(CNN) — A court in Pennsylvania rejected Bill Cosby’s appeal and lifted a hold on criminal trial proceedings, paving the way for the sexual assault case to move forward.

The comedian’s attorneys argued in February that a previous deal with a former district attorney barred Cosby from criminal prosecution. A judge ruled prosecutors could go forward, and Cosby’s lawyers appealed that ruling.

A stay, or hold, was put on the proceedings pending the ruling on the motion to reject the appeal, which was lifted Monday.

In a statement released after the judge’s ruling Monday, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said that the case can move on to a preliminary hearing and that his office is looking forward to presenting it.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 24.

Cosby’s attorneys had no comment on the ruling.

Cosby faces felony charges in the 2004 alleged sexual assault of former Temple University employee Andrea Constand.

The district attorney says evidence from recently unsealed portions of a civil deposition from 2005-2006 involving Constand warrant charges. The civil case was settled on undisclosed terms.