The sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby span three generations, four decades, and thousands of miles. When Lyndon B. Johnson was in the White House, Cosby allegedly spiked a 22-year-old woman’s bourbon and tried to force her to perform oral sex on him; the year Barack Obama was first sworn in as president, Cosby allegedly drugged and assaulted a teenager who regained consciousness in a room at the Playboy Mansion to find Cosby’s mouth around her toes. In the 43 years in between, nearly 60 women claim, Cosby repeated the pattern over and over and over again, leaving legions of traumatized — and, until recently, largely ignored — victims in his wake.
Reading the litany of Cosby accusations can almost start to feel like playing some stomach-churning game of Clue, where instead of choosing a suspect, murder weapon, and room, you fill in the blanks with a vulnerable woman (aspiring model, auditioning actress, young writer), a substance (two white pills, a spiked Coca-Cola, wine she tried to decline) and a secluded location (hotel suite, dressing room, one of Cosby’s homes). As stunning as the sexual assault allegations were when they first surfaced in 2005, even more striking is how quickly they faded from mainstream view — how eager the public was, it seems, to get on with things, to go back to loving Cliff Huxtable.
Andrea Constand, the former Temple University administrator who filed a civil suit against Cosby in 2005, settled her case at the end of 2006. But weeks before that case even settled, Cosby was inducted into the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame, where he was honored as “a true humanitarian and role model.” (Constand is currently fighting the only criminal case against Cosby. If convicted, Cosby faces up to 10 years in prison.) Less than three years later, Cosby was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
From the end of 2009 to mid-October 2014 —comedian Hannibal Buress’ stand-up set seen ‘round the internet was posted online on October 17 — only two major publications covered the assault allegations. In February 2014, Gawker asked, “Who Wants to Remember Bill Cosby’s Multiple Sex-Assault Accusations?” Three days later, Newsweek ran an interview with accuser Tamara Green. And then, until October, nothing — nothing, that is, except Netflix announcing plans to release the stand-up comedy film Bill Cosby 77 and the publication of Mark Whitaker’s Cosby: His Life and Times, which, in its almost 500 pages, failed to address the allegations at all.
What follows is a comprehensive timeline of the allegations against and cultural conversation around Cosby, starting from 2000, with the first woman to file a police report about his sexual misconduct, through the present day. We will continue to update this story as the civil cases against Cosby move forward and the criminal case against him goes to trial.
January 28, 2000
Lachele Covington files a police report claiming Cosby, who offered her career advice over dinner at his New York townhouse, “put her hand under his t-shirt and guided it south toward his sweatpants.” The New York Post later reports that Covington, 20, says she pulled her hand away and told Cosby she was leaving, to which he replied, “Fine.”
The police do not question or charge Cosby, having determined that every act until Covington pulled her hand away was consensual.
Covington, an actress, had appeared on Cosby’s CBS show, Cosby, but only in non-speaking roles.
A March issue of the National Enquirer quotes Covington’s relatives as saying Cosby actually grabbed Covington’s breasts, was “trying to put his hand down her pants and exposing himself.” Her father says she “ran out of the house. She was traumatized and didn’t even tell her mother for two days.”
Cosby’s spokesperson, David Brakow, tells the Post, “The story is not true. It did not happen. Mr. Cosby was not contacted by the police and the first he learned about this was from the National Enquirer.”
Andrea Constand begins work at Temple University as the director of basketball operations.
That winter, according to her Montgomery County police interview from 2005, Constand meets Bill Cosby for the first time at a women’s basketball game at the Liacouras Center. He proceeds to call her for the next few months to discuss, among other things, locker room renovations. He also provides her with his home phone number (for his Cheltenham residence, outside of Philadelphia); she gives him her personal cell phone number.
The first time she eats dinner at his home, Constand later told police, “he reached over and touched my waist and my inner thigh.”
Over the next few years, he invites her to dinner at his home several times. They speak “occasionally” by phone.
June 21, 2002
President George W. Bush announces Cosby will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. In his statement, Bush commends The Cosby Show, which “revolutionized the portrayal of African Americans on television.”
September 21, 2003
At the Emmys, Cosby receives the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award.
Cosby invites Constand to dinner at his Cheltenham home, telling her they can discuss her plans to change careers. Constand alleges that, at this dinner, Cosby sexually assaulted her.
According to Constand, though she tells Cosby she does not want to drink because she hasn’t eaten, he insists she drink wine. He offers her three pills that “will make you feel good.” She asks if they are herbal; he says yes. (In his interview with the police, Cosby maintains that he gave Constand one-and-a-half Benadryl pills.)
After taking the pills and drinking some wine, Constand starts to have blurred vision. Cosby tells her to lie down on the sofa. As she later described to police:
“I got scared. I thought I was having a bad reaction to something. I had no strength in my legs. They felt rubbery and like jelly. I was a little spacy. Everything was blurry and dizzy. I felt nauseous. I remember that I couldn’t keep my eyes open… He said, ‘I’m going to help you relax.’… This was the last thing I remember.”
Constand says Cosby “positioned himself” behind her.
“I was aware that his hands were on my breasts [and] that his hands were in my pants and that his fingers were in my vagina… I also remember him taking my right hand and placing my hand on his penis [which was] erect [and] exposed… I was unable to move my body. I was pretty much frozen.”
When she comes to, Constand says, her bra is undone and her sweater is bunched. It is 4:00 in the morning. Cosby, wearing a robe, offers her a muffin and lets her out the front door.
March 31, 2004
Constand leaves her job at Temple University.
Cosby speaks at an NAACP event commemorating the 50th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education. His remarks berate black Americans for blaming racism for their problems, giving their children “names like Shaniqua, Shaligua, Mohammed and all that crap,” and dressing “with their hat on backwards, pants down around the crack.”
His infamous address will become known as the “Pound Cake Speech” and will, in 2015, be cited by Judge Eduardo Robreno, who unseals Cosby’s deposition from 2005. Speeches like this one, the judge contended, prove that Cosby purported to be a “public moralist,” which diminished his right to privacy. As Robreno would go on to write:
“The stark contrast between Bill Cosby, the public moralist and Bill Cosby, the subject of serious allegations concerning improper (and perhaps criminal) conduct, is a matter as to which the AP — and by extension the public — has a significant interest.”
January 13, 2005
Constand tells her mother about the alleged assault. This is the first time Constand talks to anyone about what happened because of, as she later told Montgomery County police, “concern about my job,” “an element of fear,” and “some emotional distress.”
That same day, Constand reports the alleged assault to the police in Durham Region, Ontario.
January 16, 2005
Constand’s mother speaks with Cosby by phone. According to Constand, Cosby “admitted to all the things that occurred” and apologizes to both Constand and her mother.
January 22, 2005
Constand is interviewed by Montgomery County police. She describes, in detail, her relationship with Cosby and her memory of the sexual assault.
January 26, 2005
Cosby is interviewed by the Cheltenham Township police department. He describes his sexual encounter with Constand as consensual.
February 10, 2005
Tamara Green, a California lawyer, appears on the Today show and accuses Cosby of sexually assaulting her in the 1970s. She says that, at a working lunch, Cosby gave her two pills he described as cold medicine. Half an hour after taking them, she said, “I was almost literally face down on the table of this restaurant.”
Green alleges Cosby took her back to her apartment.
The center of my being understood that he had gone from helping me to groping me and kissing me and touching me and handling me and you know, taking off my clothes… I actually told him that he would have to kill me, that if he didn’t kill me and he tried to rape me, it was going to go very badly. And I was furious and I’m throwing things around. So he, you know, I guess it was inconvenient at that point, I had not been crushed successfully into submission and he left two $100 bills on my coffee table and he left my apartment.
She explains why she did not come forward before:
The first thing you feel is stupid, and then you feel that no one will believe you. This is the great Bill Cosby, he has tremendous wealth, power, a P.R. machine, a reputation, he is Mr. Jell-O, but the worst thing you feel is stupid. There’s a shame element involved.
She also says, “If I am the only other victim besides the present victim then that’s two too many.”
Through a lawyer, Cosby issues a statement responding to Green’s allegations:
“Miss Green’s allegations are absolutely false. Mr. Cosby does not know the name Tamara Green or Tamara Lucier [her maiden name] and the incident she describes did not happen. The fact that she may have repeated this story to others is not corroboration.”
February 17, 2005
Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor announces he will not pursue criminal charges against Cosby.
Castor says he “finds insufficient credible and admissible evidence exists upon which any charge against Mr. Cosby could be sustained beyond a reasonable doubt.”
February 21, 2005
Beth Ferrier, who will go on to be Jane Doe No. 5 in Constand’s civil suit against Cosby, wants to go public with her allegations in the National Enquirer. She is interviewed by Enquirer reporter Robin Mizrahi and goes so far as to undergo a lie detector test, which Mizrahi would later say Ferrier passed “with flying colors.”
But according to Mizrahi, her Enquirer editors killed the Ferrier story because Cosby’s lawyers threatened to sue.
In exchange for killing the Ferrier piece, Cosby gives an exclusive interview to the Enquirer. He denies all the allegations against him and, in reference to Constand, says “I am not going to give in to people who try to exploit my celebrity status.”
March 8, 2005
Constand files a civil lawsuit against Cosby. Her lawsuit charges Cosby with battery, assault, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. She seeks a minimum of $150,000 in damages for each of the five counts.
Thirteen women, all of whom allege assaults similar in nature to those described by Constand and Green, are referenced as Jane Doe witnesses in court documents.
June 23, 2005
Ferrier (Jane Doe No. 5) reveals her identity in the Philadelphia Daily News. She says that, in the mid 1980s after ending a months-long consensual relationship with Cosby, she was drugged by Cosby when she saw him before a performance in Denver.
“I woke up and I was in the back of my car all alone,” she said. “My clothes were a mess. My bra was undone. My top was untucked. And I’m sitting there going, ‘Oh my God. Where am I? What’s going on?’ I was so out of it. It was just awful.”
Ferrier says she later confronted Cosby at his hotel; he told her that she “just had too much to drink.”
September 29, 2005
Cosby is deposed in the Constand case. In this deposition, which will remain sealed until 2015, he admits on the record to obtaining drugs for women with whom he wanted to have sex.
February 1, 2006
Constand sues the National Enquirer and Marty Singer, Cosby’s attorney. She alleges they are responsible for defaming her, libeling her, and invading her privacy.
