NORRISTOWN, Pennsylvania—It was never just Bill Cosby. Long before reporters covered with sweep and scope how people like Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump kept up entire networks of people working to suppress negative press about them, Cosby did the same. It took many enablers, handlers, agents, and lawyers for Cosby to maintain his reputation as “America’s Dad,” so squeaky clean that he was a longtime pitchman for Jell-O.
A lawsuit filed in New York federal court last year dubbed Weinstein’s helpers the “Weinstein Sexual Enterprise.” No such lawsuit has been filed against Cosby, but in his two criminal trials, many names have been mentioned. Maybe they reached out to Andrea Constand when they realized something was up offering an “educational trust,” or published stories filled with falsehoods, or decided there wasn’t enough evidence for a criminal case at all. But they all played roles. Here they are:
The voice of the noted Hollywood pitbull, known for his nasty letters and nastier phone calls bullying anyone who crossed one of his clients, rang out in both Cosby trials. It’s his voice that’s heard leaving a voicemail for Constand after her mother called confronting Cosby. Singer’s voice, infamous for what Vanity Fair dubbed “threatening missives,” sounds warm and inviting.
“Hi, my name is Marty Singer. I work with Bill Cosby,” the message begins. “I work with him and I handle his, uh, trust and educational funds for him.”
The rest of the message is pretty short and asks Constand to call him back. She never did.
Cosby confirmed work was done by Singer when he talked to police during their 2005 investigation, saying he tried to put the Constands in touch with Singer. Cosby named Singer again in part of his civil deposition, which was read aloud in court. In the deposition, Cosby said that he put the Constands in touch with Singer to set up an “educational trust” for Andrea Constand. When asked why Singer was involved, Cosby said, “He’s a lawyer and there is a correct way to do it and it would be on paper.”
“He was one of, if not the, most important client at William Morris.”
That was how former William Morris employee Kelly Johnson described Cosby during the first criminal trial last year. Johnson didn’t testify this time; last year, she was the one woman other than Constand allowed to testify about how she believed Cosby had drugged and sexually assaulted her. In Johnson’s testimony, she said it happened while she worked for William Morris and specifically was an assistant to Cosby’s agent, Tom Illius. At some point afterward, Cosby called Illius. Johnson listened in on the call, which she said was common practice there so assistants could take notes on what was said. Johnson said she heard Cosby tell Illius to fire her.
“I heard him say, ‘She’s always away from her desk. She’s messing up her work,’” Johnson testified. “‘She’s ungrateful for all the things done for her … She’s a problem. You need to get rid of the problem.’”
Johnson left the office in tears but, on the advice of her mother, reported to William Morris’ HR department what had happened, she said. An investigation was done, including having Johnson give a deposition about what happened with Cosby.
During the first trial, a lawyer hired by William Morris for the Johnson investigation also testified. In that trial, Joseph Miller recalled that Johnson said in that deposition that Cosby drugged and assaulted her. Soon after Johnson spoke in that deposition, William Morris settled with Johnson. Copies of the deposition don’t exist.
“The best thing I can say is due to the sensitive nature of the testimony in the second deposition account, Mr. Rosenstein [Johnson’s lawyer] and I agreed that the deposition transcript would not be prepared,” Miller said. “And it is my belief that, at that point in time, we either settled the case or started to settle the case.”
Miller testified that the then-vice president of human resources at William Morris was aware of the settlement.
It was DiCamillo’s office at William Morris that reached out to Constand after her mother confronted Cosby over the phone, according to testimony in this month’s trial. The goal was to arrange a meeting between Andrea Constand, Gianna Constand, and Cosby in Miami Beach, Florida, where Cosby was performing. When Andrea Constand returned one of the calls from DiCamillo’s office, it was recorded, and that recording was played for jurors.
In the call, she’s talking to someone named Pete.
Pete says the plan is to “fly you to Miami” then have them stay at the Biltmore hotel. When Constand says she needs to check with her mother first, Pete pushes her, “The sooner the better would be great.” He asks for the correct spelling of her name, and tells her, “Call back as much as you need.”
Through the short call, Pete sounds incredibly chipper. He says “great!” a lot.
In his civil suit deposition, Cosby talked about this phone call and why it happened. Cosby said he had it done “to eliminate any more conversations until I see them face-to-face.”
Before they were being named as a part of schemes to protect Trump, the company was part of a plan to protect Cosby when Constand went to the police. That’s why Constand sued American Media as well as Cosby back in 2005. That lawsuit ended in a settlement, and few details about it were known until this year’s trial. As part of her testimony, Constand said she received a settlement from American Media as well for $20,000.
Constand said that American Media settled with her because the National Enquirer ran an article accusing Constand of exploitation and taking advantage of Cosby.
“Was that true?” prosecutor Kristen Feden asked Constand on the stand.
“No,” she replied.
Cosby was the small Pennsylvania university’s most famous booster as well as a longtime trustee. What the university did and did not know about its benefactor remains one of the bigger mysteries of the criminal case—thanks, in part, to Pennsylvania essentially exempting Temple from much of the Commonwealth’s public record laws.
But it’s impossible to ignore how intertwined the man and the educational institution were—and the prominent role Temple board of trustees chairman Patrick O’Connor played in defending Cosby. It was O’Connor who represented Cosby in 2005 and 2006, during the criminal investigation and the civil lawsuit. Until recently, Temple had insisted this was totally OK. In 2016, O’Connor was still being quoted as Cosby’s lawyer.
