As the Bill Cosby sexual assault trial comes to a close in Pennsylvania after just one week, ABC News looks back at the extraordinary sequence of events that led to the public downfall and criminal prosecution of a man who was once one of America's most beloved comedians.
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Mid-January to mid-February 2004 Bill Cosby allegedly sexually assaults Andrea Constand at his home in Cheltenham Township in Montgomery, Pennsylvania.
March 31, 2004 Constand leaves her position as director of operations for Temple University's women's basketball team and returns to Canada.
May 17, 2004 Cosby's fiery speech about black America at an NAACP awards ceremony leads to a speaking tour dubbed "A Call Out With Bill Cosby" at college campuses and churches nationwide.
Jan. 13, 2005 After experiencing nightmares and a "flashback" that triggered her memory, Constand first tells her mother that Cosby assaulted her, according to court documents.
Jan. 22, 2005 Constand files a police report with the Durham Regional Police outside Toronto, sparking a criminal investigation by Montgomery County detectives in Cheltenham.
January 2005 At his attorney's midtown Manhattan law office, Cosby is interviewed by Cheltenham Police Chief John Norris, who later tells Vanity Fair that Cosby was "cooperative, congenial ... He came in wearing the typical Cosby sweater. I was asking the question, and I thought [Cosby] was a gentleman. I didn't think he was evasive. He answered every question I put to him. He said it was a consensual sexual encounter. That summarizes it."
Feb. 10, 2005 Tamara Green says in a television interview that Constand's decision to file a police report against Cosby, sparking a very public criminal investigation, prompted her to come forward with a similar allegation from the 1970s.
Feb. 17, 2005 Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor Jr. issues a press release announcing his decision not to criminally prosecute Cosby.
March 2005 Constand files a civil lawsuit against Cosby. She includes depositions from 13 other women who say they were sexually assaulted by Cosby over the years and lists them as potential witnesses. He later says in a deposition that his sexual encounter with Constand was consensual and that the only drug he gave her was Benadryl. He has denied ever sexually coercing anyone and said he had consensual encounters with some of his accusers. His attorneys have charged that some of the women can't remember the year of the alleged assaults and in other cases can't recall specifically being assaulted, only that they woke up feeling drugged. Prosecutors want to use these women's testimony in the criminal trial, but the judge rules that just one may testify. Until she takes the stand as Kelly Johnson, that witness had been known only as "Kacey."
June 23, 2005 Beth Ferrier, known in court papers as Jane Doe No. 5, reveals her identity to The Philadelphia Daily News. She alleges that during the course of what she describes as a brief affair with Cosby in 1984 when she was modeling, he drugged her coffee and sexually assaulted her. She attempted to tell her story through The National Enquirer, which was ready to go to print with it when Cosby offered the tabloid an exclusive interview in return for killing the story, which the Enquirer did, according to testimony Cosby gave in 2005. Through his representatives, Cosby has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
Fall 2005 to 2006: During four days of depositions by Constand's attorneys, Cosby testifies that he got drugs to give women for sex, that he gave The National Enquirer that interview in 2005 to stop Ferrier's previously undisclosed sexual assault allegation from surfacing, that he hid the affairs from his wife and that he routed payments to multiple women. In July 2015 the AP gets the court to release excerpts of the depositions. That month The New York Times obtains the full transcripts from the court reporter, and publishes excerpts.
June 6, 2006 In a radio interview with Howard Stern, model Janice Dickenson calls Cosby "a bad guy" who "preys on women."
June 9, 2006 Barbara Bowman is named in Philadelphia magazine as one of the women giving testimony in support of Constand's civil lawsuit against Cosby.
Nov. 8, 2006 Constand's civil lawsuit against Cosby is settled for an undisclosed amount of money.
Eight years pass
Oct. 16, 2014 Comedian Hannibal Buress makes the joke heard round the world. Performing in Cosby's hometown of Philadelphia, he mocks Cosby's public persona. "Pull your pants up, black people — I was on TV in the '80s," Buress says in the bit. "Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches."