June 9, 2006
Barbara Bowman, a Jane Doe, is interviewed for a Philadelphia magazine story, “Dr. Huxtable & Mr. Hyde.” That November, she grants Philadelphia an extended interview in which she details her allegations against Cosby. She was a teenager aspiring to be an actress in 1985 or 1986 when she met him. She believes he drugged her once at his brownstone in New York and says he assaulted her in an Atlantic City hotel room:
“Cosby threw me on the bed and braced his forearm against my neck and attempted to disrobe me and himself — I can still remember him messing with his belt. And I was screaming and crying and yelling and begging him to stop.
Cosby was angry but got tired of the fight, and said that I was embarrassing him, that I was making too much noise and making a scene. He threw me out. I grabbed my bags and out the door I went. I got myself to New York… I was forced to go home to Denver as soon as I could get my stuff together. Cosby called me. He told me that he better never, ever see my face, or hear my name, again…
The incidents with Cosby made me feel completely violated, and that I couldn’t trust someone who told me that I could… A few years after it happened, I told a friend what happened, and she took me to a lawyer. He laughed at me. I never told another authority figure about it again.”
October 26, 2006
The NAACP announces that Cosby will be inducted into the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame. The Image Awards Chairperson, Clayola Brown, describes Cosby in a statement as “a true humanitarian and role model in the entertainment world… Through his outreach efforts, real life storytelling, emphasis on family values and encouragement for peace and love, he has influenced generations and we are proud to bestow this honor on him.”
November 8, 2006
Cosby and Constand settle before any of the Jane Does can testify. The public statement from their attorneys is that the two “have resolved their differences, and, therefore, the litigation has been dismissed pursuant to local court rule.” Details of the settlement are not disclosed.
December 18, 2006
People magazine interviews five Jane Does for a story, “Bill Cosby Under Fire.” Three agree to share their allegations against Cosby publicly. None of these Jane Does, People reports, went to the police. Two of them “allowed Cosby to pay part of all of their travel and/or living expenses for some time,” three “accept cash from him years after the incidents,” and two “even went on to have consensual relationships” with Cosby.
Regarding these women, People writes:
“Their stories, which take place in several cities and span two decades, illustrate the same pattern of behavior, primarily the accusation that Cosby, then one of the most powerful entertainers alive, targeted them because they were vulnerable and gained their trust by promising to help their careers.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates writes a critical, reported essay about Cosby’s black conservatism, “This Is How We Lost to the White Man,” for The Atlantic. Coates’ piece largely ignores the allegations against Cosby, save for a parenthetical near the end:
“(In 2006, Cosby settled a civil lawsuit filed by a woman who claimed that he had sexually assaulted her; other women have come forward with similar allegations that have not gone to court.)”
In November 2014, in a story about the rising number of allegations against Cosby, Coates will, in hindsight, describe this line from 2008 as “a brief and limp mention.” He writes that he believed these allegations; that he chose, for reasons he details in the essay, not to focus on them in the story; and that it is one of his only “writing regrets”:
It was not enough.
I have often thought about how those women would have felt had they read my piece. The subject was morality — and yet one of the biggest accusations of immorality was left for a few sentences, was rendered invisible.
I don’t have many writing regrets. But this is one of them. I regret not saying what I thought of the accusations, and then pursuing those thoughts. I regret it because the lack of pursuit puts me in league with people who either looked away, or did not look hard enough. I take it as a personal admonition to always go there, to never flinch, to never look away.
October 26, 2009
Cosby receives the 12th Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center. He had previously turned down the award on two separate occasions, reportedly because he was upset with the use of profanity during the 1998 ceremony honoring Richard Pryor. During the ceremony, Jerry Seinfeld calls Cosby “the guiding light of my entire career.”
December 22, 2009
Cosby is granted the Marian Anderson Award, which “honors critically acclaimed artists who have impacted society in a positive way, either through their work or their support for an important cause.” The previous year’s recipient was Maya Angelou.
February 17, 2011
Cosby is recognized as an honorary chief petty officer in the United States Navy. He served in the Navy from 1956 until his honorable discharge in 1960. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus calls Cosby “not just a comedian and an actor“ but “a tireless advocate for social responsibility and education — and a constant friend to the Navy,”
November 23, 2013
Cosby performs his first television stand-up special in 30 years. “Bill Cosby: Far From Finished” airs on Comedy Central and kicks off the “Far From Finished” tour, which will end in Atlanta in May 2015.
January 22, 2014
NBC announces Cosby will return to television with a new sitcom. He is slated to “play the patriarch of a multigenerational family” on the same network where The Cosby Show aired.
February 4, 2014
Gawker asks: “Who Wants to Remember Bill Cosby’s Multiple Sex-Assault Accusations?” The piece is published just days after Dylan Farrow’s open letter — in which she says that her father, Woody Allen, sexually assaulted her when she was a child, allegations that had been public before but never described by Farrow herself — runs in the New York Times.
As Gawker’s Tom Scocca writes, Cosby is “one of the most culturally important and successful comedians ever, an elder statesman of the entertainment industry. He’s also someone who has been accused by multiple women of drugging them and sexually assaulting them.”
He goes on:
This coverage was more recent and possibly more prominent that the coverage of the abuse allegations against Woody Allen.
And? Basically nobody wanted to live in a world where Bill Cosby was a sexual predator. It was too much to handle.
“With shocking speed,” Scocca writes, the whole story “was effectively forgotten.”
February 7, 2014
Tamara Green talks to Newsweek about her allegations against Cosby. She says that going public was a “career-ender” for her and that she is sometimes contacted by other women who have been assaulted by celebrities. “They say, ‘We have no voice.’”
“Once I ran into him in a hallway in Las Vegas and pointed at him and began screaming ‘Rapist! Liar! Asshole!’ and he and his whole entourage ran and hid in the bathroom! I told him the last time I saw him that I was going to tell everyone in the world.”
August 14, 2014
At the Television Critics Association press tour, Netflix announces that Bill Cosby 77, a stand-up comedy film, will be released on November 28.
August 18, 2014
Bill Cosby is a guest on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, where he teases the host for his Cosby impression.
Mark Whitaker’s biography, Cosby: His Life and Times, is published. The book, which clocks in at nearly 500 pages, fails to discuss or investigate the sexual assault allegations against Cosby. In November, Whitaker will publicly apologize for this failing, telling New York Times media critic David Carr in a tweet, “I was wrong to not deal with the sexual assault charges against Cosby and pursue them more aggressively.” In July 2015, Simon & Schuster announces it will let Whitaker’s book go out of print without adding any information about the dozens of allegations against Cosby.
October 16, 2014
While performing at stand-up at the Trocadero in Philadelphia, Hannibal Buress does an extended bit about Cosby. He says:
“Bill Cosby has the fucking smuggest old black man persona that I hate. He gets on TV, ‘Pull your pants up black people, I was on TV in the ‘80s! I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom!’ Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches…
I guess I want to just at least make it weird for you to watch Cosby Show reruns. I’ve done this bit on stage and people think I’m making it up…. When you leave here, Google ‘Bill Cosby rape.’ That shit has more results than ‘Hannibal Buress.’”
The next day, Philadelphia magazine posts the clip and a write-up of the performance online. It quickly goes viral.
November 6, 2014
During an interview with the Associated Press, Cosby refuses to comment on sexual assault charges. He then tells an AP interviewer to “scuttle” the interview footage: “If you want to consider yourself to be serious, it will not appear anywhere.” The AP releases video of the exchange on November 19.
November 9, 2014
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art opens an installation of African art that was funded largely by a $716,000 gift from Bill and Camille Cosby. The exhibition, called “Conversations: African and African American Artworks in Dialogue from the Collections of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art and Camille O. and William H. Cosby Jr.,” features quotations about Cosby’s work, portraits of Cosby and his family, and art by Cosby’s daughter. Cosby also loaned art from his personal collection for the exhibit.
The museum later adds a message to its website acknowledging that the allegations against Cosby “cast a negative light on what should be a joyful exploration of African and African American art in this gallery.”
November 11, 2014
Cosby’s team attempts to kickstart some positive publicity with a #CosbyMeme generator on Twitter, but the effort is derailed when hundreds of people use the platform to call Cosby a rapist.
November 13, 2014
Barbara Bowman, one of the Jane Does from Constand’s lawsuit, publishes an essay in the Washington Post: “Bill Cosby raped me. Why did it take 30 years for people to believe my story?”
Her story laments that public outcry against the comedian did not pick up speed until decades after she went public. “Only after a man, Hannibal Buress, called Bill Cosby a rapist in a comedy act last month did the public outcry begin in earnest.”
November 15, 2014
SCOTT SIMON: “This question gives me no pleasure Mr. Cosby, but there have been serious allegations raised about you in recent days.”
BILL COSBY: [SILENCE]
SIMON: “You’re shaking your head no. I’m in the news business. I have to ask the question. Do you have any response to those charges?”
SIMON: “Shaking your head no. There are people who love you who might like to hear from you about this. I want to give you the chance.”
November 15, 2014
Cosby cancels an upcoming appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, slated for November 19. Neither he nor CBS comments on the change in plans.
November 16, 2014
Joan Tarshis accuses Cosby of drugging and assaulting her twice in 1969. She describes on the blog Hollywood Elsewhere that, at the time, she was 19 years old and had traveled to Los Angeles to work as a comedy writer.
“The next thing I remember was coming to on his couch while being undressed. Through the haze I thought I was being clever when I told him I had an infection and he would catch it and his wife would know he had sex with someone. But he just found another orifice to use. I was sickened by what was happening to me and shocked that this man I had idolized was now raping me. Of course I told no one.”
November 17, 2014
In a Facebook post, Linda Joy Traitz accuses Cosby of getting “sexually aggressive” with her when she was 19 years old and working at Cafe Figaro, a restaurant he partially owned.
“He drove out to the beach and opened a briefcase filled with assorted drugs and kept offering me pills ‘to relax,’ which I declined. He began to get sexually aggressive and wouldn’t take ‘No’ for an answer. I freaked out and demanded to be taken home.”
November 18, 2014
Supermodel Janice Dickinson appears on Entertainment Tonight and says Cosby drugged and raped her in 1982.
“I woke up, and I wasn’t wearing my pajamas, and I remember before I passed out that I had been sexually assaulted by this man… The last thing I remember was Bill Cosby in a patchwork robe, dropping his robe and getting on top of me. And I remember a lot of pain. The next morning I remember waking up with my pajamas off and there was semen in between my legs.”