O’Connor’s name came up in court during cross-examination of the defense’s star witness, Marguerite “Margo” Jackson, a longtime Temple employee, who claimed Constand told her about a scheme to frame a famous person with a fake rape claim for money. Prosecutor M. Stewart Ryan asked her if she knew who O’Connor was and if he had represented Cosby. Jackson said no.
Beyond O’Connor, the university itself came up often. It was Temple where Constand met Cosby (she was director of operations for the women’s basketball team). It was because of Cosby’s power at Temple, especially within the athletic department, Constand said, that she always returned his phone calls, even after the night she believes he drugged and sexually assaulted her. The defense’s star witness was a longtime Temple employee, and Temple expense reports were key to the prosecution calling her credibility into question.
Long after Constand went to law enforcement, more women came forward, and Constand settled her civil suit, Temple showed no remorse about its association with Cosby. They featured him at events, and had him speak to students. They kept him on the board of trustees until December 2014. They did not revoke his honorary degree until the day after he was found guilty.
Castor was the district attorney for Montgomery County when Constand made her police report naming Cosby. Cheltenham township Sgt. Richard Schaffer has testified, now in two trials, that he was lead detective on the case and police were actively investigating it when they suddenly were told that Castor had closed it—with no charges.
In court proceedings before the criminal trial, Castor was active in insisting that the Cosby case could not be reopened because his press release—yes, a press release—from 2005 saying no charges meant there could be no charges, ever. Later, he sued Constand, saying she was running a smear campaign against him. That lawsuit was thrown out.
She owned JF Images, a talent agency that represented models and actors in the Denver area, and her clients included Heidi Thomas, the first witness to testify about what Cosby had done to her.
In Denver, Farrell was known as “the barracuda” because she was tough and, Thomas said, “prided herself on knowing everything that is happening between New York and LA.” If you got with JF Images, Thomas said, “you were something special.” And you did not say no to Farrell. Thomas said she joined JF Images because she wanted to do less modeling and more acting. But she still got modeling headshots because Farrell told her that modeling work could support Thomas between acting gigs.
“She’s supposed to be the one who knows,” Thomas said, “so you do what your agency tells you.”
It was her agency, Thomas said, who told her that Cosby wanted to mentor her and helped her get to Nevada to meet with Cosby. It was at that meeting, Thomas testified, that she had a drink served to her by Cosby, and then her memories turn into “snapshots” that include Cosby forcing himself inside her mouth. During her testimony, Thomas was asked if she ever said anything to Farrell about what happened.
“ ‘This whole thing was set up by the agency, so you don’t call the head of the agency ‘the barracuda’ and say what I thought and what just happened,” Thomas said. “You don’t call her and say, ‘Did you just set me up?’”
Barbara Bowman and Beth Ferrier, who also say Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them, have said they too were sent to Cosby by JF Images.
Maloney was a talent agent at JF Images, and she actually did much of the work of representing Thomas. Thomas described Maloney as like a grandmother; she was older, had back problems, walked with a cane, and came across as “the antithesis of what you expect for a talent agent.”
“We trusted her,” Thomas said, “like a grandmother type too.”
It was Maloney who called Thomas and said that “a prominent icon in the entertainment world” wanted to mentor her. They were to call him “Mr. C” because other talent in the agency would get jealous if they found out Thomas was being mentored by someone so prestigious.
“It was a little surreal, but this was my agent telling me,” Thomas said. “I had no reason to disbelieve this would happen.”
Mr C., Thomas found out, was Cosby. When Thomas’ travel was booked for her to meet with Cosby in Nevada, the travel itinerary had her maiden name on it and Maloney’s name.
Afterward, like with Farrell, Thomas said she didn’t even consider saying anything to Maloney. Instead, she blamed herself.
“Annie? Come on, she’s my grandmotherly figure,” Thomas said. “I figure this is something horrible, I must have said something that made him think this was acceptable. I must have given some signal, you know, the classic she’s gonna sleep her way to the top.”
It wasn’t just JF Images. Of the six women who testified, four were connected with Cosby through agents or other people working in the entertainment industry. Lise-Lotte Lublin said she was connected through her representation, the Lens Agency. Janice Dickinson said she flew to meet with Cosby after getting a call about it from her agent at the time, Monique Pillard. Chelan Lasha said her father’s ex-wife had a connection at Carsey-Werner, which led to her hearing from Cosby.
Two locations came up over and over again during the testimony of the five “prior bad act” witnesses. One was a large, ranch-style house outside of Reno, Nevada, which was mentioned by Janice Dickinson, Heidi Thomas, and Janice Baker-Kinney. Baker-Kinney seemed to have the most understanding of it because, at the time, she worked at Harrah’s. During her testimony, Baker-Kinney said the house was owned by “Mr. Harrah” and lent out to entertainers when they were performing at the resort but “didn’t want to stay at the hotel in the penthouse suite.”
Both Lasha and Lublin said they were told by Cosby to meet with him at the Elvis Suite inside the then-Las Vegas Hilton (it’s now the Westgate). They described it has having a massive floor plan, reportedly 5,000 square feet. A private elevator leads to the suite.
In another portion of the deposition read aloud in court, Cosby talked about the doctor who gave him prescriptions for quaaludes. He said Dr. Leroy Amar gave him prescriptions for quaaludes “for my back” because “it was sore.” He gave Cosby seven prescriptions. But Cosby said he never took them himself.
Cosby: “The same as a person would say have a drink.”
Lawyer: “You gave them to other people?”
Lawyer: “Did he know when he gave you those prescriptions that you had no intention of taking them?”
No other doctor gave him a prescription for them, Cosby said.
“Quaaludes happen to be the drug that kids, young people were using to party with,” Cosby said, “and there were times when I wanted to have them just in case.”