Comedian Bill Cosby goes on trial Monday on sexual assault charges stemming from a 2004 encounter at his home near Philadelphia. Andrea Constand will be the star witness during the trial. Cosby could get 10 years in prison if convicted.
Key events in the criminal sex assault case:
2002: Cosby meets Andrea Constand at Philadelphia’s Temple University, his alma mater, where she manages the women’s basketball team and he serves as a celebrity booster and trustee. (The Associated Press does not usually identify people who say they are the victims of sexual assault, but Constand’s lawyer has said her name can be used.)
Early 2004: Cosby invites Constand to his home to discuss her career options. According to his deposition, he gave her three blue pills to alleviate stress before lying on the couch with her and engaging in sex acts. Cosby was 66, Constand was 30.
January 2005: Constand, now back home in suburban Toronto, tells her mother something happened with Cosby. They go to police, who suggest they record him on a phone call. On the call, Cosby said he engaged in “digital penetration” but refuses to say what pills he gave her. The case is referred to Pennsylvania authorities. Cosby lawyer Walter Phillips calls the allegations “pointedly bizarre.” Constand tells The Philadelphia Inquirer, “I did what I thought was right.”
February 2005: Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor announces that he will not charge Cosby. He considers the case weak, citing the yearlong delay, Constand’s continued contact with Cosby and the fact other accusers now coming forward had never filed a police complaint.
March 2005: Constand sues Cosby for sexual battery and defamation.
November 2006: Cosby settles the case after giving four days of deposition testimony about his affairs with young women over 50 years. A confidentiality agreement prevents either side from discussing the case. Cosby resumes his career.
October 2014: Comedian Hannibal Burress calls Cosby a rapist in a standup act caught on video and shared online. More women accuse Cosby of assaulting them.
December 2014: The Associated Press petitions to have documents in Constand’s 2005 lawsuit unsealed. Cosby fights the request.
July 2015: U.S. Judge Eduardo Robreno grants the AP’s motion, saying “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.” The documents include deposition excerpts in which Cosby acknowledges giving a series of women pills and alcohol before sex.
August 2015: Montgomery County authorities reopen the 2005 criminal case, aware the 12-year statute of limitations for aggravated sexual assault has not yet run.
December 30, 2015: Cosby is arrested, enters a not guilty plea and is released on $1 million bail.
2016: Cosby’s lawyers repeatedly seek to have the case dismissed over the 12-year delay and other legal issues. Judge Steven O’Neill denies their motions.
June 5, 2017: Cosby, 79, will go on trial.
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