She had hinted at the incident in her 2002 memoir, No Lifeguard on Duty: The Accidental Life of the World’s First Supermodel, but, as she later revealed during an interview with Howard Stern, she was made to “tone down” that section so Cosby wouldn’t look bad.
That same day, Netflix “postpones” the release of Cosby’s stand-up special, Cosby 77, which was originally scheduled to premiere on November 28.
That night, CNN’s Don Lemon interviews Joan Tarshis and asks her why she did not use her teeth as “a weapon” when Cosby forced her to perform oral sex on him. “There are ways not to perform oral sex if you didn’t want to do it.”
The exchange goes viral. #DonLemonReporting trends on Twitter and, the next day, Lemon issues an on-air apology.
Why did JFK drive down that road in Dallas? You're telling me there were no other streets?#donlemonreporting
— Joe 'Monk' Pardavila (@joepardavila) November 19, 2014
November 19, 2014
NBC kills an in-development, Cosby-starring, primetime family sitcom which would potentially have premiered in fall 2015, and TV Land announces it will pull all reruns of The Cosby Show, effective immediately.
November 20, 2014
Three more women accuse Cosby of sexual assault: Actress Louisa Moritz, Carla Ferrigno and Therese Serignese.
Moritz tells TMZ that Cosby forced her to perform oral sex on him in 1971, before an appearance on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show.
“He took his hands and put them on the back of my head and forced his penis in my mouth, saying, ‘Have a taste of this. It will do you good in so many ways.’”
Ferrigno tells RumorFix Cosby “attacked” and “grabbed” her at a party in 1967, when she was a teenager; she never told anyone because “there was no one to tell.”
Serignese, a nurse and one of the 13 Jane Does in the 2005 case, reveals her identity in the Huffington Post. She says Cosby drugged and raped her in 1976. After he gave her two white pills and a glass of water:
“The next memory I have was I was in a bathroom and I was kind of bending forward and he was behind me having sex with me,” she said. “I was just there, thinking ‘I’m on drugs, I’m drugged.’ I felt drugged and I was being raped and it was kind of surreal. My frame of mind was that it would be over soon and I could just get out of there.”
She says she stayed in contact with Cosby, on and off, for the next two decades, including at least one sexual encounter in the mid-1980s, and that she accepted two payments from him after she was seriously injured in a car accident in 1996. She did not go public at the time, she says, out of fear that she would not be believed.
Michelle Hurd, an actress, writes a Facebook post in which she says Cosby “was VERY inappropriate” with her when she was a stand-in on The Cosby Show:
“It started innocently, lunch in his dressing room, daily, then onto weird acting exercises were he would move his hands up and down my body, (can’t believe I fell for that) I was instructed to NEVER tell anyone what we did together.”
Cosby’s attorney, Marty Singer, releases a lengthy statement denying all allegations against Cosby. It reads, in part: “People are coming out the woodwork with fabricated or unsubstantiated stories about my client.” He also publicizes the criminal record of accuser Linda Joy Traitz, which include charges for criminal fraud and possession of numerous drugs.
November 21, 2014
Three more accusers come forward: Actress Renita Chaney Hill, model Angela Leslie, and one of the 2005 Jane Doe accusers, Kristina Ruehli, who was a secretary at a talent agency in L.A. at the time of the alleged assault.
Ruehli tells Philadelphia magazine that, in 1965 when she was 22 years old, she was invited by Cosby to a party at his house. She claims he spiked her bourbon and tried to force her to perform oral sex on him.
“I found myself on the bed, and he had his shirt off. He had unzipped his pants. I was just coming to.
He was attempting to force me into oral sex. He had his hand on my head. He had his cock out, and he had my head pushed close enough to it — I just remember looking at his stomach hair. And the hair on his chest. I had never seen a black man naked before.
And it never went past that. I immediately came to and was immediately very sick. I pushed myself away and ran to the bathroom and threw up.”
Hill tells a KDKA reporter that she met Cosby in Pittsburgh when she was a 15-year-old model. He cast her in Picture Pages, his educational TV segment, and would fly her to cities where he was to meet him at his hotel at night. He would give her a drink, she says, and she now believes she was drugged.
“One time, I remember just before I passed out, I remember him kissing and touching me and I remember the taste of his cigar on his breath, and I didn’t like it… I remember another time when I woke up in my bed the next day and he was leaving, he mentioned you should probably lose a little weight. I thought that odd, how would he know that?”
I remember being in high school saying to him, ‘I’ll come see you, but I don’t want to drink because it makes me feel funny.’ And he would tell me that if I didn’t drink, I couldn’t come see him.”
Leslie tells the New York Daily News she met Cosby in his Las Vegas suite in 1992, ostensibly to talk about acting opportunities, when he assaulted her. She was 26 years old.
November 22, 2014
The Washington Post publishes an extensive investigation into the allegations against Cosby, including an interview with a new accuser, Victoria Valentino. Valentino, a former Playboy Playmate, claims Cosby drugged and assaulted her and a friend in 1970. She tells the Post that the assault was “a waking nightmare.”
Joyce Emmons, who ran comedy clubs in the 1970s and ’80s, tells TMZ Cosby usually had “a drawer full of drugs,” including Quaaludes, in his hotel room. One night, Cosby offered her a white pill for a migraine; she says she took it, blacked out, and woke up naked in bed in Cosby’s suite with one of Cosby’s friends who had tried (and failed) to hit on her earlier that night. She says when she confronted Cosby about the drug, he “laughed and said it was ‘just a Quaalude.’”
November 23, 2014
Ex-NBC employee Frank Scotti tells the New York Daily News that Cosby used to pay off women he’d assaulted. Scotti says he “became the conduit” for payments of up to $2,000 a month to women, and that he “stood guard” while Cosby invited women back to his dressing room. Scotti, now 90 years old, says, “I felt sorry for the women.”
November 24, 2014
Former model Jewel Allison accuses Cosby of sexual abuse. She tells the New York Daily News that, while dining with Cosby at his home in New York, she drank a glass of wine, suddenly felt “woozy and ill,” and was carried by Cosby to another room, where he grabbed her hand and placed it on his genitals. She vomited the entire cab ride home.
“There’s no such thing as America’s Dad. There’s just a man named Bill Cosby. He’s a very sick sociopath.”
November 25, 2014
A woman who asks to only be identified as “Jena T.” (she later reveals her full name, Jennifer Kaya Thompson) tells People magazine she met Cosby in New York City when she was a 17-year-old aspiring model in the late 1980s. She was Jane Doe No. 2.
He met her parents, offered to assist Thompson in her move to New York, and gave her a walk-on role in The Cosby Show. She describes a series of encounters with Cosby, including a instance in which he pressured her into a sex act, after which he gave her $700:
“I’m sure he fixed something to drink. He knew that I was ready to submit. The whole thing was like — I just knew that I gave him a hand job.” Cosby told her where to find lotion in the house, she claims, and she got it. “I’m like a robot, and that is what I became, and that is what I did for him… I tried my best to muster a sort of, ‘I am an adult making this decision.’ Did I really feel that way? ‘No.’”
November 26, 2014
Donna Motsinger, one of the 13 Jane Does from 2005, reveals her identity. She tells ABC News that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in the 1970s, when she was a waitress in the Bay Area.
“I didn’t feel right. I felt bad. I finally asked him, ‘Can I please have an aspirin?’ Next thing I know, I wake up in the limo with his hands on me. I wake up in my own bed the next morning, all my clothes off, except for my underwear, and I know I have been sexually assaulted.”
Shawn Brown, the woman with whom Cosby admits he had an affair, tells the Daily Mail Cosby drugged and raped her in 1973, when she was 20 years old.
Cosby gave her drinks and a joint, which he said was marijuana, that Brown says she didn’t inhale.
“I was sitting in this wicker chair, hanging from the ceiling. It felt like I was sitting way up high in the corner, that’s how loopy I was — I felt like I was floating… I was in another world, it was more than drowsy, I knew that any second I would be out cold.”
That’s where her memory stops. When she woke up the next morning, she was naked in Cosby’s bed. “I knew I had had sex. My whole body ached. There was no place that was untouched.”
Shortly after that, Brown found out she was pregnant. She still believes her daughter, Autumn, is Cosby’s child. (She says Cosby convinced her to use her ex-boyfriend’s name on the birth certificate so Cosby could protect his reputation.)
University of Massachusetts, Amherst asks Cosby to step down from his chairman duties. Cosby — who received a masters and doctorate in education at the school, was an honorary co-chair of a $300 million fundraising campaign, and had donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the university — agrees.
University spokesman Edward Blaguszewski says in a statement that Cosby “no longer has any affiliation with the campaign nor does he serve in any other capacity for the university.”
The Berklee College of Music, which had a scholarship in Cosby’s name, severs all ties with Cosby.
December 1, 2014
Cosby resigns from Temple University’s board of trustees. Temple is Cosby’s alma mater; he had served on the board for 32 years.
Another woman comes forward to accuse Cosby of sexually aggressive behavior: Lisa Jones tells Entertainment Tonight Canada that, in 1986 when she was 17 years old, she met Cosby, who flew her from Vancouver to New York to audition for a potential role in his show. Upon her arrival in the city, she was taken to his residence, where she alleges he ordered her upstairs, made her take off her makeup, get her hair wet and put it up in a ponytail. Then, she says, he poured her alcoholic drinks and became “intense,” telling her the only way women could get ahead in the entertainment industry was to have sex.
“He, out of nowhere, started to walk past me, and crouched in front of my knees, grabbed my legs, and tried to pull them apart,” she says. She fled his home. “All I wanted to do was get out of there because I was in an unsafe environment and that’s what I did.”
December 2, 2014
Judy Huth files a lawsuit against Cosby, accusing him of sexually assaulting her in 1974 when she was 15 years old. Her complaint is for sexual battery and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
She is the first person to take legal action against Cosby since Constand filed her lawsuit in 2005.
As Huth’s lawsuit describes, Cosby allegedly took Huth and a friend to a party at the Playboy Mansion, where he told her to lie about her age. She used the bathroom and “emerged to find Cosby sitting on a bed.” Cosby asked her to sit next to him, tried to “put his hand down her pants, then took her hand and forced her to masturbate him.”
December 3, 2014
Two more women come forward at a press conference led by Gloria Allred. They are joined by Ferrier, who retells her story.
Chelan Lasha says that she was 17 years old and working at the Las Vegas Hilton in 1986 when Cosby drugged her, gave her alcohol and fondled her, at which point she blacked out.
