of depositions from Cosby himself, the gun really isn't smoking.
"The evidence presented today was evidence of nothing," attorney Brian McMonagle said. "They had 12 years to bring an accuser to confront Mr. Cosby. They chose not to."
According to McMonagle, "there was no evidence of a crime here. And the inconsistencies that plagued this investigation from the beginning continue to plague it now. This case should end immediately."
And while the prosecutors are going to have their day in court, even they admit that this case is no slam-dunk. Attorney Kevin Steele said the prosecution only had to "prove that a crime was committed and the defendant's connected to the crime." But he added that "it's a preliminary hearing — hearsay is admissible, and we're just over the next hurdle."
The black community is still at odds over Cosby. Social media is still buzzing. Did he do it? Did Constand and the other 50 women set him up for money or to tarnish his legacy? Until the trial starts, Cosby will continue to be tried in the court of public opinion, but so will his accusers.
Nobody knows how this case will go down in the end, but one thing is assured, it is going to be a long hot soap opera summer. And we will be watching.