Nov. 10, 2014 Nearly a month after the Buress routine goes viral, prompting fresh accusations, Cosby's PR team begins a concerted effort to counter the mountain of negative press and social media censure pinballing through cyberspace and launches an online meme generator. In an effort to creatively engage fans online, Cosby posts an invitation on Twitter, writing, "Meme me." Twitter responds with references to the rape claims. Soon, social media has done him more damage than good. Later he and his team shun, then embrace the media and launch defamation countersuits against his accusers.
Nov. 13, 2014 Bowman, who first publicly accused Cosby of sexual assault in 2006 and was a witness in Constand's lawsuit, pens an op-ed in The Washington Post titled "Bill Cosby raped me. Why did it take 30 years for people to believe my story?" She writes that only after a male comedian called Cosby a rapist did the "public outcry begin in earnest." Two days later, when asked about the charges on NPR's "Weekend Edition," Cosby stays silent. His lawyer John P. Schmitt later posts a notice to the comedian's website, saying Cosby will not be addressing "decade-old, discredited allegations."
"The fact that they are being repeated does not make them true," Schmitt says in the statement. "There will be no further statement from Mr. Cosby or any of his representatives."
Nov. 16, 2014 A new accuser, Joan Tarshis, tells CNN that Cosby drugged and assaulted her on two occasions in 1969.
Nov. 17, 2014 Linda Joy Traitz, a former waitress at a restaurant owned in part by Cosby, writes a long Facebook post accusing him of trying to drug her in the early '70s.
Nov. 18, 2014 Dickinson tells "Entertainment Tonight" that he drugged and raped her in 1982.
Nov. 20, 2014 Theresa Serignese comes forward as the seventh woman to accuse Cosby of sexual assault, saying that he drugged and assaulted her in 1976. His attorneys dismiss Serignese's and others' accusations as "decades old, discredited" accounts.
TV Land pulls planned repeats of "The Cosby Show" from its schedule amid the allegations. NBC and Netflix shelve projects with the comedian.
The Associated Press releases video of its Nov. 6 interview with Cosby, in which he tells the interviewer to "scuttle" footage of him refusing to comment on the assault charges.
Nov. 21, 2014 More women come forward, including Carla Ferrigno (the wife and manager of "Incredible Hulk" actor Lou Ferrigno), who says Cosby "attacked" her when she was a teenager. Serignese, a nurse, tells "20/20" that Cosby drugged and raped her in 1976 when she was 19. Others tell similar stories of being drugged and forced to have sex.
Cosby's lawyer Martin Singer tells ABC News, "The new, never-before-heard claims from women who have come forward in the past two weeks with unsubstantiated, fantastical stories about things they say occurred 30, 40 or even 50 years ago have escalated far past the point of absurdity. These brand-new claims about alleged decades-old events are becoming increasingly ridiculous, and it is completely illogical that so many people would have said nothing, done nothing and made no reports to law enforcement or asserted civil claims if they thought they had been assaulted over a span of so many years."
Cosby tells Florida Today, "I know people are tired of me not saying anything, but a guy doesn't have to answer to innuendos. People should fact-check. People shouldn't have to go through that and shouldn't answer to innuendos."
Nov. 23, 2014 Former NBC employee Frank Scotti tells The New York Daily News that he paid off eight women on Cosby's behalf, sending thousands of dollars in money orders to the women to keep them quiet. Cosby's attorney calls Scotti's tale "pure speculation," according to the original news report, and challenged him to bring forth evidence to back his story.
Nov. 26, 2014 Cosby resigns as honorary co-chair of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst's capital campaign. Citing newly uncovered 2005 depositions Cosby gave to Constand's lawyer, The New York Times reports that Cosby stated under oath that gave an exclusive interview to The National Enquirer in 2005 in return for a promise to spike Ferrier's story.