Helen Hayes says, after meeting Cosby at Clint Eastwood’s Celebrity Tennis Tournament in Pebble Beach, California, in 1973, Cosby stalked her “like a predator.” He followed her to a restaurant where she and two friends were having dinner and grabbed her breast.
Ferrier, a Jane Doe, met Cosby in the 1980s and had a consensual affair with him for several months. Backstage after a performance of his in Denver, Ferrier claims, Cosby gave her coffee and she lost consciousness.
“The next thing I knew, hours passed and I woke up in the back of my car alone. My clothes were a mess; my bra was undone. My car was in the alleyway behind the venue. I felt disoriented. I had no idea what happened to me.”
December 4, 2014
Cosby countersues Huth, alleging extortion. He claims her sexual assault allegations are a “meritless and unsupported.” He demands $33,000 in damages.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike Stevens rescind Cosby’s honorary chief title, which had been conferred in 2011.
“The Navy is taking this action because allegations against Mr. Cosby are very serious and are in conflict with the Navy’s core values of honor, courage and commitment.”
December 6, 2014
PJ Masten tells the New York Daily News that Cosby attacked her in 1979, when she was a Bunny manager at the Playboy Club in Chicago. She says he convinced her to come up to his room at the Whitehall Hotel by promising her they’d go out to dinner, but when she got there, Cosby was smoking cigars with several male friends. He served her a glass of Grand Marnier on the rocks, she says:
“I don’t remember anything after I drank it. The next thing I knew it was 4 o’clock in the morning and I woke up naked with this disgusting man next to me… I have no idea what he gave me, but I woke up feeling very groggy and very sore. I knew I had been raped,”
She claims to know “a dozen former Bunnies” with stories like hers who are too afraid to come forward.
Playboy founder Hugh Hefner releases a statement regarding the number of allegations against Cosby that cite the Playboy Mansion as the scene of Cosby’s crimes:
“Bill Cosby has been a good friend for many years and the mere thought of these allegations is truly saddening. I would never tolerate this kind of behavior, regardless of who was involved.”
December 10, 2014
Tamara Green sues Cosby for defamation. She claims that, by publicly accusing her of being a liar, Cosby has impugned her reputation. The statute of limitations for defamation is one year; her lawsuit is based on statements Cosby has given recently to Newsweek — “This is a 10-year-old, discredited accusation that proved to be nothing at the time, and is still nothing.” — and the Washington Post. She is suing Cosby in Massachusetts federal court.
Her attorney, Joseph Cammarata, famously defended Paula Jones in 1994, when Jones sued then-President Bill Clinton for sexual harassment.
December 11, 2014
Supermodel Beverly Johnson publishes an essay in Vanity Fair: “Bill Cosby Drugged Me. This Is My Story.” In 1974, Johnson was the first black model to appear on the cover of American Vogue.
“I still struggled with how to reveal my big secret, and more importantly, what would people think when and if I did? Would they dismiss me as an angry black woman intent on ruining the image of one of the most revered men in the African American community over the last 40 years?”
December 13, 2014
Cosby sidesteps addressing the sexual assault allegations in a phone interview with a Page Six reporter, taking “the black media” to task for what he considers to be poor, biased reporting.
“Let me say this. I only expect the black media to uphold the standards of excellence in journalism and when you do that you have to go in with a neutral mind.”
December 15, 2014
Chloe Goins accuses Cosby of drugging and assaulting her at the Playboy Mansion in 2008. She tells the Daily Mail that, after accepting a drink from Cosby at a party and then being taken by him to a room to rest, she woke up to find herself completely naked with Cosby, his pants around his ankles, leaning over and licking her toes.
“He wasn’t on my breasts when I woke, but I could feel, you know, the saliva on them and that he’d been licking on me.
I felt embarrassed, it was a gross, icky feeling, I felt very violated and humiliated.
I was scared, I was just 18 and he was an old man, I was not very sexually experienced and I didn’t really know what had happened, it was violating.”
Camille Cosby releases a statement to CBS comparing the media coverage of the allegations against her husband to Rolling Stone’s infamously debunked feature, “A Rape on Campus.”
NEW: Billy Cosby's wife Camille releases statement comparing coverage of her husband to Rolling Stone UVA rape story pic.twitter.com/lzWdytGC22
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) December 15, 2014
December 19, 2014
A new accuser tells Dr. Phil that Cosby drugged her in 1988. The woman, who goes by “Lisa,” says she was a 21-year-old aspiring model when Cosby invited her to his hotel room for a “mentoring session.” Once there, he started petting her hair and gave her a drink she believes was drugged; two days later, she woke up with no memory of what occurred.
December 22, 2014
Actress Kathy McKee tells the New York Daily News that Cosby raped her in the early 1970s.
They were “buddies,” she said, when he stopped by his hotel room in Michigan one night to give him food he’d requested before leaving for a party. She says he immediately tore off her clothes and raped her.
“He spun me around, pulled my panties down, and just took it. We were still standing at the door when he attacked me. It was so fast and so shocking and so unbelievable.”
January 5, 2015
Therese Serignese and Linda Joy Traitz join Tamara Green’s federal defamation lawsuit against Cosby.
When Serignese came forward, Marty Singer, Cosby’s attorney, issued a written statement calling her claims, as wells as the claims of other accusers, “utter nonsense,” “fantastical” and “unsubstantiated.” He later described Traitz’s allegations “ridiculous” and an “absurd fabrication.”
January 6, 2015
Phylicia Rashad, star of The Cosby Show, defends Cosby to Showbizz 411.
“I love him. Forget these women. What you’re seeing is the destruction of a legacy. And I think it’s orchestrated.”
January 7, 2015
Rashad tells ABC News some of her remarks were misquoted — the line “Forget these women” was taken out of context, she said — but she maintains that the allegations are part of a concerted effort to dismantle Cosby’s image. Cosby, she says, is “a genius, he is generous, he is kind, he’s inclusive.”
That same day, three more women accuse Cosby of sexual misconduct. Each read a statement at a Gloria Allred-led press conference.
One, who goes by the pseudonym “Kacey,” says Cosby drugged and assaulted her when she was working as an assistant for his William Morris agent in 1996. Their working relationship had been positive — she thought of Cosby as a “father figure or favorite uncle” — when, during a one-on-one meeting at the Bel Air hotel where Cosby told her they’d talk through the future of her career, Kacey says Cosby made her take a “large white pill” to “relax.” She woke up in bed next to Cosby, who was wearing nothing but a bathrobe.
Linda Kirkpatrick says Cosby drugged her in the 1980s. She met him in Las Vegas in 1981 at a tennis tournament, and he invited her to his show. During a party in his dressing room, he offered her a drink; she claims she blacked out and regained consciousness to find Cosby on top of her, aggressively kissing her.
Rebecca Lynn Neal says Cosby was a regular client at a health club where she worked as a therapist. He invited her to his show after which, she says, he gave her drinks but denied her food; he then walked her to his dressing room and raped her.
“He built my trust by pretending to be a friend. He drugged and raped me. He betrayed my trust and took advantage of me.”
January 11, 2015
Third-time Golden Globe Awards hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler make multiple Cosby jokes in their monologue. They riff that Sleeping Beauty from Into the Woods “just thought she was getting coffee with Bill Cosby” and take turns during Cosby impressions: “I put the pills in the people! The people did not want the pills in them!”
January 26, 2015
Film executive Cindra Ladd accuses Cosby of drugging and raping her in 1969 in an essay in the Huffington Post titled “Cosby: ‘Trust Me.’”
Cosby gave her a pill for her headache. The rest of the night was a blur:
“What I do recall, vividly and clearly, is waking up the next morning nude in the bed of his friend’s apartment and seeing Cosby wearing a white terrycloth bathrobe and acting as if there was nothing unusual. It was obvious to me that he had had sex with me. I was horrified, embarrassed and ashamed. There was a mirror above the bed, which shocked me further…I got out of there as fast as I could. Once in the elevator, I broke down crying… Other than my roommate, I did not discuss that night with anyone for 36 years.”
February 8, 2015
Helen Gumpel, an actress who appeared once on The Cosby Show, claims Cosby sexually harassed her in the late 1980s. At a press conference in Boston, Gumpel says Cosby invited her to the set of the show and was waiting for her in his dressing room with a drink. She says he had her sit on a couch and he stood before her, keeping his crotch close to her face.
“I never thought of myself as a victim, because I refused his advances. But my career was a victim.”
Hours earlier, Cosby canceled two back-to-back comedy shows at for scheduled that evening at the Wilbur Theater in Boston, which demonstrators had announced they would protest. Cosby’s official statement on the matter is that the shows were canceled due to bad winter weather.
February 12, 2015
Two more women accuse Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting them: Linda Brown and Lise-Lotte Lublin. Both tell their stories at a press conference led by Gloria Allred.
Brown says she Cosby through her agent in 1969, when she a 21-year-old model. He gave her a ticket to his show, took her to dinner, and invited her to his hotel room, where he said he had a gift for her. He proceeded to force her to drink a soda and, Brown claims, the next thing she remembered was waking up naked in Cosby’s bed. She could not speak or move. Then, she says, Cosby raped her.
“I felt dirty, ashamed and embarrassed. I chose to speak out today because I want people to know who Mr. Bill Cosby really is. If you trust him, then you have been fooled by him, too.”
Lublin says she was 23 when she met Cosby in 1989. After meeting him twice without incident, Lublin accepted his invitation to the Elvis suite of the Las Vegas Hilton where he offered to help her with acting. He fixed her a drink; she declined — she didn’t drink — but ultimately had two. She says the last thing she remembers is feeling dizzy and Cosby “stroking her hair.” She believes she was sexually assaulted. At the time, she and her mother decided she must have just reacted poorly to alcohol.
February 19, 2015
Eddie Murphy, making his long-awaited return to Saturday Night Live for the show’s 40th anniversary special, does not play Cosby in a Jeopardy sketch. (Kenan Thompson appeared, very briefly, as Cosby instead.)
Writer Norm Macdonald tweets that Murphy refused to do the bit: “He knew the laughs would bring the house down. Eddie Murphy knows what will work on SNL better than any one. Eddie decides the laughs are not worth it. He will not kick a man when he is down.”
February 24, 2015
Former model Heidi Thomas tells CNN that Cosby drugged and assaulted her in 1984 under the guise of offering her “a mentoring session.” She met him at his friend’s house outside of Reno. He gave her a glass of Chablis and the rest of the night is “foggy.”
