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Bill Cosby's Scandals

Bill Cosby

The Bill Cosby Sex Abuse Scandal:

His reputation is as one of America's most beloved funnymen, who also stood for achievement, education and plain old common sense.

It's the image that was carefully crafted as Cliff Huxtable in the hit NBC-TV series, "The Cosby Show", in which he played the kindly patriarch of an upwardly mobile middle class family.

And before that Cosby was loved for his stand-up comedy routines and recordings, The Fat Albert cartoons he gave voice to….

Fat Albert Poster

…and his dramatic role in an earlier, 1960's NBC series "I Spy".

Cosby in I Spy

He was even a popular pitchman.

Bill Cosby in a Jello commercial

And it was all shaken to its foundation in November 2014, when a woman named Barbara Bowman…

Barbara Bowman

...accused Cosby of sexually abusing her when she was a teenaged aspiring actress

Other women, nearly a dozen of them, made eerily similar accusations and Cosby flat out refused to address them directly. An attempt to squelch the controversy with a positive social media buzz backfired, generating criticism rather than praise.

In recent years, Cosby outraged some in the black community by demanding that poor black people pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get their houses in order.

Cosby had a new NBC sitcom called "Far From finished on the drawing boards, in which he'd be the [patriarch in a multi-generational family.

Then, Cosby's problems deepened when model and TV host Janice Dickinson…

Janice Dickinson

...joined the list of women accusing him of sexual assault.

She told Entertainment Tonight it happened in 1982 when he was performing in Lake Tahoe, California. She told the show that she wrote about the assault in a 2002 autobiography, but that Cosby and his attorneys pressured her and the publisher to remove the details. However, she insisted that her new account is "a true story", adding she never confronted Cosby about the incident.

And it quickly started taking a financial bite out of Cosby, with Netflix announcing it would postpone his upcoming standup comedy special and snowballing when NBC scrapping his new sitcom, without offering further comment, except to say it's no longer under development.

And his previous portfolio of work was affected when TV Land announced it would stop airing reruns of "The Cosby Show."

Cosby remained adamant, refusing to discuss the accusations, as in this interview with the Associated Press on November 6th, 2014.

77 year old Cosby never faced criminal charges in any of these cases and his lawyer called the accusations "discredited".

And the issue smoldered for several months until there were new fireworks the week after Independence Day, 2015. Cosby's good guy image came back to bite him when a judge granted a request by the Associated Press for access to court records from 2005, in which Cosby admitted giving Quaaludes to a 19 year old woman before they had sex in Las Vegas in 1976. And he admitted giving the strong, now banned sedative to other women too, although his lawyer stopped him from saying how many women were involved and whether they knew about it.

The judge, in deciding to unseal the damaging court testimony, cited the gap between the public and the private man. He specifically cited what he called Cosby's "public moralizing" on issues like family life, education and crime.

Many of Cosby's accusers called it the smoking gun that proved their charges of sexual abuse. But others stood up for him, like Whoopi Goldberg on ABC-TV's "The View"

Also, some in the legal profession said his admission to giving drugs to women he wanted to have sex with wasn't evidence of a crime.

In late 2015, Just weeks before the statute of limitation was due to run out, Cosby was arraigned on criminal assault charges in Pennsylvania.

The case involved a 2004 accusation that he drugged and sexually assaulted a former Temple University employee named Andrea Constand. Despite similar accusations by dozens of women, these were the first criminal charges against Cosby.

In 2005, prosecutors declined in seek charges against Cosby in the very same case. Now prosecutors said they would charge him "because it was the right thing to do."

Cosby's lawyers disagreed; calling the charges unjustified and vowed to fight them.

Then, a few days later, the comedian was dealt another blow, when his wife of almost 52 years, Camille Cosby, was ordered to testify in a civil case filed against him by seven women who said he had defamed them. A judge later ruled the deposition could be delayed until an appeal was filed.

And less than a week after that decision involving his wife, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office announced it was dropping all inquiries against Cosby in California because of lack of evidence or blockage by the statute of limitations.

Also, a California Appeals Court ruled in early 2016 that one of the comic's accusers, Janice Dickenson, had no right to force him into a deposition in her defamation suit against him – for the time being, at least.

Cosby, meantime, continues to deny the accusations of sexual assault.

To be continued…

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