Secrets from The Cosby Show set
BILL Cosby will be sentenced on Monday in the United States after being found guilty of three charges of aggravated indecent assault.
Several women who alleged Cosby assaulted them, whose cases were not followed through to criminal charges, have requested to testify at the sentencing. The judge has denied this motion.
Cosby was found guilty in April this year, of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004.
Ms Constand, a former basketball star, was working at the athletic department at Philadelphia's Temple University when the alleged assault took place in Cosby's home.
She claimed Cosby drugged her to a state of semiconsciousness and groped and digitally raped her.
Cosby is permitted to speak at his sentencing but it is unclear whether he will do so.
The convicted sex offender has fought hard with his powerhouse legal team to have his case thrown out, but his sentencing on Monday could see him face up to thirty years prison time for his crimes.
The allegations against Cosby are numerous, heinous and horrific. His victims are in the dozens and span decades, between 1965 and 2004.
Many are high profile actors, models and businesswoman, including supermodel and TV host Janice Dickinson, actor and supermodel Beverly Johnson, Law and Order actor Michelle Hurd and numerous Playboy Playmates.
Many follow a similar narrative, which Cosby corroborated in his own deposition.
Cosby drugged women and assaulted them while they were unconscious or semiconscious.
His pursuance of women was often aided by modelling or talent agents, who would connect him with women who were financially "not doing well".
He would offer them drinks secretly laced with Quaaludes, a now banned and discontinued drug which is a barbiturate, hypnotic sedative.
Cosby suggested consent was granted by accepting to meet up with him, and drugs were offered in the same manner as he would offer a drink.
"I'm a pretty decent reader of people and their emotions in these romantic sexual things, whatever you want to call them," Cosby said, when deposed in 2005 following the assault accusation by Ms Constand.
Many of his victims describe blacking out, feeling lost, sipping their drink and then having "face-in-plate" syndrome, being "picked up by their underarms" and carried to other rooms, and waking up covered in semen.
COSBY FLAUNTED HIS INFIDELITIES WHILE FILMING THE COSBY SHOW
Joseph C Phillips played Lt Martin Phillips, the husband of one of Cosby's on-screen daughters on the hit sitcom The Cosby Show.
In 2015, he wrote a blog post titled, Of Course Bill Cosby is Guilty, in which he details various lecherous behaviours by Cosby behind the scenes, over the duration of filming The Cosby Show.
He describes a pattern of constant exposure to Cosby's streams of women on set, where the star's work life and personal life blended, normalising his odd behaviour to the young child actors and fellow adult co-stars and crew.
On The Cosby Show, "It seemed to be common knowledge that Bill played around".
"Bill sleeping around was a fact that, like, the air, seemed to just be," he wrote in the since-deleted post which has been partially preserved by The Hollywood Reporter.
"You didn't have to see it or hear it to know that it existed. … here was also the seeming unending parade of pretty young women that streamed through the studio."
But as the rape allegations surfaced, Mr Phillips felt "increasingly disturbed".
Mr Phillips had a chance meeting with one of Cosby's former female protégés, and she confessed to him that Cosby had assaulted her.
"Through tears, she told me her story. She cursed him for violating both her trust and her body. "I was also angry at myself for falling for the okey-doke, of putting Bill on a pedestal."
COSBY GAVE OFF A DARK ENERGY THAT COULDN'T BE CONCEALED
Many female cast members of from The Cosby Show have stood by Bill Cosby, offering either their "unwavering support" or opting not to comment.
Lisa Bonet, who played Denise Huxtable, however, has said she "always" sensed a darkness around her on-screen father, speaking of his sinister energy on set.
"There was no knowledge on my part about his specific actions, but … there was just energy.
And that type of sinister, shadow energy cannot be concealed," she told Net-A-Porter.
While starring in The Cosby Show, Ms Bonet appeared in Angel Heart with Mickey Rourke, which featured her in a sex scene. Cosby had her fired from the show over the raunchy career turn, calling it "creative differences".
Ms Bonet and Mr Phillips are the few who have openly distanced themselves from Cosby.
"I don't need to say, 'I told you so'," she said in the lead up to his trial. "I just leave all that to karma and justice and what will be."
Alleged victim Heidi Thomas told her story to The Cut of being linked up with Cosby in 1984, with the promise of receiving mentorship on her acting.
She recounts being secretly drugged while she tried to read lines for the famous actor: "I had a monologue prepared. He seemed unimpressed.
"He said, 'Let's try a cold read,' so he pulls out a script. The scene was set in a bar; the character was someone who was inebriated.
