Bill Cosby briefly appeared in court Wednesday to be arraigned for allegedly assaulting a woman who told police she was drugged and violated by the man she once considered a mentor and friend.
This marks the first time criminal charges have been brought against 78-year-old comedian.
Cosby arrived to be arraigned in front of a magistrate in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania around 2:35 p.m., flanked by his attorneys as he walked into the court with the assistance of a cane.
He was finished and out again within 10 minutes, after pleading not guilty to second-degree aggravated indecent assault.
He previously said in a deposition that he and the alleged victim had a consensual sexual encounter.
If convicted, Cosby could get five to 10 years in prison, and up to a $25,000 fine.
Bail was set at $1 million. He traveled to the police station to be booked after the arraignment and left in an SUV by 3:05 p.m.
The alleged sexual assault took place in 2004, when Cosby allegedly urged the woman who had previously rejected his advances to drink wine and take pills that rendered her defenseless.
The charge reverses a 2005 decision made by the previous District Attorney to not charge Cosby.
"Reopening this case was not a question, rather it was our duty," Kevin Steele, Montgomery County's incoming District Attorney said at a press conference earlier in the day.
The 12-year statute of limitations to file felony charges in connection to those allegations expires in January, officials said.
Attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing 29 women who allege Bill Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them, held a press conference after Cosby's arraignment, calling the charge "the best Christmas present" her clients have ever received.
"I've never seen anything like this," she said of the charge, but lamented that for many alleged victims, justice would never be an option.
"Unfortunately, for most of the women who allege that they are victims of Mr. Cosby, it is too late for their allegations to be the subject of a criminal prosecution or a civil case because of the arbitrary and restrictive time limits set by law," Allred said.