By Joseph Ax
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania judge on Wednesday rejected comedian Bill Cosby's latest bid seeking the dismissal of criminal charges that he sexually assaulted a woman at his home in 2004.
Cosby, once one of the most-beloved U.S. entertainers, who built a long career with a family-friendly style, has seen his reputation hit hard by allegations by about 60 women that he sexually assaulted them in incidents dating back decades.
Most of those cases are too old to prosecute, and Cosby's attorneys had asked the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas judge hearing his case to dismiss the charges he does face, contending that prosecutors violated his rights by waiting more than a decade to charge him. Judge Steven O'Neill rejected the request.
The trial is scheduled to begin no later than June.
Cosby, 79, has denied assaulting anyone and has said all of the encounters were consensual.
A lawyer for Cosby did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
The Pennsylvania case, which stems from claims by Andrea Constand, a former basketball coach at Cosby's alma mater, Temple University, is the only criminal case to result from any of the allegations.
Constand has accused Cosby of drugging her at his home and assaulting her after she grew disoriented.
A number of key issues remain pending before O'Neill, including a request from prosecutors to use Cosby's own words from a deposition in Constand's civil lawsuit against him.
Prosecutors have also asked for permission to call as witnesses more than a dozen other Cosby accusers who have described similar attacks.
O'Neill denied a request on Wednesday from Cosby's lawyers to hold a hearing on those women's competency.
The two sides are scheduled to return to court on Dec. 13 for a two-day hearing.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Scott Malone and Peter Cooney)