"He poured a glass of white wine. And he said, use this as a prop - now, that means you're going to have to sip on it, of course. I really don't remember much, except waking up in his bedroom. He was naked, and he was forcing himself into my mouth."
THE DEFENCE OF BILL COSBY
Cosby's defence team sought to narrow the scope of the trial to the single prosecuting victim, Ms Constand. While Cosby's accusers number up to 39, many fall out of the statute of limitations for pursuance by the state. Cosby's first on record accuser fingers him as assaulting her in 1965, 53 years ago.
During the first trial of the state of Pennsylvania vs. Bill Cosby, for three counts of aggravated indecent assault of Ms Constand, the prosecution filed a motion to allow 13 more of Cosby's accusers to be introduced to the court and jury to show of "pattern of operation".
Cosby and his legal term expressed their opposition to this, and were successful.
Only one other victim was allowed to testify, likely because her assault had taken place relatively recently, in the nineties.
However by June 2017, ten months into proceedings, the judge declared a mistrial. He said the jury were "hopelessly deadlocked". He set dates for the commencement of a second trial within a month, but Cosby's team tarried.
THE SECOND TRIAL AND GUILTY VERDICT
After many delays to the commencement of the second trial, while Cosby changed from high profile lawyer to high profile lawyer (he was represented by lawyers who have worked with Michael Jackson, and members of OJ Simpson's "Dream Team"), the second trial began.
At the start of this year, his legal team mounted a case to have the charges thrown out all together, claiming that Ms Constand's allegations against Cosby were "fabrications", that the actor was not in Pennsylvania at the time of the assault.
This was despite Cosby's own previous deposed statement on the encounter, saying they "had sex", admitting he obtained Quaaludes from a doctor for their non-prescribed recreational use: "the same way you have a drink."
In the second trial, recent Pennsylvania law changes allowed 19 of Cosby's other alleged victims to testify at the trial.
In the lead up to the sentencing, Cosby's lawyers made a number of pleas to have to case overturned. Last Wednesday, Cosby's lawyer requested that the presiding judge, Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill, recuse himself from presiding over the sentencing.
The defence have also alleged that the victim is skirting the statute of limitations, also requiring the case to be thrown out.
The District Attorney labelled the motions "a desperate, 11th-hour attempt to stop the sentencing."
Camille Cosby, Bill's wife, has stood firm by her husband throughout the trial, often dismissing the victim's testimonies as "affairs" that her and her husband have dealt with privately.
Filing a complaint to the Pennsylvania ethics board, Mrs Cosby said in a statement: "My husband was improperly prosecuted in a trial presided over by an unethical judge."
Cosby's lawyer Stephen Green, and Mrs Cosby herself, have accused the judge of being biased because of a political rivalry with a key witness dating back to 1999. The judge has declined their requests, saying they came too late and were without merit.
Cosby is 81 years old, legally blind, and his lawyers have argued that his advanced age and health issues should be a mitigating factor in his sentencing.
He faces up to ten years on each of the three guilty charges, however there is a possibility that the three of these could be merged.
In the meantime, Cosby has been officially ruled "a sexually violent predator", confined to his suburban home in Pennsylvania on a bail of US$1 million. He is required to wears a GPS tracking anklet.
COSBY DOWNFALL BROUGHT BY A STAND-UP COMEDY ROUTINE
Cosby had been dogged by rape allegations for over a decade before his conviction, but nobody really paid attention until a stand-up routine by Hannibal Buress went viral.
"Google Bill Cosby rape," he implored the audience, after a long, emphatic sequence about the TV actor's glaring hypocrisy and the public's refusal to acknowledge his crimes, despite them being documented online.
"Bill Cosby has the f***ing smuggest old black man public persona that I hate. He gets on TV, 'Pull your pants up black people, I was on TV in the '80s!'" Buress said, imitating the now fallen actor.
"'I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom!' Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches."
The routine, which Buress had been performing for some months before it was filmed by a journalist on this particular night, went viral in 2015. Before #MeToo, Buress became a reluctant feminist hero, who gave scores of women permission to tell their stories.
Buress has a complicated relationship with the routine and movement, refusing to take credit for unearthing the cover up.
"It is conflicting, because people think I'm like this amazing guy or something. I'm a decent guy," he said.
But Burress's impact is undeniable. As the clip went viral, the news coverage of the victims stories became unignorable.
In the same year, 2015, former President Barack Obama waded into the conversation, offering his own explicit explanation of what constitutes assault. "If you give a woman, or a man, for that matter, a drug and then have sex with that person without consent? That's rape. And I think this country, or any civilised country, should have no tolerance for rape."
- Phoebe Loomes is a freelance writer. Find her on Twitter @dollyybird