But she says that when she woke up, she was in bed next to Cosby. He was naked and “forcing himself in my mouth.”
March 3, 2015
Another Jane Doe from 2005 reveals her identity: Patricia, who keeps her last name private, tells Buzzfeed that she was drugged and raped by Cosby in 1978 and again in 1980.
The first time she “blacked out” and woke up naked in Cosby’s Massachusetts home; the second time, when she came to, she felt “very sick and knew that someone had penetrated me.” She also describes odd demands Cosby made of her, including criticism of her weight and hairstyle.
March 25, 2015
Comedian Chelsea Handler reveals in an Esquire interview that Cosby, in her words, “tried to Cosby me” when she was in Atlantic City for a show about ten years prior.
“Someone from the hotel came down and said, “Oh, you know, Mr. Cosby would really like to meet you up in his hotel suite.” And I thought, That’s really weird…I don’t want to go alone. I go, I don’t know him. So the three guys I was with — thank God these guys were with me… I brought them up with me to his room and thank God I did, because now I know what would’ve happened if I went up there alone.”
March 27, 2015
Two more accusers come forward at a press conference with Allred.
Margie Shapiro says Cosby drugged her in 1975. She says she took a pill from Cosby and, when she woke up the next morning, she was naked and Cosby was penetrating her.
Sunni Welles, who was 17 years old when she says she met Cosby in the 1960s, claims he drugged her Coca-Cola after taking her to a jazz club; when she woke up, she knew she’d been assaulted.
April 23, 2015
Another Allred press conference introduces three more accusers to the public.
Marcella Tate, a model who went to the Playboy Mansion in 1975 with Cosby, says she took a drink from him and woke up naked next to him in a bed she didn’t recognize.
Autumn Burns says Cosby offered to “mentor” her when she was a 20-year-old model and game starter at the Sahara in Las Vegas. He gave her gambling money and invited her to his room, where, she says, he gave her a drugged drink that made her feel “woozy.” Then, she says, he sexually assaulted her.
Janice Baker-Kinney says she met Cosby in the 1980s while working at a casino. She was 24 at the time, and says he gave her two pills — “I thought it must be OK, Bill Cosby said it was.” — and woke up later on a couch with her jeans unzipped and blouse open. She remembers Cosby bringing her upstairs to a bedroom and, when she woke up the next morning, Cosby was naked beside her, touching her stomach and genital area. As she left, she says, Cosby told her, “This is between you and me.”
May 1, 2015
Two more women come forward with accusations against Cosby, bringing the total number of alleged victims to over 40.
Former The Cosby Show actress Lili Bernard and writer Sammie Mays read their statements at a press conference led by Gloria Allred.
Mays claims Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in the 1980s after inviting her to his hotel room for an interview during a New Orleans TV convention.
Bernard says Cosby drugged and raped her in the early 1990s, when she was a guest star on The Cosby Show. He told her, “You’re one of my kids,” she says, and offered to mentor her. But when they last spoke, she says, in 1992, he told her, “As far as I’m concerned, Bernard, you’re dead. Do you hear me? You’re dead, Bernard. You don’t exist. I never wanna see your face again. Now get the hell out of here!”
Bernard reports that she went to the Atlantic City police the day before the press conference with evidence of the crime, but later was told she had missed the filing deadline by a few months.
May 2, 2015
In Atlanta, Cosby performs the last show in his “Far From Finished” stand-up tour, which kicked off with a televised special in November 2013.
The tour is marred by last-minute cancelations, protests, and other disruptions. Brian Kitts, the marketing director for Denver Arts & Venues, told The Washington Post that dealing with the fallout from Cosby’s January show — where Gloria Allred was in attendance, protesters yelled at audience members, and many seats were left empty — has “kind of been like a slow-motion car wreck.”
May 20, 2015
Janice Dickinson sues Cosby for defamation and infliction of emotional distress. (Like the overwhelming majority of women accusing Cosby of sexual assault, Dickinson can no longer file criminal charges against Cosby because the statute of limitations has expired.) Her suit is filed in Los Angeles, where she resides.
Marty Singer, Cosby’s attorney at the time, calls Dickinson’s statement a “complete lie.” In November, when Singer leaves Cosby’s defense team, Dickinson amends her lawsuit to include Singer, who Dickinson alleges is responsible for four press releases denying that Cosby drugged and raped her.
May 26, 2015
An episode of Inside Amy Schumer includes a sketch, “Court of Public Opinion: The Trial of Bill Cosby,” satirizing the lengths to which people will go to forgive Cosby for his alleged crimes so they can continue to love The Cosby Show.
“You’ve heard a lot from the prosecution the last few weeks about stuff that may — or may not! — have happened… How did that feel to listen to? Blech, right? How do you feel when I play this?” (Clip from The Cosby Show plays.) “Did anyone feel raped by that?”
July 6, 2015
Judge Eduardo Robreno, who has presided over Andrea Constand’s case from the get-go, issues an order releasing court papers from Constand’s 2005 case, including excerpts from Cosby’s deposition.
The release is due largely to the efforts of Associated Press reporter Maryclaire Dale, who spent a decade unsuccessfully petitioning Robreno to unseal documents in Constand’s 2005 case and who, in light of the dozens of new Cosby accusers coming forward, petitioned Robreno again in 2015.
July 7, 2015
The Associated Press breaks the most stunning revelation from the Cosby deposition: That Cosby admitted, on the record, to getting drugs for women he wanted to have sex with.
Within weeks, the New York Times obtains the full transcript.
July 8, 2015
Cosby is dropped by his agency, CAA, which had represented him since 2012.
July 10, 2015
With just six months to go before the 12-year statue of limitations for aggravated indecent assault runs out under Pennsylvania law, Montgomery County district attorney Risa Vetri Ferman reopens the Constand investigation.
Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) sign a White House petition to revoke Bill Cosby’s Presidential Medal of Freedom. The petition is the work of non-profit PAVE (Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment).
Through a spokesperson, Gillibrand tells Politico:
“She supports this group’s effort because we need to set a clear example that sexual assault will not be tolerated in this country, and someone who admitted to using drugs for sex no longer deserves the nation’s highest honor.”
McCaskill says of Cosby:
“[He] has now admitted in sworn testimony that he drugged young women to take advantage of them sexually. I don’t think that somebody that has admitted to doing that deserves a medal of any type. He probably deserves to go to prison.”
July 15, 2015
For the first time, President Barack Obama speaks publicly about the allegations against Cosby. Asked if he would consider revoking Cosby’s presidential medal of freedom, Obama says:
“[With] respect to the Medal of Freedom, there is no precedent for revoking a medal. We don’t have that mechanism. And as you know, I tend to make it a policy not to comment on the specifics of cases where there might still be if not criminal, then civil issues involved.
“I’ll say this: if you give a woman or a man for that matter a drug and then have sex with that person without consent, that’s rape. And I think this country, any civilized country, should have no tolerance for rape.”
July 26, 2015
New York magazine puts 35 Cosby accusers on the cover, along with an empty chair to represent the victims yet to come forward.
August 5, 2015
Johnnetta Cole, director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art and longtime friend of the Cosby family, writes an open letter in The Root titled “Why I Kept Open an Exhibit Featuring Art Owned by Bill Cosby.”
The exhibit, she writes, “not about the life and career of Bill Cosby” but rather “is about the interplay of artistic creativity in remarkable works of African and African-American art and what visitors can learn from the stories this art tells.”
She also claims that “when we accepted the gift and loan, I was unaware of the allegations about Bill Cosby. Had I known, I would not have moved forward with this particular exhibition.”
August 12, 2015
Three more women accuse Cosby of sexual assault. They speak at a press conference led by Allred alongside an empty chair, a callback to the New York cover.
Linda Ridgeway Whitedeer, a former actress, met Cosby through her husband, who was an executive at the William Morris agency, which represented Cosby at the time. In 1971, Whitedeer said, Cosby forced her to perform oral sex on him within minutes of walking into an empty room on a movie set:
“I felt Cosby’s left hand gently grab my long hair behind my head. His giant frame blocked the door, so if anyone should try to enter, they would not be able to see what he was doing. As I looked up, his penis was out of his pants and he shoved it into my mouth. His attack was fast, with surgical precision, and surprise was on his side.
When Cosby was done, there was a horrible mess of semen in my clothes, my face and my hair. He took out a Kleenex to try and wipe off my face. I was bordering between vomiting and passing out. He was mumbling that I had been blessed with his semen, as if it was holy water.”
Colleen Hughes, a former American Airlines flight attendant, says Cosby assaulted her in the early 1970s. He gave her a glass of champagne, she says; she passed out and woke up to find Cosby gone and her body “covered in semen.”
Eden Tirl, an actress, says Cosby sexually harassed her — “hugging her in an overly intimate way” — when she appeared on The Cosby Show in 1989. She stayed silent for fear that speaking out would destroy her career.
August 20, 2015
Two more women come forward, bringing the total number of Cosby accusers to over 50.
Gloria Allred introduces the women at a press conference.
Elizabeth, a former flight attendant who identifies herself only by her first name, says she was at dinner with Cosby at a Japanese restaurant when he made her drink some of his sake.
“All I know is that it was the most horrifying thing that could happen to any young woman. The next thing I remember is I was in the Rolls-Royce profusely vomiting. I remember the driver saying, ‘You’re not the first.’…I’ve lived with the shame and the guilt of thinking it was somehow my fault, but it wasn’t. Because if I hadn’t been drugged, I would have never ended up in a hotel with him and he knew that.”
Charlotte Fox, then an aspiring actress, met Cosby in the 1970s. She was an extra on Uptown Saturday Night. She says Cosby invited her to a local jazz club where he was playing and then to the Playboy mansion, where she became sick.
“The next thing I remember was that I was sort of awake, in a bed, with no clothes on and there was Mr. Cosby, in a robe, crawling from the bottom of the bed… I was incapacitated and couldn’t say no. He engaged in sexual activity with me. It was not consensual.”
The two women are joined by Sarita Butterfield, a former Playboy model who had previously accused Cosby of sexual misconduct.
October 18, 2015
While accepting the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center — an award Cosby received in 2009 — Eddie Murphy does a Cosby impression and asks the audience, “Did you all make Bill give his back? You know you fucked up when they want you to give your trophies back.”
October 19, 2015
The mural of Bill Cosby that graces the side of iconic Ben’s Chili Bowl in Washington, D.C. is vandalized.
