“hey, this was fun, thanks for the questions. I’ve got to run now.”

My name is Nicole Weisensee Egan, and for the past 13 years I have covered the many sexual-assault allegations against Bill Cosby, most recently for The Daily Beast. Not only was I in the courtroom when Cosby was sentenced, I recently spoke to Heidi Thomas—one of the five women who testified alongside Andrea Constand—about her reaction to the verdict. You can read more about my experience at The Philadelphia Inquirer, or at my website, https://www.nicoleweisenseeegan.com/.

Also, be sure to follow me on Twitter,, and The Daily Beast here on Reddit!

I'll be online starting at 5:15.

Proof: https://twitter.com/thedailybeast/status/989975120709128192

EDIT: Mistake in the title. It should read "when the verdict was handed down," not "when Cosby was sentenced." Apologies! — The Daily Beast social team

Comments: 122 • Responses: 23  • Date: 

Beckels8486 karma

What was Cosby like during the verdict? Shocked? Stoic?

thedailybeast256 karma

His mask slipped. For the first time. The DA was trying to get his bail revoked, arguing Cosby could flee because he has a private plane (he actually sold it, which came out in testimony). Suddenly Cosby yelled "He doesn't have a plane, you asshole!" then muttered, "I'm sick of him." Weird that he refers to himself in the third person

Duke_Paul71 karma

Hi Nicole,

What was the most shocking thing about this case, for you? You've got 13 years to draw on, so there must be something that really struck you.


thedailybeast152 karma

Honestly the most shocking thing to me was when the story first broke in January 2005. I was a huge Cosby fan. I loved The Cosby Show. I thought he WAS Dr. Huxtable. But the more I started digging into this, the more substance I saw there was to the allegations. Then a second accuser - Tamara Green, a California attorney - came to me and told me the same thing had happened to her 30 years ago. We put her story on the Philly DN"s front page. Then 12 more women came forward. All in 2005.

political-wonk45 karma

What do you think about the defense’s use of attacks and smears during the trial?

thedailybeast121 karma

It was awful. And unnecessary. Their behavior was over the top inside the courtroom and his spokespeople were equally outrageous outside the courtroom at their daily, sometimes twice-daily press conference. They called the DA an extortionist. They gave nicknames out-gloria Awfulred and Lisa "Blasphemous" Bloom. When publisher Judith Regan did an interview with me about how disgusted she was with the she was treated on the stand by defense attorney Tom Mesereau, this was his spokesman's reply to me: Saint Peter has been given direct orders from JESUS and HIS Father, not to let Judith Regan near the pearly gates, however, they have informed Satan that he will have a guest by the name of Judith Regan coming in on a rocket and she’s wearing gasoline stilettos.

political-wonk22 karma

Thanks. I was shocked that Tom Mesereu would do such a thing. Well, maybe not. But I believe that may have helped the guilty verdict.

thedailybeast67 karma

It could have. those tactics work well when you're up against the LAPD, which gives you plenty of ammo! But this is Montgomery County, PA, a wealthy suburb just outside Philly. plus the testimony of these women was gutwrenching. one woman sobbed the entire time she was on the stand and at the end yelled out to Cosby, You remember, don't you Mr. Cosby?'

OmarGuard42 karma

Thanks for taking the time to do an AMA!

Do you credit Hannibal Burress for drawing the public's attention to the Bill Cosby situation?

Do you think the story would've broken the way it has without his input?

thedailybeast107 karma

I don't think Hannibal Burress wants to be credited with that! As he said at the time, this was a routine he'd been doing for months. It just so happened that he performed it in Philly in October 2014 and a Philly mag reporter, Dan McQuade, was in the audience. he shot a video of it and put it online the next day and it went viral. All of these women started coming forward-and they were all women I'd interviewed in 2005 when no one cared. But now there was social media and Cosby couldn't control it like he could the regular media. His people tried to do a funny meme contest on Twitter in response and it backfired. And it just kept growing.

johnnyredleg39 karma

Was Cosby's criminal activity going on during the taping of "The Cosby Show"?

thedailybeast67 karma

You mean during the time period it aired? If so, yes, though not with any of his co-stars as far as we know. One woman who had a small role in a couple of his shows says she was a victim-Lili Bernard.

flotador732 karma

13 years is a long time.

