On December 30, 2015, Bill Cosby surged back into headlines after being charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault in Pennsylvania. Over the past months, the case has faded from media scrutiny, leaving many wondering what the result of the charges were. Before going over the current proceedings, let’s look at how Cosby got into his current situation.
Bill Cosby’s Repeated Deflections
While it was the first time many people had heard of Cosby’s alleged misconduct, the 2015 charges brought against him by Andrea Constand were far from the first accusations leveled against him.
The first allegation against Cosby was now over 50 years ago, in 1965. At the time, Kristina Ruehli told her then-boyfriend that Cosby drugged and assaulted her in Cosby’s Beverly Hills home. However, the incident was not reported to legal authorities until 2005, as part of Andrea Constand’s first case against Cosby.
Later, in the early 80s, freelance paparazzo John Milward decided not to run an article in which Joan Tarshis made similar accusations. More than a decade later, a Playboy Playmate gave a video-recorded interview where she made similar allegations, making her the third woman to make similar accusations against Cosby without knowing anyone else had accused him of drugging and raping them. This interview, originally intended as part of an exposé on Playboy, was never published.
On February 1, 2000, a 20 year old woman accused Cosby of sexually assaulting her, though after questioning Cosby, the D.A. declined to prosecute.
Bill Cosby and Andrea Constand
It was in 2004 when Andrea Constand accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault and had her complaint thrown out due to insufficient credible evidence. This motivated Constand to file a civil claim against Cosby, with 13 woman being specified as additional victims in the prosecution’s subpoena.
Leading up to the case, several women went to the media to outline their experiences with Cosby. Again, all of the stories about Bill Cosby were very similar: that Cosby drugged them and tried to engage them in sexual activity.
Hannibal Buress Draws Renewed Interest
After Cosby settled the civil suit for an undisclosed amount, controversy around him died down for almost a decade. It wasn’t until comedian Hannibal Buress ran his routine about Bill Cosby in Philadelphia that the public took a renewed interest. Buress joked about Cosby’s reputation for speaking down to other black performers, despite the many allegations against him.
The press hadn’t stopped paying attention to Cosby, though, with Time magazine running story about Cosby’s declining legacy in January 2015, nearly a year before Buress’ remarks. Through the year, the tone changed, with once-staunch defenders like Whoopi Goldberg and former Cosby regular Joseph C. Phillips publicly casting doubt on Cosby’s presumed innocence.
Cosby’s lawyers went on the offense, sending threatening letters to publications who had run stories about the charges. Many of the these publications published the threatening letters.
Bill Cosby Now in 2018
On December 30, 2015, Bill Cosby was charged with three counts of sexual assault against Andrea Constand. Cosby’s attorneys admitted they were not surprised, and alluded to recent DA elections which may have influenced the decision to press charges.
On January 11, 2016, Cosby’s lawyers filed a motion to dismiss the charges, citing a promise from an earlier district attorney that Cosby would not be prosecuted. In testimony, that DA defended the promise and decision to not charge Cosby, citing his belief that Cosby was being extorted.
On February 3, presiding Judge Steven O’Neill ruled there was no basis to dismiss the case, and scheduled a preliminary hearing for March 8.