A picture of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s face is pasted over Cosby’s. A street artist who goes by Smear Leader takes credit for the defacement on Instagram, writing, “Instead of looking at a sexual predator, people can celebrate in jubilation that the great leader is now on the their Wall.”
Cosby’s face is restored and the picture is removed. BCB does not comment.
September 24, 2015
Cosby is stripped of honorary degrees by two Jesuit institutions which have never before revoked this honor.
Fordham and Marquette take back the honorary degrees they awarded Cosby in 2001 and 2013, respectively.
September 30, 2015
Three more accusers come forward at a press conference with Allred.
Pamela Abeyta, a model, says she met Cosby in 1979, when she was 25 years old. She was seeing Cosby in Vegas to talk about a potential opportunity with Playboy. She says he bought her a heap of gifts — a gown, shoes, a bag worth $2,500 — and ate and drank at a dinner show. Later, she blacked out; she believes she was drugged.
“When I came to, I was lying in Bill Cosby’s bed, not my own room. When I came to again, I saw two other naked people in the room by my bed.”
Lisa Christie, also a model, says Cosby hit on her in a hotel room. She says he’d been mentoring her for years when he invited her to his hotel in Chicago to audition for his 1990 movie Ghost Dad. Then a virgin, Christie was stunned when Cosby kissed her in his room; when she refused his advances, he told her she’d “never make it in this business unless you sleep with me.”
Sharon Van Ert, who met Cosby when she was a waitress, says Cosby walked her to her car one night after work. She’d had a couple of drinks, she remembers, and says Cosby attacked her once they got inside her car.
“He was touching me and rubbing my leg. The next thing I remember was waking up in my car, my head hanging down from the seat, alone… knew I was drugged because I threw up and I never threw up or drank too much.”
When she got home, she realized her underwear was missing.
October 6, 2015
Chloe Goins files a civil lawsuit against Cosby, alleging that he drugged and sexually assaulted her at the Playboy Mansion in 2008.
Unlike most Cosby accusers, Goins has a case that could fall within California’s 10-year statute of limitations for sexual assault.
October 9, 2015
Cosby deposed in Judy Huth case. He is reportedly interviewed for 7 hours by Huth’s attorney, Gloria Allred. (Huth alleges Cosby molested her at the Playboy Mansion in 1974, when she was 15 years old.)
This is the first time Cosby addresses allegations of sexual misconduct under oath since his explosive 2005 deposition.
The LAPD says it will investigate all claims of sexual assault against Cosby, whether or not they fall within the statute of limitations. Why bother? A California law that allows alleged victims of sex crimes to testify in court as witnesses, regardless of whether or not their own cases resulted in any criminal charges.
Dateline airs “The Cosby Accusers Speak,” an episode in which 27 of the women accusing Cosby of sexual assault come together for a group interview to share their allegations again.
October 21, 2015
Cosby fires his lawyer, Marty Singer.
October 23, 2015
Two more women come forward to accuse Cosby of sexual misconduct at a press conference led by Allred.
Donna Barrett claims Cosby assaulted her in 2004 at a track meet at the University of Pennsylvania. She was officiating the meet, she says, and Cosby grabbed her from behind, yelled “Hey, back that thing up here girl, back it on up!” at her, and forced his genitals on her before running off. She told officials about the incident, she says, “but no one knew what to do.”
“He had me locked down against his body without my consent or desire.”
An actress identifying herself as Dottye says Cosby raped her in 1984.
He invited her to a private audition for The Cosby Show at his residence in New York. Once she arrived, he demanded that she drink; he spun her in circles until she got sick, and stripped her, she says. He then made her shower and raped her. The next day, she says, he called her for phone sex.
November 3, 2015
Bruce Castor, the former district attorney who failed to prosecute Cosby in the Constand case a decade ago, runs for Montgomery County D.A. again.
The race for district attorney hinges on whether voters want Castor, who swears, this time around, he’ll get Cosby for perjury, or assistant D.A. Kevin Steele, who runs television ads calling Castor “a former D.A. who refused to prosecute Bill Cosby.”
Working against Castor: Back in October, Constand filed a defamation suit against him, claiming the language of his campaign insinuated that she didn’t give prosecutors the full story and paints her as partly responsible for the D.A.’s failure to prosecute Cosby ten years ago.
Steele wins the election.
November 9, 2015
Kristina Ruehli files a federal defamation suit against Cosby. In her complaint, she claims Cosby falsely accused her of lying when she went public with her accusations against him in November 2014. In doing so, her complaint says, Cosby held her “up to public scorn and ridicule, injured her good name and reputation and caused her severe emotional distress.”
November 13, 2015
Four more women join an ongoing federal lawsuit against Cosby. This lawsuit, originally filed by Tamara Green and joined months later by Therese Serignese, and Linda Joy Traitz, now includes Barbara Bowman, Joan Tarshis, Louisa Moritz, and Angela Leslie.
All the women claim that, in the wake of their allegations against Cosby, Cosby and his legal team trashed their reputations and made it impossible for them to lead normal lives.
As Bowman tells the Associated Press:
“There’s no reason that any of the victims of this situation should have to live with a scarlet letter in their lives.”
Tarshis describes an incident in the spring of 2015 — she came forward with her allegations against Cosby the previous November — when a woman driving by her spat at her and called her a liar.
“I was incredibly shaken by that. I don’t want to sound like Richard Nixon, but I’m not a liar. Why would anybody lie about something like this? This is not my legacy.”
December 14, 2015
Cosby countersues seven of his accusers: The women who filed the federal defamation suit against him in Massachusetts. They are Tamara Green, Therese Serignese, Linda Joy Traitz, Louisa Moritz, Barbara Bowman, Joan Tarshis and Angela Leslie.
Cosby claims that the allegations of these women are not just false but are in fact part of an orchestrated effort to derail his return to television stardom. By publicly accusing him of drugging and sexually assaulting them, Cosby insists, these women have engaged in “intentional, extreme, outrageous, and morally repugnant conduct.”
None of these women have recourse through the criminal justice system; the statute of limitations has run out in every case. So, as ThinkProgress reported at the time:
The case is now, literally, he said, she said. By countersuing these women, Cosby may have inadvertently provided his alleged victims with a way to prove his guilt.
Cosby says these women are liars. The women say they’re telling the truth. Which means even though the case is technically about defamation — whether the women have wrecked Cosby’s reputation, or the other way around — it is, essentially, about whether or not Cosby committed these assaults.
December 21, 2015
Cosby files a defamation suit against Beverly Johnson. He claims her accusations — that he drugged and tried to sexually assault her — are false, that his wife, Camille, attended the dinner Johnson says she and Bill had alone, and that Johnson’s allegations are simply an attempt to “rekindle her career.”
December 30, 2015
Cosby is charged with sexual assault in the Constand case.
The charge is “aggravated indecent assault,” which is a felony under Pennsylvania law. Charges include assault without consent, assault while complainant is unconscious or unaware, and assault that includes impairing the complainant.
At his arraignment, Cosby surrenders his passport and is released on $1 million bail. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison.
January 5, 2016
U.S. Magistrate Judge David Hennessy agrees to delay Camille Cosby’s deposition. She was slated to be deposed the following day in the criminal case against her husband.
Her lawyers wrote a 12-page motion asking for the delay:
“Without a stay of her deposition, both Mrs. Cosby’s privacy and freedom will be put at issue in a case to which she is not a party, and for which she is not alleged to have any personal, first-hand knowledge.”
January 7, 2016
Congressman Paul Gosar (AZ-R) introduces a measure to “affirm the power of the president” so Obama can revoke Cosby’s Presidential Medal of Freedom. White House spokesperson Josh Earnest tells ABC News that Obama would “take a look” at the proposed legislation if Congress passed it.
Februrary 2, 2016
Cosby tries to get the 2005 deposition — in which he admits to giving Quaaludes to women he wanted to have sex with — thrown out. A two-day hearing on the subject begins.
Cosby’s lawyers are citing an alleged agreement between Cosby and Bruce Castor, then Montgomery County district attorney, in which Castor promised Cosby he would not be prosecuted in the Constand case. Castor declined to bring charges against Cosby back in 2005, finding “insufficient credible and admissible evidence.” Constand settled with Cosby in civil court in 2006, and it is Cosby’s testimony from that civil suit which resurfaced late last year.
Cosby’s team asserts that Castor swore he would never prosecute Cosby and that this promise extends to all future holders of the district attorney’s office, including its current occupant, Kevin Steele. As the New York Times reports, it was not Castor’s aim to prevent future prosecution should new evidence emerge, but “in recent emails and other statements, [Castor] said his decision had led Mr. Cosby to testify freely” in Constand’s civil suit, “and therefore that testimony cannot be part of the evidence now being used against him.”
Chloe Goins drops her civil lawsuit against Cosby one month after L.A. County prosecutors declined to bring criminal charges against Cosby, citing insufficient evidence.
February 3, 2016
Cosby’s request to have deposition thrown out is denied.
Cosby also failed in his effort to disqualify District Attorney Kevin Steele from the case. Steele, the newly-elected D.A., ran against Castor; his campaign called out his opponent for failing to prosecute Cosby in 2004. Cosby’s lawyers accused Steele of treating Cosby as a “political football.”
February 11, 2016
Federal judge rules Camille Cosby must give a deposition in the defamation lawsuit against Cosby in Massachusetts.
One caveat: She can refuse to answer questions about “private marital conversations.”
February 17, 2016
Cosby files a lawsuit against Constand, Constand’s mother, Constand’s attorneys, and the publisher of the National Enquirer. He claims Constand and her mother violated the terms of their settlement by cooperating with the District Attorney’s investigation.
Constand and her mother are Canadian citizens; Cosby claims that, because of this, they are “outside the jurisdictional reach of the Montgomery County, PA, District Attorney” but still “voluntarily participated in a 2015 reinvestigation of Andrea Constand’s allegations against Mr. Cosby.”
March 1, 2016
Only six days before the preliminary hearing in Cosby’s criminal case is scheduled to begin, Cosby is granted a postponement while a Pennsylvania appeals court considers his attempt to have the case thrown out before trial.
March 26, 2016
The New York Times reports that the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, which will open in September, will not reference the allegations against Cosby.
He is included in an exhibit about pioneers in entertainment, but with zero mention of the more than 50 women who have accused him of sexual assault. The exhibit will, however, include one of Cosby’s comedy records, “I Started Out as a Child,” from 1964, The Cosby Show and I Spy video clips, and an I Spy comic book. The text alongside The Cosby Show clips describes the series “one of the best-loved American TV shows.”