How did you become involved in the case in the first place?

When was the first time that you realized there was really something going on?

Was there a point when you tried to give up working in this case?

Now that Cosby was finally convicted, is there more to be done?

thedailybeast52 karma

I actually just wrote a first-person account about my 13 years covering this that is now on Philly.com. It's here if you want to read it: http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/commentary/bill-cosby-guilty-andrea-constand-nicole-weisensee-egan-20180427.html

I think I first realized the allegations could be true when I started researching who Andrea was and found out how well regarded she was and how pristine her reputation was. There were many, many times I got frustrated but I never wanted to stop reporting on it. I think there is a lot more to be done. Sexual assault victims need to be encouraged to go to the police as soon after the assault as they can so they can collect evidence. It's a tough thing to ask given the way victims are treated-wait until you read how the DA treated Andrea in 2005-but it is important to do that.

kcg527 karma

Hell, did you see the lawyer fall asleep? Was there a reaction in the court?

thedailybeast60 karma

Yes I did. not really. Cosby nodded off too. It was yet another long day. We were in court at 7:40 pm to rehear Cosby's deposition testimony and were there until after 9 pm. We were all tired! The judge kept testimony going until 6 pm each day because we started out behind because of Cosby's endless motions. I think he filed 150 during the course of the trial. This jury was sequestered and the judge didn't want to keep them longer than the month he told them it would be

political-wonk-19 karma

Because he lawyer fell asleep that can be used as a reason to appeal.

Edit: that’s not my idea. That’s what I read can be used as a reason for an appeal. His legal team is already planning an appeal.

thedailybeast49 karma

these lawyers filed 150 motions during this two week trial. they weren't sleeping much. period.

BarrettMercer23 karma

If you had to describe your emotions when the decision came down, how would you?

thedailybeast70 karma

I was completely shocked. I kept shaking my head back and forth in disbelief. And I was happy for Andrea. She was smeared so viciously during the past 13 years but she refused to back down.

BarrettMercer17 karma

Thanks for the response! I could only imagine the emotion! How would you say the case helped you grow as a journalist?

thedailybeast50 karma

It taught me that my gut instincts were right and so was my reporting. Many, many people in 2005 refused to believe these stories were true, including many of my colleagues in the media. But my reporting showed otherwise. Here's a piece I just wrote about it: http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/commentary/bill-cosby-guilty-andrea-constand-nicole-weisensee-egan-20180427.html

Miapop200020 karma

Wait Cosby was sentenced to prison? For how long? I thought it was just a guilty verdict, and sentencing was going to happen sooner or later...

thedailybeast58 karma

His sentencing will be in 60 to 90 days. In Pa, you have to go through a pre-sentence investigation; he'll have to do a sexually violent predator assessment and, I believe, a psychological assessment. this helps the judge determine the length of the sentence. he faces up to 30 years in prison

Miapop200028 karma

Oh okay! Good to know. He will also have to register as a sex offender also I’m guessing, and wow 30 years for him would be life in prison.

thedailybeast36 karma

unbelievable right? He's going to appeal everything but everyone says there's no avoiding jail time with these crimes

BarnabyWoods-22 karma

You said you were in the courtroom when he was sentenced, which was wrong. Maybe you should just start this AMA over.

thedailybeast41 karma

omg. you are so correct. I didn't write that. I will have them correct it. Nice catch!

political-wonk20 karma

Did you see a difference in the way Cosby walked leaving the courtroom after the guilty verdict vs the other days? It seemed like he was walking faster, steadier. A lot of people have said he acts like he’s worse off physically than he is.

thedailybeast63 karma

he wasn't as cocky. I'm one of the ones who believe he exaggerated how frail he is. After he was arrested in December 2015 he suddenly started using a cane (which never touches the ground). He has some kind of visual impairment in one eye but can see out of the other (I've seen him reading documents in court many times). He actually did a fake little jive shuffle walking out of the courtroom one day during this trial. During the first trial he did the 'hey hey hey' Fat Albert thing outside the courtroom. honestly the whole thing is so sad. I watched that cartoon as a kid and loved it. I loved The Cosby Show.