Nov. 30, 2014 In a first-person essay for Vanity Fair, model Beverly Johnson accuses Cosby of drugging her in the mid-1980s but says she doesn't believe she was raped. She later tells ABC News, "I knew that I was in danger. I knew that this was not a recreational drug of any kind ... I was really afraid. I was afraid for my life."
Dec. 1, 2014 Cosby resigns from Temple University's board of trustees.
Dec. 3, 2014 Cosby breaks his silence on Twitter to thank Whoopi Goldberg and singer Jill Scott for their support. Both women have since publicly backed off from their support.
Dec. 2, 2014 Judy Huth files a civil lawsuit against Cosby, alleging that he forced her to perform a sex act in 1974 at the Playboy Mansion when she was 15. H fires back with a lawsuit, saying she is lying and trying to extort him. She is the first woman to come forward claiming he assaulted her when she was underage. The case is ongoing, and attorney Gloria Allred has sought to freeze all discovery, pending the outcome of the criminal trial.
The Navy announces in a statement to The Associated Press that it is revoking Cosby's title of honorary chief petty officer, saying the allegations of sexual abuse against him are serious and conflict with the Navy's core values.
Dec. 13, 2014 Cosby tells New York Post reporter Stacy Brown that he expects "the black media to uphold the standards of excellence in journalism" and stay neutral. He also says his wife, Camille Cosby, is standing by him.
Dec. 15, 2014 Camille Cosby speaks out for the first time. "The man I met and fell in love with and whom I continue to love is the man you all knew through his work," she says in a statement. "A different man has been portrayed in the media over the last two months. It is the portrait of a man I do not know."
Dec. 16, 2014 The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office declines to charge Bill Cosby in response to the Huth allegations, citing the statute of limitations.
Cosby's daughter Evin Cosby gives a statement to "Access Hollywood," writing, "He is the FATHER you thought you knew. 'The Cosby Show' was my today's TV reality show. Thank you. That's all I would like to say :)"
Jan. 7, 2015 Phylicia Rashad, 66, who played Claire Huxtable, the wife of Cosby's character on "The Cosby Show," clarifies remarks she made defending her former co-star. She says that in all the years she worked with Cosby, she never saw any of the behavior described by dozens of women. In an interview with ABC News, she says, "What you're seeing is the destruction of a legacy. And I think it's orchestrated. I don't know why or who's doing it, but it's the legacy. And it's a legacy that is so important to the culture."
"We are really missing what is wrong here, which is, this is the United States of America. I know it's changing, but it's still the United States of America, and there are tenets that we live by," she continues. "There is the Constitution of the United States, which ensures innocence until proof of guilt, and that has not happened. But what has happened is declaration in the media of guilt, without proof. And a legacy is being destroyed because of it. It's being obliterated."
Jan. 7, 2015 At a press conference Allred introduces three new Cosby accusers, including "prior alleged victim six," known then only as "Kacey," who is later revealed to be Kelly Johnson. Her testimony is the sole account supporting Constand's allegations in Cosby's criminal trial. Johnson, who grows emotional as she reads her statement, charges that Cosby drugged and assaulted her in 1996 while she was working at the William Morris Agency for Cosby's then-agent Tom Lilius. She says Cosby insisted she take a "large white pill" and then sought to confirm she swallowed it, after which she woke up naked in bed with him. As with Constand and other accusers, Cosby acknowledges the encounter but says that any sex was consensual.
March 10, 2015 Model Jennifer Thompson tells the AP that Cosby pursued her aggressively and once gave her $700 after she performed a sex act on him. Former Cosby attorney Marty Singer does not immediately respond to Thompson's claims but calls the flood of similar allegations "unsubstantiated."
March 13, 2015 Former model Lise-Lotte Lublin asks Nevada legislators to rescind the state's statute of limitations on sexual assault, saying she suspects Cosby drugged her drink in a Las Vegas hotel in 1989. Through his attorneys, Cosby has always denied all accusations of wrongdoing.