March 30, 2016
The founding director of Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opens this September, announces a change of plans: The museum will acknowledge allegations against Cosby.
As the director, Lonnie Bunch, announced in a statement;
“This is not an exhibition that ‘honors or celebrates’ Bill Cosby but one that acknowledges his role, among many others, in American entertainment. Some people feel that the Smithsonian should eliminate all mention of Bill Cosby as a result of recent revelations. We understand but respectfully disagree…
Like all of history, our interpretation of Bill Cosby is a work in progress, something that will continue to evolve as new evidence and insights come to the fore. Visitors will leave the exhibition knowing more about Mr. Cosby’s impact on American entertainment, while recognizing that his legacy has been severely damaged by the recent accusations.”
May 16, 2016
Chloe Goins sues Cosby in L.A. County Superior Court. In her new complaint, she sues both Cosby and Hugh Hefner, for sexual battery, gender violence, and other charges. Goins previously sued Cosby in federal court; she dropped that case in February.
Spencer Kuvin, Goins’ attorney, told ThinkProgress by phone that “during our ongoing investigation of the facts in Chloe’s case,” before dropping the original lawsuit in February, “it came to our attention that Mr. Hefner either knew or clearly should have known not only what happened to Chloe but what was happening to other women there at the Playboy Mansion regarding Mr. Cosby and drugging women.”
May 24, 2016
District Judge Elizabeth McHugh determines the prosecutors have enough evidence to bring Cosby to trial. If convicted, Cosby could be sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Though some had expected Constand would appear in court, as Cosby did, she was not in attendance. Judge McHugh ruled that Constand did not have to testify. However, excerpts of the statement she gave to the police in 2005 were read and entered into the record.
Constand told police in 2005 “that the comedian penetrated her with his fingers after giving her pills that made her dizzy, blurry-eyed and sick to her stomach, her legs ‘like jelly.’”
Cosby waves his right to a formal arraignment and automatically enters a plea of not guilty.
June 2, 2016
The complete transcript of Andrea Constand’s 2004 interview with the police is made public.
The document provides the fullest picture thus far about the alleged 2004 incident and includes Constand’s explanation for waiting a year to come forward with her allegations; she expresses “concern about my job” and says “there was an element of fear” keeping her silent. The first person Constand says she told about the assault was her mother, on January 13, 2005.
June 24, 2016
Kristina Ruehli drops her lawsuit against Cosby. She files for dismissal just one day after Judge Mark Mastroianni ruled against Cosby’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
In an interview with the New York Times, Ruehli said she had already spent $80,000 in legal fees.
“We accomplished what we wanted to do. I simply want to wash my hands of this.”
That night, Kanye West premieres his music video for “Famous” at the Forum in Los Angeles and on a Tidal livestream. In the film, West is sprawled naked in bed with a phalanx of famous people, including Cosby. (All the celebrity bodies are synthetic, save for West’s wife, Kim Kardashian.)
July 7, 2016
Judge Steven O’Neill rules that Cosby did not, as he wished, have the right to confront and cross-examine Constand in a preliminary court hearing. Constand’s direct testimony was not required; the statement she gave to police, along with Cosby’s statement to the police, were sufficient evidence. O’Neill’s ruling upholds the decision from May 24.
Outside the courthouse, Brian McMonagle, one of Cosby’s attorneys, tells the press, “Today someone who has given so much to so many had his constitutional rights trampled upon.”
But Montgomery County D.A. Kevin Steele says, “The defense operated under a mistaken belief that they had a right to confront the victim at this stage. They do not. There is a rule that says otherwise. There is case law that says otherwise.”
July 18, 2016
Sources tell Page Six that Cosby, now 79 years old, is “completely blind,” confined to his home in Pennsylvania, and “in his own personal hell.”
July 29, 2016
Cosby drops his lawsuit against Constand. He was trying to recover money he gave her in a confidential settlement based on the accusation that Constand breached the terms of their 2006 agreement when she agreed to cooperate with Pennsylvania authorities.
In a statement, one of Constand’s attorneys, Dolores Troiani, called Cosby’s lawsuit a “blatant attempt” at intimidation and said the dismissal “is a victory for all victims.”
August 15, 2016
A federal appeals court rejects Cosby’s request to reseal court documents, including the deposition from 2005, arguing that his appeal was moot after the contents of the documents were so widely publicized.
“Resealing the documents would not provide Cosby with any meaningful relief, and thus this appeal is moot. The contents of the documents are a matter of public knowledge, and we cannot pretend that we could change that fact by ordering them resealed.”
August 17, 2016
Cosby replaces his lead attorney, the Washington D.C.-based Monique Pressley, with Angela Agrusa who is the head of litigation of Liner L.L.P., based in L.A. and N.Y.C. firm. Last month, Agrusa replaced Christopher Tayback, Cosby’s L.A.-based attorney. Gloria Allred tells People magazine that Cosby is “playing musical chairs” with his defense team and “will not be able to avoid having to face a jury in a court of law.”
September 6, 2016
Cosby’s trial date is set for June 5, 2017. Though the court hoped to schedule the trial months earlier, Cosby’s attorney was “extraordinarily over-scheduled.”
October 27, 2016
In a new court filing, Cosby’s attorneys say that Cosby is “legally blind” and has registered with a state commission for the blind in Massachusetts. In the document, Cosby’s attorneys claim “no 79-year-old blind man could possibly defend himself against a claim that he sexually assaulted someone he supposedly met once, half a century ago.” Prosecutors argue that Cosby’s vision has no bearing on his ability to assist in his own defense.
November 15, 2016
Atlanta-based Bounce TV announces it will resume airing reruns of The Cosby Show, starting December 19. According to the AP, Bounce says it takes the allegations against Cosby “seriously,” but that research shows black audiences “see a distinction between Bill Cosby, the man, and the iconic TV character Cliff Huxtable.”
December 5, 2016
A judge rules that the 2005 deposition — in which Cosby admits to having sex with women outside of his marriage and, more explosively, to obtaining drugs with the intent of giving them to women he wanted to have sex with — can be used in the criminal case against him. Cosby’s attorneys had argued that Cosby only answered those questions based on a belief that he would never be criminally prosecuted; that then-district attorney Bruce Castor had promised to never bring a criminal case against Cosby. But the current district attorney, Kevin Steele, claimed that this agreement never existed, and that the immunity Cosby described could only be extended to witnesses (not, as Cosby was and is, a defendant).
January 26, 2017
Ben’s Chili Bowl paints over mural with Cosby’s face in it. The restaurant’s website calls the project “New Year, New Mural” and notes that “the mural alongside Ben’s was painted in 2012.” The Aniekan Udofia painting featured Cosby as well as Chuck Brown and President Barack Obama. It had been defaced in the wake of renewed allegations against Cosby, notably by an artist who covered Cosby’s face with that of Kim Jong-un.
The Ali family, owners of Ben’s Chili Bowl, have not reneged on their longstanding vow to serve Cosby for free, an offer the Alis also hold out for the Obamas. And Cosby is on a list of 50 nominees for faces for the new mural, as well as Barack and Michelle Obama, Alice Walker, Dave Chappelle, Angela Davis, Martin Luther King Jr., Maya Angelou, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Oprah Winfrey.
February 24, 2017
A judge rules that only one of Cosby’s past accusers can testify at his criminal trial. Prosecutors had selected 13 women to put forward as possible “prior bad act” witnesses. The woman who is allowed to testify alleges Cosby assaulted her in 1996; based on prior reporting, it is likely that she is the woman who goes by the pseudonym “Kacey.”
Kacey came forward at a press conference led by Gloria Allred on January 7, 2015. She says that, while she was working as an assistant for Cosby’s William Morris agent, Cosby drugged and assaulted her. She thought of Cosby as a “father figure or favorite uncle.” During a one-on-one meeting at the Bel Air Hotel — Cosby, she says, told her they would be talking about her professional future — Cosby made her take a “large white pill” to “relax.” She woke up in bed next to him. He was only wearing a bathrobe.
February 27, 2017
Due to concerns raised by Cosby’s legal team about negative pretrial publicity, a judge ruled that a jury from another county in Pennsylvania will be brought in for the sexual assault trial.
In Montgomery County, where the alleged sexual assault of Andrea Constand took place, any jury would be “tainted” due to the publicity around the case, Cosby’s lawyers argued. Cosby’s lawyers were especially concerned because of district attorney Kevin R. Steele, who is leading the case against Cosby: While running for office in 2015, Steele ran campaign ads about his opponent Bruce Castor’s failure to prosecute Cosby when Constand initially brought the charges years ago.
Those ads ran throughout Montgomery County and, according to Cosby’s lawyers, likely damaged any chance Cosby would have of getting an impartial jury.
March 21, 2017
Two new Dave Chappelle stand-up specials are released on Netflix. In The Age of Spin: Dave Chappelle Live at the Hollywood Palladium, he dedicates almost 20 minutes to riffing on Cosby, the allegations against him, and reckoning with his hero’s complicated legacy:
The ’70s were a wild era and while all this was going on, Bill Cosby raped 54 people. Holy shit, that’s a lot of rapes, man. This guy’s putting up real numbers. He’s like the Steph Curry of rape. Man, that’s a lot of rapes! Fifty-four! If he had raped 30 less people, that’s still two dozen rapes! Don’t forget, each one of these rapes has eight hours of sleep in it. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s over 400 hours of rape. It only takes 65 hours to get a pilot’s license. If rapes were aircrafts, this nigga is Top Gun for sure.
He also describes being heckled at a recent show by a white woman who yelled and approached the stage during a different Cosby bit.
What does she think? Does she think that I don’t know that rape is wrong? Does she think that maybe I don’t have empathy for Bill Cosby’s alleged victims?
Chappelle had spoken briefly with the New York Times about his feelings for Cosby in an interview on March 17. “The Bill Cosby thing was tough for me. I’m not saying that to detract from his alleged victims at all. But he was a hero of mine.”
April 10, 2017
Cosby’s children’s book, Little Bill, makes the American Library Association list of most banned books of 2016. Coming in at no. 9, the book is an atypical inclusion; it was challenged not on the basis of its content but “because of criminal sexual allegations against the author.”
