DISGRACED actor Bill Cosby remains in prison after a parole board rejected his request for freedom in May of 2021.
A judge in 2018 branded him a “sexually violent predator” and sentenced him to between three and ten years in prison for sexual assault.
Who is Bill Cosby? What’s his background and what’s his net worth?
American entertainer Bill Cosby, 83, was born William Henry Cosby Junior in Philadelphia in 1937.
He became a national treasure during his career, which saw him produce and star in the TV sitcom The Cosby Show from 1984 to 1992.
It was rated as the number one show in America for five years.
Cosby made a fortune at the height of his fame – estimated to be in the region of £314million.
He earned fees from his shows, particularly The Cosby Show, and endorsing major brands such as Coke, Kodak and Ford.
Is Bill Cosby in jail?
Bill Cosby remains incarcerated.
A prison mug shot taken on September 4, 2020, shows him smiling, with a disposable mask hanging off his face.
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections updated his mug shot, something routinely done to document changes to inmates’ appearance as they age.
A blurry picture was later tweeted from Cosby’s verified account showing him using what appeared to be a prison telephone, pulling a mask away from his chin as he smiled.
It was accompanied by text that said: “This photo was taken by his publicist, Andrew Wyatt, during his first virtual video conference call with Mr Cosby last week.
“We are posting this to reassure his family and supporters that he is doing ok during this pandemic.”
Cosby requested his release in 2021, but The Pennsylvania Parole Board said no, citing his refusal to participate in a therapy program for sexually violent predators.
When was he found guilty of sexual assault?
Cosby was found guilty in 2018 of three counts of aggravated indecent assault for the drugging and sexual assault of his one-time friend Andrea Constand, a former Temple University administrator, at his Philadelphia home in 2004.
Around 60 women over five decades have publicly accused the Emmy award-winning actor of being a sexual predator, but statute of limitation laws meant that only one charge was ever brought to trial.
- Cosby was accused of incapacitating Constand, then aged 30, with blue pills and then molesting her while she drifted in and out of consciousness at his Philadelphia mansion in 2004
- “Bill Cosby took my beautiful, healthy young spirit and crushed it,” Constand told the court
- Jurors heard Cosby paid Constand almost $3.4m (£2.4m) in a civil settlement in 2006, despite the comedian claiming the encounter was consensual
- On April 26, 2018, Bill Cosby was convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting Constand
- The guilty verdict came less than a year after another jury was deadlocked on the charges
- The retrial was before the same judge and district attorney as the first trial – but the judge allowed five additional accusers to give evidence
- On April 27, Judge Steven O’Neill placed Cosby on house arrest at his Philadelphia mansion, ordering him to be outfitted with a GPS ankle bracelet to monitor compliance, ahead of sentencing
- In May 2018 it was announced that Cosby had been expelled by the Oscars Academy
- On September 24, 2018, he was handed a sentence of three to 10 years in prison
- Judge Steven O’Neill also fined Cosby $25,000 and ordered him to pay the costs of the prosecution
- He denied Cosby’s request for bail while lawyers appealed the conviction
- The judge also designated Cosby a “sexually violent predator” under Pennsylvania law
- Cosby will have to undergo monthly counselling and register as a sex offender with police for the rest of his life
- In 2019 the appeals judges upheld the verdict and Cosby’s sentencing
- His lawyers, in January 2020, asked the Pennsylvania High Court to review the court decision that upheld his conviction
- The Pennsylvania Supreme Court confirmed in October that it will hear Cosby’s appeal on December 1
What happened in the initial sexual assault trial?
In May 2016 District Judge Elizabeth McHugh ruled there was sufficient evidence to bring Cosby to trial after dozens of women raised similar claims and a sealed deposition in a 2006 civil lawsuit brought by Constand was made public.
In the deposition, Cosby admitted giving Constand pills.
He settled the lawsuit for an undisclosed sum after testifying about his extramarital affairs, his use of sedative drug Quaaludes to seduce women and his efforts to hide payments to former lovers from his wife.
Cosby was charged with aggravated sexual assault on December 30, 2015, just days before the 12-year statute of limitations, the maximum time after an event in which legal proceedings can be initiated would have run out.
However, on June 17 the judge declared a mistrial after the jury said they were “hopelessly deadlocked”.
What has Bill Cosby’s wife said about his conviction?
Camille has defended her husband against the allegations that he sexually assaulted numerous women.
In 2014, Camille released a statement saying that her husband had been the victim of accusations: “The man I met, and fell in love with, and whom I continue to love, is the man you all knew through his work. He is a kind man… and a wonderful husband, father and friend.”
In the 2016 deposition, Camille declined to answer questions, invoking spousal privilege when asked whether Bill had been faithful to her.
Which prison is Bill Cosby in and when will he be released?
Cosby was the first celebrity to be convicted of sexual abuse since the start of the #MeToo movement – that has brought down dozens of powerful men in entertainment, politics and other fields.
In 2018 he was imprisoned for up to ten years for sexual assault.
Cosby must spend at least three years in a Pennsylvania prison before he becomes eligible for supervised release, though he could end up behind bars for up to a decade.
On October 21, 2020, the Associated Press reported that an appeals court has upheld his conviction.
But the Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed to review two key issues in the case.
The appeal is scheduled to be heard December 1, 2020.