Bill Cosby will remain free on $1m bail after appearing in court charged with sexually assaulting a woman in Pennsylvania over a decade ago.
It is the first time criminal charges have been brought against the US entertainer after more than 50 women came forward to claim he assaulted them.
The announcement sets the stage for a Hollywood celebrity trial which could potentially result in prison for the 78-year-old in the twilight of his life.
Cosby is accused of aggravated indecent assault and has now been arraigned (formally charged).
He made a brief appearance before a judge in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, but entered no plea during the hearing. He will remain free on £674,000 bail pending trial.
The Philadelphia-born comic, best known for playing a lovable family doctor in 1980s sitcom The Cosby Show, has previously denied all the allegations against him.
In bringing the case, Montgomery County district attorney Risa Vetri Ferman overruled her predecessor, who declined to charge Cosby in 2005 when Andrea Constand first told police he assaulted her at his mansion outside Philadelphia.
Prosecutors say the TV star urged the former Temple University employee to take pills and drink wine in 2004.
Ms Constand, now 42, was “frozen, paralysed, unable to move,” Montgomery County District Attorney-elect Kevin Steele said.
Cosby acknowledged under oath a decade ago that he had sexual contact with Ms Constand, but said it was consensual.