April 28, 2017
Judge O’Neill rules that prosecutors will be able to present evidence that Cosby obtained quaaludes with the intent of sexually pursuing women. While the information about drugs will be admissible, O’Neill rejected the prosecution’s request to keep in references to “Spanish fly,” a drug-slash-aphrodisiac Cosby joked about giving girls in his youth.
May 15, 2017
Cosby’s daughters, Ensa and Erinn, release an audio statement to “The Breakfast Club” radio show defending their father. Ensa says she believes racism played a huge role in the treatment of her father, who has “been publicly lynched by the media.”
May 22, 2017
Jury selection begins in Pittsburgh at the Allegheny County Courthouse. The pool is drawn from here, rather than Montgomery County, because of Cosby’s team’s concerns that it would be impossible to obtain an impartial jury from a local pool.
May 24, 2017
Jury selection is completed. The 12-person jury only includes two African-Americans — one man, one woman — which was a source of dismay for Cosby’s legal team, who alleged that the rejection of one black woman who had said she could serve fairly was proof of “a systematic exclusion of African-Americans” from the jury. According to the New York Times, “The jury has a total of seven men and five women, a majority of whom appeared to be between the ages of 20 and 40. There were two women in their 50s and 60s, and one man in his 70s or 80s.”
June 5, 2017
The criminal trial of Cosby begins. Both sides present their opening arguments and the prosecution calls its first witness: Kelly Johnson (formerly known only as “Kacey”), who says Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in 1996. She is the only prior bad acts witness Judge O’Neill is allowing to testify.
June 12, 2017
The defense rests after making its case with only one witness in only six minutes. (The prosecution rested on Friday, June 9.) In closing arguments, defense attorney Brian McMonagle portrays Constand as an untrustworthy narrator who told inconsistent statements to police and is continuing to lie about the “romantic” nature of her relationship with Cosby. The prosecution focuses on Cosby’s own words about drugs, sex, and consent: “It’s not romantic. It’s criminal.”
The jury begins deliberations at 5:25 p.m.
June 17, 2017
After deliberating for over 50 hours, the jury remains deadlocked on all counts and Judge O’Neill declares a mistrial. D.A. Kevin Steele announces immediately that he will retry Cosby.
July 6, 2017
A date is set for the retrial: November 6, 2017. Judge Steven O’Neill, who set the date and presided over the first criminal trial, is expected to oversee the retrial as well, which is set to be held in the same courtroom in Montgomery County as the original trial.
August 22, 2017
Cosby gets a new attorney and a new retrial date. He will be represented by Thomas Mesereau, the attorney best known for winning Michael Jackson’s acquittal in his 2005 child molestation trial. As for the retrial, Judge Steven T. O’Neill set the tentative start date for March 15 and expects it to run until April 1. Unlike in the original trial, the jury is expected to be drawn locally, from Montgomery County.
January 18, 2018
In a new court filing, prosecutors ask that Judge Steven T. O’Neill allow 19 of Cosby’s accusers to testify as “prior bad acts” witnesses at the retrial. Cosby’s misconduct fits a pattern, they allege, and is “distinctive and so nearly identical as to become the signature of the same perpetrator.” The prosecution selected these 19 women out of a pool of 50, all of whom were interviewed.
Among the possible witnesses, as Billboard reports, are supermodel Janice Dickinson; “a woman who says Cosby drugged and assaulted her after she opened for him at a Denver club in 1980; and a talent agency secretary who says Cosby spiked her drinks and tried to force her to give him oral sex in 1965.”
At the trial last June, prosecutors hoped that 13 prior bad acts witnesses would be allowed to speak. The judge permitted only one: Kelly Johnson, who says Cosby drugged and assaulted her in 1996 when she was working as an assistant for his William Morris agent.
January 22, 2018
Cosby performs a comedy set at LaRose, a jazz club in Philadelphia, as a part of a variety show to honor jazz musician Tony Williams. It is his first performance since 2015. During his set, he jokes about being legally blind and tells one young audience member, “I used to be a comedian.” He does not discuss the upcoming retrial.
According to The Morning Call, one protestor stood outside the jazz club during Cosby’s set, “a woman who frequently hounded Cosby at his trial last year. She played Helen Reddy’s song ‘I Am Woman’ on a loop and held up a sign that said, ‘Perseverance to all survivors.’”
February 26, 2018
Cosby’s daughter, Ensa, dies at the age of 44 from renal disease. In May 2017, she and her sister Erinn released an audio statement to “The Breakfast Club” radio show defending their father, saying he had “been publicly lynched in the media.”
March 5, 2018
At the first of two days of pretrial hearings, Cosby’s team tries, and fails, to have the case dismissed. They claim that phone and travel records for Cosby and Constand contradict Constand’s testimony about when she was assaulted.
The date of the alleged incident is the crux of the case: If the night in question occurred more than 12 years before December 30, 2015 — when Cosby was charged — then it was outside the statute of limitations and the judge would have no choice but to dismiss the charges. Cosby’s lawyers will argue that the encounter happened in December 2003 not, as Constand says, January 2004. (Prosecutors have placed the event in January or February 2004).
Judge Steven T. O’Neill, who also presided over last June’s trial, allows the case to proceed. “This is a matter that will be determined by a jury ultimately.”
Cosby’s lawyers also try to have the case dismissed over what they say was a failure to “properly investigate claims made by another potential witness, Marguerite Jackson, a student adviser at Temple,” the New York Times reports. Constand says she never met Jackson; Jackson says Constand told her about the alleged drugging and assault, but then told her later that it never happened. The judge allowed for the possibility that Jackson can testify. If she does, Cosby’s team is expected to rely on her as a key witness.
March 15, 2018
The judge rules that as many as five of Cosby’s accusers can testify at the trial. Judge O’Neill does issue some parameters: The five must be selected from the eight most recent allegations, dating back to 1982. Prosecutors had asked that 19 women to be allowed to testify. At the previous trial, only one “prior bad acts” witness, Kelly Johnson, was permitted to take the stand.
The prosecution aims to demonstrate that Cosby’s assault of Constand was not an isolated incident but part of a pattern of behavior — a signature crime for which Cosby had a modus operandi: A promise of professional mentorship, a drugged drink, a violation while his victim was impaired or unconscious.
March 22, 2018
Cosby’s attorneys claim that Judge Steven T. O’Neill is biased because is wife works with sexual assault victims. Citing his recent ruling on prior bad acts witnesses — up to five of whom will be allowed to testify — as proof of this bias, Cosby’s lawyers ask that O’Neill be replaced.
O’Neill’s wife, Deborah, as the Guardian reports, is “a psychotherapist at the University of Pennsylvania and coordinates a team providing support and advocacy for student sexual assault victims. In 2012, she wrote her doctoral dissertation on acquaintance rape, the type of assault at issue in Cosby’s criminal case.” She has described herself as an “activist and advocate for assault victims”.
Cosby’s lawyers claim that, last year, Deborah donated money to a group “linked to an organization that is planning a protest outside the forthcoming retrial.”
April 9, 2018
The retrial begins in Norristown, Pa. The prosecution, led by district attorney Kevin Steele, describes Cosby as a serial sexual predator. The next day, the defense claims Constand is a calculating con artist who with “history of financial problems, until she hits the financial jackpot with Bill Cosby.” As defense attorney Thomas Mesereau tells the jury in his opening arguments:
“You’re going to be saying to yourself in this trial: What does she want from Bill Cosby? And you already know the answer: Money, money, and lots more money.”
April 10 – 13, 2018
These prior bad acts witnesses are a key part of the prosecution’s strategy to demonstrate Cosby is a serial predator, consistently committing a signature crime.
And these women’s stories do share a number of common elements, as ThinkProgress reported from Norristown:
Each woman describes taking a drink or a pill from Cosby, feeling dizzy shortly thereafter, then being in a state of shock, unable to move, while Cosby sexually assaulted them. Many remember waking up the following morning unsure as to how they arrived at the state in which they found themselves: With clothes in disarray or removed, feeling sore, or sticky—or both. They all refer to the other Cosby accusers as brave, many citing the reports of other women—and the desire to support those women—as their inspiration for speaking out.
April 13, 2018
Andrea Constand takes the stand. She details how she felt during the alleged assault, as Vulture reports:
“I wanted it to stop. I couldn’t say anything. I was trying to get my hands to move, my legs to move and the message just wasn’t getting there … I couldn’t fight him off.”
Asked by Kristen Feden, assistant district attorney, why she is here, Constand said, “For justice.”
During cross-examination, which continued on April 16, she denies that she concocted a “scheme” to falsely accuse Cosby of sexual assault for money. As the Associated Press reports, she “remained calm and composed throughout her testimony, which lasted more than seven hours over two days.”
April 17, 2018
Judge O’Neill rules that the deposition in which Cosby says he obtained Quaaludes for women he wanted to have sex with is admissible. This is a big win for the prosecution, as it is the closest thing they have to an admission of guilt on Cosby’s part. The defense fought to have the deposition kept out of the courtroom at the first trial and at this retrial, and have failed to do so both times.
At a pretrial hearing, Judge O’Neill had said he would not be ruling on the admissibility of the deposition until it arises during the retrial itself. “This defendant is not on trial for what he said in his deposition,” O’Neill said.
April 23, 2018
The defense rests. Closing arguments begin the next day.
April 26, 2018
Cosby is found guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand. After deliberating for 13 hours, the jury convicts Cosby on all three counts.
Cosby is released on bail to his home in Cheltenham to await his sentencing, which is expected to take 60 to 90 days.
Bounce TV announces it will pull all reruns of The Cosby Show, effective immediately.
Temple University revokes Cosby’s honorary doctorate.
May 3, 2018
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces it has voted to expel Cosby along with convicted rapist Roman Polanski.
May 7, 2018
The Kennedy Center revokes Cosby’s Kennedy Center Honor and Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
The Kennedy Center is revoking Bill Cosby’s Kennedy Center Honor and his Mark Twain prize, saying “his actions have overshadowed [his] accomplishments.” pic.twitter.com/sJwPJSV5sp
— Jessica Goldstein (@jessicagolds) May 7, 2018
May 18, 2018
Judge O’Neill reveals the names of the jurors, though he tells them not to discuss their deliberations publicly or with the press. In his ruling, O’Neill acknowledges “a qualified First Amendment right to the names of the jurors in this case” while adding that “the privacy concerns of the jurors … are of paramount importance to this court.”
He says he waited three weeks after the close of the trial to release the names in the hopes that attention on the Cosby case had died down and the jurors would be subject to less harassment and scrutiny.