Posted in Behind the News

AP’s decade-long push for court transparency key to current Cosby trial

, by Bryan Baldwin

On Sept. 25, 2018, Bill Cosby was led away from a Pennsylvania courthouse in handcuffs, sentenced to three to 10 years behind bars for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his gated estate. 

If it wasn’t for AP Legal Affairs Reporter Maryclaire Dale’s years of persistent coverage and AP’s legal efforts to unseal court documents from a 2005 civil lawsuit against Cosby, the current trial might never have happened.

National Religion Reporter Maryclaire Dale walks out of the Montgomery County Courthouse during a a recess in in Bill Cosby's sentencing hearing, Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, in Norristown Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

In pursuit of transparency on behalf of the public, AP pressed for a decade to unseal a 2005 deposition of Cosby answering investigator’s questions during a civil lawsuit against him that was settled and never went to trial.

In 2015, the courts agreed with AP’s position and ordered the deposition unsealed. In the filings, Cosby admitted he acquired drugs to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex.

That information led to his current trial.

Bill Cosby arrives for his sentencing hearing at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Within days of the unsealing order from the court, the criminal investigation against Cosby was reopened. His 2005 deposition was used as evidence in the criminal case and, now, the first major sentence of the #MeToo era.

Without AP’s reporting, the allegations may never have resulted in a trial.

Follow AP’s complete coverage of Cosby’s sentencing at