May 15, 2015 In an exclusive interview with ABC News' Linsey Davis, Cosby responds to critics who call him a hypocrite for moralizing about black America while facing sexual assault allegations.
July 6, 2015 Court documents from Constand's 2005 lawsuit are released, in which Cosby admitted to giving a woman Quaaludes. Cosby said he obtained the drugs with the idea that he would give them to a woman with whom he wanted to have sex. The release follows a court battle in which Constand filed a motion to have the deposition unsealed because Cosby violated a nondisclosure agreement by responding to the newly surfaced allegations.
July 26, 2015 Spelman College, a historically black school, discontinues its endowed professorship named after Cosby and returns the remaining funds to him and his wife, who donated $20 million to college.
July 27, 2015 New York magazine photographs 35 of Cosby's accusers for a stunning cover story, in which they tell their stories of the alleged assaults and their decisions to come forward.
Sept. 24, 2015 Marquette and Fordham universities revoke Cosby's honorary degrees.
Oct. 6, 2015 Chloe Goins, a 25-year-old Las Vegas model and one of the youngest women to come forward, files a lawsuit against Cosby, claiming he drugged and assaulted her in 2008 when she was a teenager. Los Angeles prosecutors are reviewing her case after the LAPD presented the findings of its investigation. Cosby previously denied the accusations, saying he was not at the party at the Playboy mansion where the alleged assault took place, and Goins drops the lawsuit in February 2016.
Oct. 9, 2015 Allred deposes Cosby under oath in Huth's civil lawsuit.
Oct. 15, 2015 Tufts University and Goucher College strip Cosby of his honorary degrees. Days later, Amherst College rescinds Cosby's honorary doctorate — the first time in the school's history.
Oct. 21, 2015 Cosby fires his longtime lawyer Singer, one of his most vocal defenders in the press.
Nov. 4, 2015 Kevin Steele beats Bruce Castor Jr. after a bitter race for Montgomery County district attorney. The campaign was marked by deep animosity between the two men, with Steele accusing Castor in one ad of failing to bring criminal charges against Cosby and "not looking out for the victims." Castor fired back, calling that accusation "despicable, desperation politics, disgusting lies," according to The Montgomery News.
Dec. 14, 2015 Cosby files a defamation countersuit against seven women who accused him of sexual misconduct. The original suit was filed by Green in December 2014, and the other women join this year.
The comedian's lawyer Monique Pressley says in a statement obtained by ABC News that Green, Serignese, Traitz, Louisa Moritz, Bowman, Tarshis and Angela Leslie made "malicious, opportunistic and false and defamatory" comments about him.
Green, who in 2006 told People magazine that Cosby drugged and groped her, filed a defamation suit against Cosby in December 2014. Serignese, Traitz, Moritz, Bowman, Tarshis and Leslie join the suit this year.
Dec. 21, 2015 Cosby files a defamation lawsuit against Beverly Johnson. His lawyer says in a statement, "He never drugged defendant, and her story is a lie." Cosby seeks compensatory and punitive damages, a retraction of her statements and the removal from her memoir of the chapter in which the allegations are mentioned.
Dec. 30, 2015 More than 50 women have come forward, most of them within the past 13 months, but the legendary actor and comedian had never been charged with a crime — until now. Two weeks before time would have run out under the statute of limitations, Cosby is charged with drugging and sexually assaulting Constand in 2004. He does not enter a plea at his arraignment and is free on $1 million bail.
"The charge by the Montgomery County District Attorney's office came as no surprise, filed 12 years after the alleged incident and coming on the heels of a hotly contested election for this county's DA, during which this case was made the focal point," Pressley says in a statement. "Make no mistake, we intend to mount a vigorous defense against this unjustified charge, and we expect that Mr. Cosby will be exonerated by a court of law."
