Bill Cosby sexual assault case: Timeline of key events

Bill Cosby is about to be retried in Montgomery County on charges of aggravated indecent assault. Here’s a timeline of the case and the growing allegations of sexual misconduct against the entertainer.


December 2001: Andrea Constand begins work as director of Operations for the Temple University women’s basketball team. In that role, she meets renowned alumnus Bill Cosby, who becomes her mentor and friend.


January 2004: Constand visits Cosby’s mansion in Cheltenham Township. There, prosecutors say, Cosby drugs Constand and sexually assaults her while she is unconscious.


January 2005Constand reports the incident to Cheltenham Township police. Detectives interview Constand and Cosby.

February 2005: Bruce L. Castor Jr., then the Montgomery County district attorney, says there is insufficient evidence to file criminal charges against Cosby.

March 2005: Constand sues Cosby in federal court in Philadelphia. Though they are not named publicly, as many as 13 other women are prepared to testify against the television star, according to Constand’s lawyers.


November 2006: Cosby and Constand settle out of court.


October 2014: During a performance in Philadelphia, comedian Hannibal Buress assails Cosby as a rapist. Video of his remarks, delivered during a standup routine, go viral and suddenly bring a new spotlight to the decade-old sex-assault allegations.

November 2014: Cosby cancels public appearances. NBC scraps a Cosby show that was under development.

December 2014: Cosby steps down from Temple’s board of trustees.


Winter and spring of 2015: Dozens of women come out publicly with allegations of unwanted sexual contact by Cosby. Nearly all their claims are beyond the statute of limitations, some even decades old. Cosby’s lawyers say he has never assaulted anyone.

July 6, 2015: A federal judge in Philadelphia unseals portions of Cosby’s deposition from the 2005 civil case. In it, Cosby admits to obtaining sedatives to give to women before sex.

July 10, 2015: Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman reopens the criminal probe into Constand’s claim.

October 2015: Cosby becomes a central figure in the race for Montgomery County District Attorney between Kevin R. Steele, Ferman’s first assistant, and Castor, who is seeking his old job. Steele runs a TV ad claiming Castor failed to prosecute Cosby. Castor counters that Steele could still act to arrest Cosby.

Oct. 26, 2015: Constand files a defamation lawsuit against Castor, claiming he undermined her credibility for political gain.

Nov. 4, 2015: Steele wins the election over Castor.

Dec. 30, 2015: Steele announces a charge of felony indecent assault against Cosby, a crime that carries a maximum penalty of up to a decade in prison. Cosby, now 78 and walking with a cane, posts 10 percent of his $1 million bail. His lawyers vow “a vigorous defense against this unjustified charge” and predict he’ll be exonerated.


January 2016: A purported verbal “non-prosecution agreement” between Castor and Cosby becomes public. Cosby’s lawyers say the entertainer received a legally binding agreement from Castor not to prosecute; in exchange, Cosby agreed to testify in Constand’s civil suit. The deal was not put in writing.

Feb. 3, 2016: A Montgomery County judge rejects Bill Cosby’s motion to dismiss his sex assault case, ruling that a promise from the county’s former district attorney was not legally binding and didn’t bar prosecutors from ever charging the comedian.

May 24, 2016: Cosby is appears in court in Montgomery County for a preliminary hearing, the first evidentiary hearing in the sexual-assault case. He is ordered to stand trial.

Dec. 5, 2016: Cosby loses a major legal battle when a judge rules that prosecutors can tell jurors about damaging, decade-old testimony in which Cosby acknowledged offering drugs to women he wanted to seduce. The ruling means the once-sealed deposition can become part of evidence prosecutors use at trial.


Feb. 24, 2017:  Judge Steven T. O’Neill rules that prosecutors can call only one additional accuser to testify at Cosby’s trial, a key legal win for the entertainer. Steele had asked to have 13 women testify about their accusations against Cosby.

April 12, 2017: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court declines to take up Cosby’s appeal of judge’s decision allowing prosecutors to rely on police statements rather than direct testimony from Constand at a preliminary hearing.

May 22-24 2017: Lawyers, the judge, and court staff travel to Pittsburgh for jury selection ahead of Cosby’s trial. Seven men and five women are selected for the panel.

June 5, 2017: Cosby’s first trial gets underway in Norristown.

June 6-7 2017: Speaking publicly for the first time, Constand takes the witness stand and describes the alleged 2004 assault, saying the three blue pills Cosby gave her left her woozy and powerless to react. Cosby’s lawyers point out inconsistencies in her account.

June 9, 2017: The prosecution closes its case by having the jurors listen to excerpts from Cosby’s deposition in which he admitted obtaining powerful sedatives to give to women with whom he hoped to have sexual encounters.

June 12, 2017: The defense calls one witness and rests its case. Cosby does not take the stand. Lawyers on both sides present impassioned closing arguments. The jury begins deliberations.

June 17, 2017: Jury announces it is deadlocked and the judge declares a mistrial after 52 hours of deliberation over five days. Prosecutors announce immediately that they will retry the case.

June 22-26, 2017: In interviews with the Inquirer and Daily News, two jurors talked about their view of the trial. One said that he thought Constand was lying and was simply “well-coached” in her testimony. Another said he believed Cosby was guilty, citing Cosby’s own words in his deposition read at trial as the evidence that convinced him.

August 21, 2017: Cosby’s publicist announces that there is a new legal team for the second trial, led by Tom Mesereau, a Los Angeles lawyer who previously defended Michael Jackson.


January 18, 2018: Prosecutors ask to call 19 additional accusers as witnesses at Cosby’s second trial. The defense opposes their efforts.

March 15, 2018:  O’Neill rules that five women in addition to Constand can testify at the retrial about their own allegations that Cosby sexually assaulted them.

April 2, 2018: Jury selection is scheduled to begin in Norristown with jurors from Montgomery County.

Keep up with every development in Bill Cosby’s case with our day-by-day recapstimeline, and explainer on everything you need to know about the case and its major players.