political-wonk8 karma

I like your description much better, “he wasn’t as cocky”. I guess that’s why you’re the writer! I was disgusted when he held up his arm as in a victory stance when he was outside. And, yes to see his characters’ downfall is sad. But I can easily separate him from his facade.

thedailybeast23 karma

exactly. It's something we should all remember. They are actors, not real people. Just because he played a doctor on TV doesn't mean he is one.

thedailybeast16 karma

and, as I wrote above in response to another question, here's how he was in court:His mask slipped. For the first time. The DA was trying to get his bail revoked, arguing Cosby could flee because he has a private plane (he actually sold it, which came out in testimony). Suddenly Cosby yelled "He doesn't have a plane, you asshole!" then muttered, "I'm sick of him." Weird that he refers to himself in the third person

Wholly_Crap20 karma

Hi Nicole,

Can you talk about whether the emergence of the #MeToo movement in the last year or so has changed the dynamic around the Cosby case in any way?

thedailybeast72 karma

It's hard to quantify. At the first trial, the judge only let one other accuser testify. For this trial, he let five other accusers testify. He never gave his legal rationale either way. They screened for #metoo bias in the jury pool. Out of 359 potential jurors, all but 5 had heard of the movement. But the ones who were chosen said they could put their personal opinions aside and make a decision based solely on what they heard in court. I think overall it's raised awareness that serial sexual predators aren't monsters we can identify just by looking at them. As we've seen before, often they're the most trusted people in our communities - priests, coaches..America's Dad.

Wholly_Crap18 karma

Excellent answer. Thanks for doing this AMA.

thedailybeast12 karma

you're welcome. thanks for signing on

defjamblaster15 karma

Do you think the comments from Hannibal Burress gave the allegations the new life to finally see Cosby charged, or was it just going to be a matter of time even without him reminding everyone?

thedailybeast35 karma

I do believe his comments made the difference but only because they went wild on social media once the Philly mag reporter posted a video of his routine. In 2005 when I was covering this story and reporting about all of these allegations there was no social media-facebook was still just for college students; twitter, snapchat, etc didn't exist. Newspaper websites are in their infancy (and, some might argue, many still are). In 2005 Cosby was able to control the media (well everyone except me) and get them to back off the story. Once this exploded on social media and went straight to the public, he couldn't control it anymore.

alexn1414 karma

Hi Nicole, I briefly ready the post from CNN by Eric Levinson and was curious what proof or factual evidence was used in the defenses argument against Cosby’s actions.

thedailybeast53 karma

That was the problem. They didn't really have any facts. Their star witness was a woman named Marguerite Jackson. She claimed Andrea told her in 2004 – while they were sharing a room while traveling with the Temple women's basketball team – that she intended to set up a high profile person and falsely accuse them of sexually assaulting her to get money. The problem is the defense had no proof they ever shared a room! Andrea said she always had her own room while traveling and the only expense reports Marguerite ever submitted for traveling with the team were in Feb 2003. There was nothing in 2004

alexn1412 karma

Wow thank you for the insight. I can’t believe with no physical evidence of the two women sharing a room, in turn no collaboration of blackmail, Cosby was given a sentence. Do you know of any other contributing factors that led to the decision to find Cosby guilty?

thedailybeast51 karma

Yes. The first thing the prosecution did for this trial was present testimony from a sexual assault expert to dispel certain "rape myths" that are out there for how women behave, esp when the rapist is someone they know. Delayed reporting is the norm, not the exception. Rape is the most underreported violent crime and one with the lowest conviction rate. Some of the behavior - like not going to police - is not easy for outsiders to understand. Right after her, five other women who said Cosby had drugged and sexually assaulted them testified, then Andrea herself. It was incredibly compelling. These women did not know each other when it happened to them but the similarities were chilling. He reached out to them to mentor them; gained their trust; gained their family's trust then invited them into an environment (a house, a hotel room) he controlled then drugged and sexually assaulted them.

BarnabyWoods-34 karma

Why did you claim you were in the courtroom when he was sentenced, given that he hasn't been sentenced yet?

thedailybeast35 karma

mistake by the reddit/DB people. I asked them to correct it. I didn't write it.