Dec. 31, 2015 Cosby tweets, "Thank You," to friends and family.
Feb. 2, 2016 Castor testifies that he didn't file charges in 2005 in the Cosby case because he didn't think the Constand allegations would stand up in court. Castor gives three reasons for not bringing criminal charges against Cosby in 2005: It took Constand almost a year to come forward, forensic evidence could not be collected, and she contacted a civil lawyer in Philadelphia before going to police in Canada to file a report.
Feb. 3, 2016 Judge Steven T. O'Neill, a judge on the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, rules that the Cosby case may go forward and declines to remove Steele from the case, despite the Cosby team's objections.
Feb. 16, 2016 Court documents reveal that in early February 2016, Cosby filed a federal civil lawsuit against Constand's lawyers, Dolores M. Troiani and Bebe H. Kivitz, according to The New York Times. "The exact nature of the suit is unclear," the paper reports, "because it is still partly under seal."
Feb. 22, 2016 Camille Cosby gives 2.5 hours of testimony in a deposition with lawyers for seven women suing Cosby for defamation.
Feb. 25, 2016 Bill Cosby drops his lawsuit against Beverly Johnson.
May 24, 2016 Cosby is ordered to stand trial in the sexual assault case by Montgomery County Magisterial District Court Judge Elizabeth McHugh. He waives a formal arraignment and thus enters a plea of not guilty. The case is assigned to O'Neill.
June 8, 2016 Cosby again seeks to have the indecent sexual assault charge dismissed. "The district attorney's win-at-all-costs tactics in this matter are stretching the rules past the breaking point," the motion states. The motion is denied.
July 18, 2016 Cosby is now completely blind, a source close to him tells Page Six. He has suffered from a degenerative eye condition called keratoconus, which causes the cornea to bulge.
Sept. 9, 2016 For the first time in the Constand case, Cosby's lawyers claim racism, the AP reports. "Mr. Cosby is no stranger to discrimination and racial hatred," they say in a statement. "When the media repeats her accusations — with no evidence, no trial and no jury — we are moved backwards as a country and away from the America that our civil rights leaders sacrificed so much to create."
Feb. 24, 2017 O'Neill allows one additional accuser — now known to be Johnson — to testify in the upcoming trial.
Feb 27, 2017 O'Neill agrees to a request by an attorney for Cosby to bring in a jury from outside Montgomery County for the criminal trial.
April 26, 2017 Evin Cosby issues a statement defending her father. "I know that my father loves me, loves my sisters and my mother," she said. "He loves and respects women. He is not abusive, violent or a rapist."
The Hollywood Reporter publishes a story, titled "The brash plan to defend Bill Cosby," in which Cosby defense attorney Angela Agrusa opens up about legal strategy, including the possibility of introducing the psychological theory of false memory creation. During case hearings in July 2015, Constand attorney Dolores Troiani suggested that he may suffer from somnophilia, known as a Sleeping Beauty fetish, in which the pursuer receives pleasure by waking a sleeping girl for sex. Neither Cosby nor his attorneys have ever made that claim.
May 16, 2017 In his first interview in two years, with Sirius XM radio, Cosby says he won't take the stand and reiterates the claim that racism may be partly responsible for the dozens of sexual assault allegations against him. Social media users react swiftly to Cosby's comments tying race to the sexual assault allegations.
May 25, 2017 Jury selection ends two days after it began. The jury, which was selected from Allegheny County residents, consists of seven men and five women. Two of the twelve jurors are black — roughly 17 percent. In Allegheny County, the black community accounts for 13 percent of the population, according to Suburban Stats.
June 5, 2017: Cosby's criminal trial begins. He arrives in court arm in arm with his former "Cosby Show" co-star Keshia Knight Pulliam. "The man that I've known as a child was funny and witty and smart and philanthropic and full of advice," she tells ABC News. "I can only go based on who I've experienced, and at the end of the day, it's the court's job to find the truth of the matter."